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Reconciling Economics and Environment


© University of Toronto Press Incorporated Toronto Buffalo London Printed in Canada ISBN-I3: 978-0-8020-3595-0 ISBN-I 0: 0-8020-3595-7


Prin ted on acid-free paper

Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication Babe , Robert E., 1943Culture of ecology: reconciling E~Babe. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN-I3: 978-0-8020-3595-0 ISBN-IO: 0-8020-3595-7 1. Ecology - Economic aspects. 3. Environmental degradation. HC79.E5B32 2006 333.7

economics and environment

/ Robert

2. Environmental economics. I. Title ~
C2005-905955 .. 9

University of Toronto Press acknowledges the financial assistance to its publishing program of the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council. University of Toronto Press acknowledges the financial support for its publishing activities of the Government of Canada through the Book Publishing Industry Development Program (BPIDP).








Experience shows that our commerce with other countries expands as they progress industri- .1 Sustainable Development vs Sustainable Ecosystem .. 'We must embark on a bold new program for making the benefits of our scientific advances and industrial progress available for the improvement and growth of underdeveloped areas. through their own efforts. It is not a substance to be diminished by division. For the first time in history.' He continued. to produce more food.3 Truman declared.Morgenthau called on all present to accept the 'elementary axiom . The United States is preeminent among nations in the development of industrial and scientific techniques. which set the world on a trajectory of globalization and 'free trade.s.'! the then u. Infinite Earth. more clothing.' . humanity possesses the knowledge and skill to relieve the suffering of [impoverished] people.". OUf main goal should be to help the free peoples of the world. and more mechanical power to lighten their burdens . Infinite Wants... that prosperity has no limits..Y Morgenthau's declaration was followed up early in 1949 by President Harry Truman's inaugural address. 'Sustainable Development' Opening the 1947 Bretton Woods Conference. But our imponderable resources in technical knowledge are constantly growing and are inexhaustible . secretary of the treasury Henry Morgenthau envisioned 'the creation of a dynamic world economy in which the peoples of every nation will be able to realize their potentialities in peace and enjoy the fruits of material progress on an earth infinitely blessed with natural riches. more materials for housing... which in turn 'inaugurated the "development age. The material resources which we can afford to use for assistance of other peoples is limited.

