Chapter 7 - The Sociology of Sustainable Development

In the uk food scares concerning bse mad cow disease e

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Unformatted text preview: d by permission of CERES. There are a number of such groups in Europe, as well. For example, the Northern Alliance for Sustainability consists of organizations in six European nations. Their goal is “to make consumption and production . . . patterns in the North more sustainable.”65 They provide information to consumers so that through consumer pressure, producers will change environmentally unsound products. Their main “sustainable product campaign” focuses on food. They argue that they cannot rely on government to assist with organic agriculture, for example, because of the close connection between government and the agriculture industry. The Alliance argues that consumer awareness and pressure works. The appearance of more and more organic food in Western European supermarkets is a direct result of increased consumer awareness of health hazards of eating industrially produced food. In the UK, food scares concerning BSE (Mad Cow Disease), E. coli and salmonella in eggs have increased consumer pressure on retailers to stock organic produce. This has forced retailers to respond by demanding that their suppliers switch to organic agriculture or by importing organic produce from abroad.66 Voluntary simplicity groups and safe food groups in the United States, such as the Organic Consumers Association, also believe that consumer and pluralist democratic actions work to change corporations and government standards. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, for example, has currently revised its national organic food standards, making them more stringent, after receiving an unprecedented number of comments from consumers on what were considered to be lax standards. USDA’s revised guidelines (that are not yet final regulations) take into account the leading concerns of consumers. Radical critiques of the conservative position focus on the assumptions of conservatives’ version of SD. Radicals would argue that while one may be attracted to sustainable development for its vision of compromise, SD m...
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This note was uploaded on 10/25/2010 for the course SOSCI INBA6610 taught by Professor Prescott during the Fall '08 term at University of the West Indies at St. Augustine.

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