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Critically explore the extent to which 'sustainable development' is a meaningful course of action or a case of 'business a - Essay Example

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Critically explore the extent to which ‘sustainable development’ is a meaningful course of action or a case of ‘business as usual’. The concept of sustainable development and its relationship to environmental conservation have become a fascinating topic…
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Critically explore the extent to which sustainable development is a meaningful course of action or a case of business a
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Download file to see previous pages This paper will critically explore the extent to which sustainable development is a meaningful course of action. It will begin by analyzing the term sustainable development, provide some background around the concept, and make progression towards finding gaps and flaws in the development of the term, its implementation, and theoretical framework. The term sustainable development appears to be so widely used that almost anything or anyone can jump on this bandwagon and use this term. Sustainable development is a term that is used by individuals, governments, and the different industries in the business sector. The idea of sustainable development is not new and has been around for much of humankind’s history (Redcliff, 1987). The application of this concept can be evidenced way back three centuries ago, in the work of Malthus during the 1700s, which has centered around population growth and on the demand that it causes on resources and natural environment. The use of the term in the modern era has become so wide that, in fact, an ordinary Google search returns over fifty million results. Allen and Hoekstra (1992) have gone as far as saying that most people are of the opinion that the term is advantageous. However, Fortune and Hughes (1997) view this concept as a meaningless notion, which centers to a western ethnocentric view with essence deficiency and is simply a paternalistic ideology. There are other schools of thought that describe the term as a paradigm (Daly and Townsend, 1992). However, in this sense it is though useful as it forms the basis of a methodology or theory that forms a conceptual framework for further development. According to Hopwood et al. (2005), there is a valuable potential shift in understanding humanity’s relationship with the environment. Sustainable development is a testament of humanity’s growing awareness of environmental, social, and economic problems that can affect the future of all humankind. The growing awareness has been particularly prominent during the last one hundred years by growth oriented demand in economic terms, and the consequences that such an approach has on the environment and resource depletion (Dresner, 2002). The concerns became more prominent, following the publication of The Limits to Growth (Meadows et al., 1972), highlighting that with the current trends in population growth and development, the earth’s carrying capacity would be exceeded within 100 years from the time of the report. In spite of the many given descriptions of sustainable development, the term has remained a variable concept that has been subject to a variety of interpretations and definitions. The publication of the Word Conservation Strategy (IUCN) in the 1980's was one of the reports known to have provided the first definition of sustainable development. The publication caught the interest of many people including critics who have considered the definition as limited. According to them, the given definition only pertains to a limited focus of ecological resource conservation, instead of involving the environment in conjunction with socio-economic issues. However, another prominent report seven years later by the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED, 1987) that is entitled "Our Common Future," appears to have addressed this and specifically made a direct relationship between environmental, social, and economic dimensions. According to Lafferty and Meadowcroft (2000), the report is ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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