Wasted: Counting the Costs of Global Consumption

Series: Sustainable Development Set (v. 12)
Hardback
Sustainable development cannot be achieved solely at the international level. Without the creation of more sustainable livelihoods, it will remain a utopian and elusive goal. Yet given the huge differences in economic development and levels of consumption between North and South, how might this be brought about? Taking the 1992 Rio Summit as its point of departure, Wasted examines what we now need to know, and what we need to do, to live within sustainable limits. One of the key issues is how we use the environment: converting natural resources into human artifices, commodities and services. In the process of consuming, we also create sinks. Today, these sinks - the empty back pocket in the global biogeographical system - are no longer empty. The fate of the global environment is indissolubly linked to our consumption: particularly in the energy-profligate North. To understand and overcome environmental challenges, we need to build the outcomes of our present consumption rates into our future behaviour: to accept sustainable development as a normative goal for societies; one that is bound up with our everyday social practices and actions. In this absorbing book, Michael Redclift argues that the way we understand and think about the environment conditions our responses, and our ability to meet the challenge, and discusses tangible policies for increased sustainability that are grounded in recent research and practice. Michael Redclift is Professor of International Environmental Policy at the Department of Geography, King's College London. He was previously Professor of International Environmental Policy at the University of Keele and before that Professor of Environmental Sociology at Wye College, University of London, and Director of the ESRC Global Environmental Change Programme. He is author and editor of numerous books, including Sustainable Development: Exploring the Contradictions (1987), Social Theory and the Global Environment (1994) and Sustainability: Life Chances and Lifestyles (1999). It was originally published in 1996.