Chapter 7 - The Sociology of Sustainable Development

The rational mechanism to control cfc production and

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Unformatted text preview: while the LDC’s understanding emphasizes current intragenerational equity (between countries). A disagreement occurring during preparations for the Earth Summit illustrates these tensions. During negotiations over how to address the problem of greenhouse gases, the MDCs stressed the environmental side of sustainable development. They focused on the importance of slowing the clearing of tropical forests (most of which are in the South), since rain forests are important “sinks” that absorb greenhouse gases. The LDCs, stressing the development side of sustainable development, responded by pointing out that the greenhouse gas problem arose largely from the fossil fuel habits of the MDCs. Other effective sinks, such as nontropical forests found in the North, have already been deforested. The LDCs resisted writing legislation that would limit their ability to use their resources for economic development. Shiva, a scientist and activist from India, points to how the MDCs shift attention away from their own harmful activities to the degrading activities of the LDCs through the example of the globalization of the problem of ozone depletion.105 CFCs, which are a primary cause of ozone depletion, are manufactured by a handful of transnationals, such as Dupont, with specific locally iden- THE SOCIOLOGY OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT 249 tifiable manufacturing plants. The rational mechanism to control CFC production and use was to control these plants. That such substances as CFCs are produced by particular companies in particular plants is totally ignored when ozone depletion becomes transformed into a “global” environmental problem. The producers of CFCs are apparently blameless and the blame laid instead on the potential use of refrigerators and airconditioners by millions of people in India and China. Through a shift from present to future, the North gains a new political space in which to control the South. “Global” concerns thus create the moral base for green imperialism.106 Blaming the LDCs for global o...
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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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