.v'" one inference of which being rh. As public awareness MruwN.u growth in the future must be planned more carefully than growth ill 1 he past.:y as a Partner for Sustainable Development. for example. the Royal Dutch Shell Group.. or polysemous . the dominant.l" a target affirmed by the Secretary General of the Commission two years after publication of the report. in 2002 the International Association of Oil and Gas Pro. lilt' World Bank's 1992 World Development Report. which. accepted with Opt'11 arms Brundtland's recommendation to sustain economic growth.an acknowledgment.' however. and Brundtland's call forty years luI(' r to expand the 'world's environmental resource base to achieve a fiveto tenfold increase in world economic output over a fifty-year period." .l'' perhaps.hu"trs published indust. this 'new growth' was to be based 'on policies d2 that sustain and expand the environmental resource base. d 'i In this document.o it vital part of our ability to contribute to society and meet the econutnic. stems directly from the United Nations' World Commission on Environment and Development (Brundtland Commission). Profits are Mh. The first.{I'('aler social well-being and quality of life . (~overnments and corporations alike.g . and at the risk of some oversimplification. In its report of 2001 on .' tence that 'sustainable development' must entail 'a new era of economic growth. One of the .ll For the Brundtland Commission. . . We are companies Mllci Wr an' mandated to comply with the rule of law and regulations and to wUlk in paruu-rship with local authorities and communities to ensure sushtlt1uhlr h('IH'fit to all. moreover.f An essential component of Brundtland's program was its insis. 'a five. + I\l'lIndtland did caution that 'Such growth has serious implications for lilt" future of the world's ecosystems. and continuity.Il'ivr'l's has been the demonstrable relationship between economic growth ~lIcI J.. who wrote that to achieve sustainability 'a fivefold to tenfold increase in economic activity would be required over the next 50 years. in wht"h the term 'sustainable development' appeared twenty-one times. the application of technology and skill would transform an otherwise finite earth into an infinite resource that could be drawn upon indefinitely to meet humanity's material wants and needs. lin portant though that qualification is.not quite one of 'the great empty vessels of contemporary political discourse. Truman envisaged everincreasing levels of material prosperity for industrialized and 'developing' countries alike. concerns in thctNC-' UI'('aS. Greater production It Sustainable is the key to prosperity Development vs Sustainable Ecosystem 5 and In Truman's view. environmental and social requirements of sustainable develop111rlll. in its landmark report. 'There is still substantial disagreement on what [sustainable development] means an d how to ac hievc It. that economic growth to this point has proven problematic for the environment. there is nonetheless a remark- uhlc consistency.uHtainable development. defined 'sustainable development' as policies that 'meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. I(i 'h~~. III 11 Nhllilil r vein. : 'rise-' world has moved on in the past decade 'and so have we.(hly competitive returns to shareholders and give us the financial flexIhllily to take advantage of new commercial opportunities. Shell tlrployed the phrase 'sustainable development' fifty-five times.4 Culture of Ecology ally and economically peace. Even in the context of rapid population growth.indeed. but a 'motherhood' term nonetheless. In 1986 the General Assembly of the United Nations endorsed Truman's position by declaring development to be an inalienable human right.lclored into our decision-making processes . "ud ill publicity they have emphasized that they are indeed adherents lu t he program of sustainable development. by and large. Truman's call for 'development' through the application of scit'IHoe and technology and world trade. In our day the application of science and technology continues to be regarded by many as the .. C"x("iairned. 'Sustainable development. Affording to the association. As Carley and Christie write.means of transforming the earth's crust into an unlimited rcsourcc. focused on growth and profitability.. Our success will ensure hlf..7 revc i ' Broadly speaking. there are two antithetical meanings or approaches to sustainable development. 15 Likewise.to tenfold increase in world industrial output' over the next fifty years. economically inspired meaning and approach. is ambiguous. our business success is linked to performance in the areas of envinuuucural protection and community affairs. 'We will grow the value of Shell by delivering robust profitMhilil.i' although now the term 'sustainable development' is frequently invoked in mainstream government and business discourses to soften the proposal .. including assessments on potential social impacts of our activiUI'(· I. of Morgenthau's vision of an infinite rurth. Consequently. To be sure. . Our Common Future (1987).y and leveraging our competitive edge. at least.

