After development? In defence of sustainability

Hannis, M (2017) 'After development? In defence of sustainability.' Global Discourse, 7 (1). pp. 28-38. ISSN 2326-9995

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The Paris Agreement was a success only for the carbon traders, sequestrators and geoengineers who are now expected to ‘balance emissions with removals’ by 2050, against a background of continued economic growth. If this is sustainable development, it is indeed discredited. But the problem is with the ‘sustainable development’ paradigm, not with the idea of sustainability. The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals explicitly call for intensified economic growth and are clearly incompatible with the allegedly overarching goal of ecological sustainability. To aim at this very different goal is simply to aim at living in a way that does not contain the seeds of its own destruction. Far from invalidating this objective, diagnoses of crisis make its pursuit more urgent than ever. ‘Why aim at sustainability?’ is an odd question to pose, but one that may nonetheless produce illuminating answers. One answer derives from intergenerational obligations, but this may not even be the most important. An orientation towards sustainability is also beneficial in its own right, since it is a key part of aiming at the good life.

Item Type: Article

sustainability, development, sustainable development, climate change, Anthropocene, ecomodernism

Divisions: School of Writing, Publishing and the Humanities
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Date Deposited: 15 Jun 2017 10:50
Last Modified: 15 Aug 2021 09:46
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