visser_logo_small.gif (1783 bytes)I. The Response of the South to The Justice and Ecology Debate
Kalaw page 1 - Section headings:

dot.gif (101 bytes) Dichotomies in Rio dot.gif (101 bytes) Areas of response - Aid, trade and ecological debt
dot.gif (101 bytes) Areas of response - Economics of sustainability dot.gif (101 bytes) Areas of response - Local and global citizenship
dot.gif (101 bytes) Areas of response - Poverty, population and consumption dot.gif (101 bytes) Emerging paradigms
dot.gif (101 bytes) Areas of response - Financial mechanisms


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The various responses of the South to the Justice-Ecology debate are defining a concept of sustainable development. Among the principles in this definition are:

1. the difference between growth and development;
2. the concept of limits articulated in the works of Herman Daly, Dennis and Donella Meadows;
3. the prioritization of the needs of the poor;
4. the elimination of consumerism;
5. the necessity of diversity and pluralism for systems stability; and
6. a gender-balanced perspective.

The need for a different perspective on the process of development or how development happens, is especially evident among NGOs doing community work. They know that neither they nor the State nor the Church can give development to people, for development is something that only the people can do for themselves. Such a perspective highlights the primacy of people's participation, self-determination and self-reliance, and carries with it a corollary need to shift the beneficiary of development to the ecological, cultural and spiritual life-support systems, while viewing the people as the main agents of their own development.

This clarifies the critical function of social equity in the elimination of poverty and the conservation of natural resources, because it answers the question: "for whom is development?"

In this emerging paradigm of development, an affirmation of one's cultural and spiritual identity functions as an axis for conferring and making meaning, and therefore as a source for the creative energy necessary for the development process.

It sees a fundamental need to harmonize economic and ecological processes, beyond clean technologies. The need to develop fundamentally different units of analysis and management such as ecosystems, culture, ethnicity and community. The need to make such organic units "market players". The need for a process that builds on democratic participation as a factor of development.

In the final analysis, sustainable development is a personal choice of options for consumption and life-style. Its reality has transformed space previously regarded as private and personal, involving only an individual or his family, into one that involves public interest, into an agora where mere presence is a political activity. This has brought into the fore the need for the participation of the citizenry and the re-legitimization of civil society organizations as a necessary counterpart to the state in the task of ensuring a sustainable future. Hand in hand with this transformation is the shift of identity from class and party lines to the warmer spaces of gender, ethnicity, culture and eco-citizenship.

This trend is bringing about a post-modern reconstruction of wisdom from nature, spiritual and cultural traditions as normative beacons for a new, holistic, systemic and non-reductionist science and as the fundamentals of sustainable development.

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