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Environmental risks and sustainable development

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  1. Introduction
  2. The environment is seriously threatened
    1. The proliferation of environmental risks
    2. New Environmental Global Risks
    3. Worrying prospects
  3. The redesigned environment
    1. The ecological awareness (1960-70)
    2. The emergence and spread of the concept of sustainable development (1980-2000)
    3. A concept that raises questions and debates
  4. The saved environment?
    1. The decisive action of States and Governments
    2. Business and the Environment: New governance, new markets
    3. Towards an eco-citizenship?
  5. Conclusion

In 2006, Davis Guggenheim and Al Gore released a movie called ?An inconventient Truth: Global Warming?, and this movie basically talks about the risks associated with development. In 2007, they were honored with the Noble Peace award by the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on anti-government climate change).

A new approach to development under the name Sustainable Development emerged in the 1980s seeking to strike a balance between economic growth, social justice and environmental protection. The Brundtland Report brought out in1987 puts across the principle of intergenerational solidarity. The report deals with sustainable development and the change of politics needed to achieve that.

The notion or the idea of risks or hazards is not new to our society (Black Death was one of the most devastating pandemics in human history which killed about one third of Europe's population between 1348 and 1350). But these environmental hazards are still perceived as a divine punishment in many parts of the world (for e.g., Bali).

But in an industrializing society, the risks are redefined and they become more endogenous (For e.g.: gas explosions like Courriere in 1906).

It was only after being victims of such cruel accidents, that the concept of security was born. This principle of security was applied both in private sectors (insurance, risk pooling) and public systems (Bismarck, Beveridge system).

During the 70s and the 80s, the idea that technological development could help in overcoming the natural risks and hazards was considered wrong, but industrial accidents started increasing.

[...] Some countries have not signed: the US (Clinton had signed, but the change of presidency and the rejection by the Congress blocked the process), and later when Bush became the President, he said that American lifestyle is not negotiable, same goes with Australia. As for Japan, though it has signed the Kyoto Protocol, it has not signed the moratorium to restrict fishing of bluefin tunas and whales). In any event, the summit gives rise to the notion of geopolitical environment. [...]

[...] This book has widely helped in launching the environmental movement and this book has inspired widespread public concerns about pesticides and pollution of the environment Rene Dumont was an environmental politician who stood for the Presidential elections in 1974. He was an ecologist and he wrote Utopia or Death which mainly speaks about how climate change is irrversible. Around the same time many associations like Greenpeace were established. Their goal is to ?ensure the ability of the earth to nurture life in all its diversity" and focus their work on world wide issues such as global warming, deforestation, overfishing, commercial whaling and anti- nuclear issues. [...]

[...] B.The emergence and spread of the concept of sustainable development (1980-2000) The 1980s was a continuation of the 1960s with multiple disasters and injuries. The disaster at Three Mile Island in 1979, Chernobyl (1986), Bhopal (1984), deforestation of the Amazon and Landes forest eventually lead to ozone depletion. During this period, the United Nations called for the establishment of a new report written by the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED). The idea was not to create new projects, but to interview scientists, and implement policies that would actually improve the living conditions of people in a safer environment. [...]

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