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Chapter 7 - The Sociology of Sustainable Development

254 chapter seven brown argues as the transition to a

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Unformatted text preview: values.132 Biodiversity conservation highlights the tensions between ecological, economic, and social systems and the trade-offs that need to be addressed for sustainable development. Despite hopeful efforts to simultaneously alleviate problems of poverty and biodiversity loss through land conservation, conflicts arise. For sustainable development to work, tough value decisions need to be made. Measuring Sustainable Development: New Social Indicators Finally, we examine a managerial strategy that verges on conservative and radical approaches to social change that is less controversial than those just examined. The managerial approach takes a step toward examining the value structure that we have built our ideas of “success” upon and seeks to redefine our measures of success. Arguments of this type suggest that we need to change our system of accounting for such things as “sustainability” and “development.” Finding indicators for SD is part of this project. At the time of the Earth Summit, national reports made to the International Commission on Sustainable Development were poor. The New Economics Foundation is working to refine national sustainability indicators, especially as they relate to UNCED’s Agenda 21.133 This strategy has the potential to move beyond simply supporting the status quo since to some degree it forces a reexamination of the meaning of “development” and the value of measuring it in terms of economic growth by critically examining the drawbacks of using indicators of development that focus on gross national product or gross domestic product. 254 CHAPTER SEVEN Brown argues, “as the transition to a more environmentally benign economy progresses, sustainability will gradually eclipse growth as the focus of economic policy making.”134 A number of measures that can be used to compare nations have been proposed. These include measures like the Physical Quality of Life Index, the Human Development Index, the International Indicator of Social Progress, the Sustainable National Income, and the Genuine Progress Indicator. The Human Development I...
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