Thursday, December 27, 2012

Our Common Future

photo of built and natural environment
© harrington
I've recently downloaded and started to read the Brundtland report "Our Common Future." It is well known for its definition of sustainable development, development that "meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." One of the criticisms of that report, and the definition, is that it speaks only to needs. It says nothing about human desires or rights. The report actually has a statement that I found much less misdirected and more useful. In talking about the split between those who would preserve the environment and those who see the environment only as an opportunity for private development, the report points out in the Chairman's Foreword: But the "environment" is where we all live; and "development" is what we all do in attempting to improve our lot within that abode. The two are inseparable. We are part of the environment. The environment is part of us. It's like nature and nurture, we humans can't make do with only one. If the media and the commission had done more to emphasize the environment is where we all live, perhaps we would have more humans with more interest these days in not burning down the house to try to keep warm.