1st Edition

Counting the costs of global consumption

ISBN 9781853833557
Published November 1, 1996 by Routledge
196 Pages

USD $52.95

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Book Description

Sustainable development cannot be achieved solely at the international level. Without the creation of more sustainable livelihoods, it will remain a utopian and elusive goal. Yet given the huge differences in economic development and levels of consumption between North and South, how might this be

brought about?

Taking the 1992 Rio Summit as its point of departure, Wasted examines what we now need to know, and what we need to do, to live within sustainable limits. One of the key issues is how we use the environment: converting natural resources into human artifices, commodities and services. In the process of consuming,

we also create sinks. Today, these sinks - the empty back pocket in the global biogeographical system - are no longer empty. The fate of the global environment is indissolubly linked to our consumption: particularly in the energy-profligate North.

To understand and overcome environmental challenges, we need to build the outcomes of our present consumption rates into our future behaviour: to accept sustainable development as a normative goal for societies; one that is bound up with our everyday social practices and actions. In this absorbing book, Michael Redclift argues that the way we understand and think about the environn1ent conditions our responses, and our ability to meet the challenge, and discusses tangible policies for increased sustainability that are grounded in recent research and practice.

MICHAEL Redclift

Is Professor of International Environmental Policy at the Department of Geography, King's College London. He was previously Professor of International Environmental Policy at the University of Keele and before that Professor of Environmental Sociology at Wye College, University of London, and Director of the ESRC Global Environmental Change Programme. He is author and editor of numerous books, including Sustainable Development: Exploring the Contradictions (1987), Social Theory and the Global Environment (1994) and Sustainability: Life Chances and Lifestyles (1999).

Originally published in 1996

Table of Contents


List ofFigures

List of Tables

Chapter One: Introduction

Consumption and the Environment

How can we 'Recover Consumption'?

Chapter Two: The Earth Summit

International Environmental Policy: the Road From Stockholm

Counsel of Despair: International Environmental Problems in the 1980s

UNCED: the Road to Rio

The UNCED Deliberations: Conventions and a New Agenda

In the Wake of Rio: International Finance and Political Devolution

Global Environmental Management: a Realist Perspective

From Science to Policy: Environmental Management and the UNCED Process

Making sense of the Environment/Development Debate

Chapter Three: Meeting Environmental Targets

Global Environmental Change

The Laws of Thermodynamics

The Effect of Human Evolution on Natural Systems

Sustainable Development

Sustainability Indicators

Chapter Four: The Global Economy and Consumption

The Hydrocarbon Society and Energy Consumption

The New International Economic Order

Energy Consumption and the Generation of Waste

Recovering Consumption: the Political Economy of Wastes

Chapter Five: Managing Global Resources

European Energy Policy and Global Change

Sustainable Energy Policies for the Brazilian Amazon

Chapter Six: Metabolising Nature

Global Environmental Management

The 'Empty' and 'Full' World System: a Point of Departure

How we Measure Environmental Quality: the Costs of Consumption

Democratic Control of the Environment

The Standard of Living or the Quality of Life?

Global Carbon Budgets

The Social Functions of Sinks

Chapter Seven: Sustainability and Social Commitments

Environmental Discourse and Environmental Management

How we Metabolise Nature

Embodiment and Distanciation

Chapter Eight: Local Environmental Action

Creating Sustainable Employment: LETS Schemes

Beyond Recycling: Recovering our Control over Waste

Farmers' Networks



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Michael Redclift