and use them to increase quality of J~fe.development'. is in large measure a code phrase for sustaining economic growth. of course. ThIS growth entails. and while this is certainly not the only feature of its strategies.nmpnt PTlti_ Industry Canada's third Sustainable Development Strategy (SDS III).and growth not just in the poor South but in the rich North too. has a vision of Canada as a leader in the development.. informs public debate and ensures integrated decision making. 'To achieve sustainability we ". On these questions. tapping new markets and new resource bases.t of Ca?~da's 'environment' strategy that the country's newly appointed minister of the environment. is an integral part of growing a dynamic economy.17 Even a decade later." The updated Strategy [of Environment Canada] focuses on building a future shaped by a strong knowledge base that puts human and natural capital on an equal footing with economic capital. And. and 'why is it harmful. the World Bank was still championing continuous economic growth as the means to combat environmental degradation. for example. albeit with irony. income in the low. Note. ued._ too.o~~4envic:ronmen. 'sustainable . distribute access to 1!1. . . hence its remedy for a deteriorating environment was not conservation but sustained economic growth . in its 'sustainable development strategies' envisages continued economic growth. This period offers the opportunity to lay the foundation for inclusive growth . by year's end 2004 so entrenched was the economic growth thrus.V In fact. for 2003-06.which will require confronting barriers to change.' But this concern was alluded to only briefly and in the context of the bank sceptically raising its own questions: 'But what kind of consumption qualifies as overconsumption. the bank did acknowledge disquiet on the part of many environmentalists regarding 'overconsumption. Instance. respectively. It also subscribes to the view that sustainable development. the consistency (albeit different emphases) regarding markets and growth in the following extracts from position papers from.18 It can finict. employment and income growth. attributed environmental deterioration mainly to poverty.accounting for more than a third of the 60 percent increase in world output. was recommending to Cabinet colleagues that his department be renamed the Department of Sustainable Economy.. there is little clarity. Stepharie Dion. Morgenthau's doctrine of an infinitely expandable earth all over again.tal reso~rces fairly.i" However.Frlends of t~e Earth responded directly to Royal Dutch Shell s publicauor. not economic growth. According to the environmental group Friends of the Earth .' it asked. and the government of Canada. along with productivity. indeed. then.20 The unwavering thrust. As summed up by former World Bank economist Herman Daly. in part. a major bone of contention between those that interpret sustainable development as privileging 'economic' ideas and goals. the World Bank. It emphasizes partnerships and governance models that enable horizontal decision making at the government. of the bank's report on 'sustainable development' was to endorse continual economic growth. commer- . on sustainable development with a doc. This vision reflects the Department's mandate to help Canadians be more productive and competitive in the knowledge-based economy and thus improve their standard of living and quality of life. and what should be done about it? . 'Even the next 15 years (2003-2018) could bring a record period of economic growth in developing countries.23 In the dominant business and government perspective. community and corporate levels.6 Culture of Ecology Sustainable Developinent vs Sustainable Ecosystem 7 Development and the Enuironment. BrundtIand.rpossibly for the first time.. the bank declared that 'rising income can facilitat~ ?ut not guarantee better environmental and social outcomes by perrmttmg ivil countries simply to "grow out 0 f" po IIution or CIVl can fli t . 'How else could the South grow if it could not export to Northern markets and receive foreign investments from the North? And how could the North provide foreign investment and larger markets for the South if it in turn did not grow?. it is a major one. Driven by growth in China and India. in its document. and many ecologists and environmentalists. Industry Canada and Environment Canada: ill cialization and adoption of sustainable development tools. In 20?3. In its 2003 World Deveopment Report. It is. such as Royal Dutch Shell. The Canadian government.and middle-income countries will almost double . finally. the Strategy requires leadership by example in our departmental operations. need to reduce the total burden we place upon the environment to a sustainable level by cutting back on the amount of environmental resources. in large part. practices and technologies throughout the economy. The Strategy calls upon the strategic use of market forces to ensure that good economic policy becomes good environmental and social policy. for . Sustainable Development in a Dynamic World. The advisability and/or feasibility of expanding the resource base indefinitely is.

ecologist Robert Goodland cites evidence indicating that the economy.' not quantitative increase. and th~ more~ It . 'sustainable development' implies no growth 'beyond environmental carrying capacity. Friends declared. the more destructive this incompatibility [between economy and ecosystem] will be. 28 years humans would be using 80 per cent of plant growth. and there are billions without access to the basics required to improve their lives. soil erosion. Greenpeace partnered with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD).30 'Development. . this means that with only a single doubling in _world population (in the absence of fundamentally altered consumption patterns for example a marked increase in vegetarianism . 'The whole idea of sustainable development is that the economic subsystem must not grow beyond the scale at which it can be permanently sustained or supported by the containing ecosystem. . The term 'sustainable development.' While Shell's directors and shareholders will be celebrating the figures. urban sprawl. vulnerable communities around the world whose health and local environment is suffering as a result of Shell's ageing and polluting refineries and depots. Shell's underlying profits in the first three months of the year almost doubled to a record 3.. 'future progress simply must be made in terms of the things that really count rather than the things that are merely countable. writes that 'an economy is sustainable only if it respects the principles of ecology. in his view. larger the e~onomy becomes relative to the ecosystem.presses a~a~~st the earth's natural limits. but not limited to. Shell today boasted record profits for the first quarter of 2003. .in .29 He adds. for Daly entails 'moral growth. between environment and devel- opment. and pollution.at least for the rich countries . ecological balance and social progress. while supporting economic growth . rather. For him.32 Interestingly.' There. to more effectively prod governments and corporations into positive action on climate change. natural environments . 'The. synthesis in our day between ecology and economics. The gap between rich and poor continues to increase in both developing and industrialised countries. .91 billion US dollars. whereas 'growth' means quantitative increase in resource use. . more often than not. in fact.' then. we see that 'sustainable development' carries different. Planet.within just thirty-five . Brown. was too large vis-a-vis the ecosystem.25 Friends of the Earth is certainly not alone among environmental advocates in maintaining that an ecologically sound economy can by no means tolerate indefinite economic growth.. improvements in resource efficiency. and multinationals grow richer. the profits may generate less enthusiasm among poor. likewise.degrade rapidly.33 which describes itself as 'a coalition of 170 international companies united by a shared commitment to sustainable development via the three pillars of economic growth. Disregarding future desertification. merely a public relations scam: 'Governments pay lip service to environmental protection. Lester R. president of the Earth Policy Institute. Ecological economist Herman Daly has drawn perhaps the clearest distinction between the two views of sustainable development.' then. as well as the 'highest hydrocarbon production in recent history. Net income is up a massive 136% on the same period last year.27 Brown provides no hint that human skills and technology can transform the earth's crust into an infinite resource.8 Culture of Ecology Sustainable Development vs Sustainable Ecosystem 9 tied 'Shell Record Profits at Expense of People. government and corporate rhetoric on 'sustainable development is. Whereas business and corporate interests touting sustainable development equate 'development' with 'growth. The news comes just one week after its Annual General Meeting was dominated by representatives from communities around the world who are suffering as a result of living next to the company's polluting refineries.31 For Greenpeace. even at the time of the Brundtland Report. 'development' means qualitative improvement.3 billion. While people in industrialised countries buy more. Origins of 'Sustainable Development' llow and why did the rhetoric of 'sustainable development' arise and Ml'uW to such prominence over the last two decades? Certainly environmC"lltnl discourses and the appreciation of pristine nature are of long Ihttuling and are readily detected even in writings from antiquity .particularly those in developing nations .above all else. For Daly. directly or indirectly.26 He adds. Likewise. blacktopping of agricultural land. He estimates that the human economy then used. however. if not indeed a false.34 In any event. 40 per cent of the net primary product o~ terrestrial photosynthesis (plant growth) . meanings for those intent on sustaining economic growth as opposed to those who see a growing economy as a major threat to ecosystem vitality. to $5. . often antithetical.' Daly insists that 'development' and 'growth' are by no means synonymous. including. is emblematic of at best a precarious.

