Presentation on theme: "Brundtland Commission: Our Common Future Professor Wayne Hayes V. 0.5, Build #6 | 2/10/2013."— Presentation transcript:
Brundtland Commission: Our Common Future Professor Wayne Hayes V. 0.5, Build #6 | 2/10/2013
The goal of this presentation is... to understand the origins of sustainability.
Our context here is We are living in the Anthropocene. Our Home is astonishing, but also in danger. Forests are burning and native people and others are unsettled. Growth destroys limited resources and cannot be the answer to the challenges of the Anthropocene. The dominant paradigm is riddled with anomalies.
We need a pathway toward an answer. So before proceeding to the global crisis and its remedies, we must introduce our core concept, upon which our course focuses: sustainability.
Note the book cover.
Note the title of this classic book: Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development: Our Common Future: From One Earth to One World. Or, simply: The Brundtland Commission Report.
Who was Gro Harlem Brundtland and what was her background?
Brundtland has a resume! She was born 20 April 1939. She is a medical doctor with a public health degree. She is former director of the World Health Organization. A feminist, she was Prime Minister of Norway (1981, 1986– 89, 1990–96), the first woman and youngest ever. She was chosen to direct the U.N. World Commission on Environment and Development. Since 2007, she is a special U.N. envoy on climate change. She is among the Elders --- view the web site.view the web site
Brundtland’s classic definition of sustainable development: "Humanity has the ability to make development sustainable to ensure that it meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.“ (Cited from original report. This is an important but brief section.)original report
View the table of contents of The Brundtland Commission Report Click on the web site of the Report.web site of the Report Study the organization of the report. Professor Hayes will provide background.
Note the Overview of the report. Please scan the Overview but focus on the Global Challenge and the Call for Action.Overview Global ChallengeCall for Action
Note the title of the Overview: “Our Common Future, From One Earth to One World” Which rises to the challenge of the Anthropocene:
The challenge is to reconcile this
Sounds familiar? The Brundtland Commission attempted to define in 1987 a reconciliation of the occupation of the Earth by the human species.
The scope of the report is daunting. The time perspective is generational. The geographical scope is global, but attempts to harmonize the interest of poor nations and rich. The report calls for a synthesis of broad themes: nature, society, and the economy. The report stands outside the dominant social paradigm of growth.
Thus, sustainability is presented as... a serious response to the challenges posed to World Sustainability, such as: 1.The Anthropocene 2.The limits to growth 3.The global crisis as interlocking natural, social, and economic challenges. The report was mindful of burning forests and of climate change. The report does not simplify these concerns.
Which puts Brundtland’s classic definition of sustainability in context. "Humanity has the ability to make development sustainable to ensure that it meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.“ (Cited from original report. This is an important but brief section.)original report
The report is a good starting point from which to understand sustainability. Browse the original report to get a sense of the historical mission of sustainability, why it is important, and how the concern represented by sustainability is framed.original report
What’s hiding in the Brundtland Report? The Brundtland Report was a paradigm shift that altered the assumptions that dominated the existing approach to economic development.
How does the Brundtland report change the paradigm? Ecology and economy are interlocked and embedded in society and must be thought of together. The report states (p. 5): “Ecology and economy are becoming even more interwoven --- locally, regionally, nationally and globally --- into a seamless web of causes and effects.”
Population is still important but... population is linked to other issues such as 1.The empowerment of women (after all, Brundtland is a feminist) (p. 11) 2.The right of tribal and indigenous people to livelihood, an alternative term for economics.
Right after population comes the discussion of food and agriculture: The issue is now food security to include: 1.Agricultural subsidies by the rich countries that hurt farmers in other countries 2.Lack of purchasing power among poor nations as income distribution 3.The need for rural development (pp. 12-13 and later chapters).
The agents of sustainability were enlarged and made inclusive. As an arm of the U.N., such commissions are generally limited to nation-states. Not so here: Civil society organizations were central players in the solutions Poor nations were to be active and not simply a recipient of aid from rich and powerful nations. The role and status of women was central All stakeholders were to be empowered and mobilized as agents of sustainability.
The report questioned the role of the international economy. 1.The destruction of the environment that was so obvious in the 1980s 2.The growing inequality produced by the global economy 3.The growing debt burden of the poor nations 4.The lack of attention to the shared Commons 5.The lack of economic diversification at the local and regional levels. See specifically the Role of the International Economy.Role of the International Economy
Brundtland Report re-defined the core concept: development. The prior definition might be called the Truman Doctrine (1949 Inauguration Speech): Inauguration Speech "All countries, including our own, will greatly benefit from a constructive program for the better use of the world's human and natural resources. Experience shows that our commerce with other countries expands as they progress industrially and economically.“ Truman articulated a doctrine that implied that progress for the multitude of the world's peoples and cultures was to be found through emulating the material progress of the USA and its partners in what was then called the Free World (WSY Wiki).WSY Wiki
Wolfgang Sachs explains the assumptions of the Truman doctrine. "Truman's imperative to develop meant that societies of the Third World were no longer seen as diverse and incomparable possibilities of human living arrangements but were rather placed on a single 'progressive track,' judged more or less advanced according to the criteria of the Western industrial nations. Greater production is the key to prosperity and peace. And the key to greater production is a wider and more vigorous application of modern scientific and technical knowledge" (Sachs, 4).Sachs
The challenge posed to you: Use the assignment, the sustainability graphic organizer, to think through for yourself the challenge, scope, and meaning of sustainability. Convey your thinking at as high a level as possible to your professors. You will get feedback.