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An Introduction to Sustainable Development

ISBN: 9780415590730 | 0415590736
Edition: 4th
Format: Nonspecific Binding
Publisher: Routledge
Pub. Date: 10/1/2012

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This substantially revised fourth edition continues to provide an introduction to sustainable development with particular reference to what it means for and within countries of the developing world. The book focuses on highlighting the inter-dependent environment and development challenges faced by these countries and how these are shaped by policies and measures associated with an evolving global sustainable development agenda. Early sections of the book examine the origins of the term and how issues of environmental management, economic development and social justice are now understood as the interlinked, global challenges of sustainable development. Subsequent sections explore recent changes in the policies and mechanisms of organizations at various scales across the arenas of trade, aid, debt, environmental agreements and foreign investment for example, illustrating the complex and contested challenges of sustainable development in practice. Further chapters focus on insights to sustainable development that emerge from within rural and urban contexts of the Global South. A final chapter considers how these changes can be understood and assessed. The text explores in some detail the notion of sustainable development, its varied disciplinary and philosophical underpinnings and some of the sources of its complexity in practice and political contestation. In particular, the book traces key shifts in thinking within the literatures of development and environmentalism over the last fifty years to highlight how issues of environmental quality, economic development and social justice intersect within the global agenda of sustainable development. Particular emphasis is given to how more currently, the rapid economic growth in China and India and the recent financial crises challenge the thinking and practice of sustainable development and to the contribution of ideas from ecological modernisation. Through the text, many of the core processes linking different parts of the world and the key actors operating to shape the prospects of more sustainable development are examined. These include processes of climate change, international trade and finance, resource security and the challenges of global poverty and of achieving the Millennium Development Goals. The emphasis is on a critical consideration of the global inequalities encompassed within policies and practices undertaken by organisations including the International Financial Institutions, the World Trade Organisation, business and civil society. The book provides substantial examples of policies, projects and actions in practice drawn widely from across the regions and in both rural and urban contexts. Emphasis is on insights to more sustainable development coming from within countries of the developing world. This text aims to provide an accessible, readable and up-to-date introduction to what sustainable development encompasses as an idea and in practice for environments and people of the developing world. The intended audience is undergraduate students, particularly of geography, development and environment-related courses. The text is well supported by pedagogic features including boxed case studies, summaries, directions to further reading and relevant web-based resources. Principal changes from the Third Edition include new content incorporating in particular; the rapid economic growth in China and India and the implications in terms of raw materials and new markets, the prospective impacts of global recession for rethinking development strategies and for lower carbon futures (to include the contribution of ecological economics to the SD debates), and greater insights of evidence for sustainable developments based on practice and cases from within the developing world.


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