1962 was a watershed year in terms of environmentalism. DDT. coupled with mass media's continual propagation of consumerism and lifestyles. In the years leading up to 1962. Aristotle. U.S.43 The remarkable success of that volume enabled her to forsake her civil-service post for full-time writing. both positive and negative. . which ascribed the deaths of birds in a sanctuary at Cape Cod to indiscriminant aerial spraying of the chemical.$200 million of pesticides w('re sold in 195R. and Virgil. we must nonetheless agree with Neuzil and Kovarik when they note that an environmen39 tal awareness certainly existed long before 1962. are emblematic of certain themes in this present work. Theophrastus. or preserved. and other 'noxious' wildlife. notes former U.40 Exactly why environmental awareness and concern had dwindled to such an extent is subject to conjecture. !) Soon.S. vice president AI Gore. including the bestselling tome The Sea Around Us. sales had soared to about $500 million. perhaps two world wars. the early twentieth-century American conservation movement was in large measure utilitarian.S. civil service. "'environment" was not even an entry in the vocabulary of public policy. induced people to focus on other. meanwhile. and controlling nature to man's purposes. with Harry Truman.S. president Theodore Roosevelt. thereby inaugurating the modern environmental movement. Over the ensuing years she amassed a substantial dossier on the substance. conservationist outlook. Army in the South Pacific during World War II to prevent typhus and malaria.counterpoints all to the then-dominant discourse of 'subduing. for example. peaking in 1959 at 35 million kg. on account of its low cost (22 cents per pound) and its seeming safety. the latter fromJohns Hopkins University.' had debased nature in the eyes of many to such an extent it was no longer to be admired.44 According to researchers at Case Western Reserve University. she was an author . in fact. . In the England of the 1800s.S.)38 Given all this. Bureau of Fisheries. Very likely the Darwinian revolution. positing an amoral nature 'red in tooth and claw. Regardless of reasons Rachel Carson's Silent Spring. 'the green manifesto that made ecology a household name'. Fish and Wildlife Service. its developer.manifesto on environmen tal issues. public places and private backyards alike were routinely Hpraycd. the yrur of its publication.10 Culture of Ecology Sustainable Development vs Sustainable Ecosystem 11 works by Lucretius. the poetry of Walt "Whitman and Ralph Waldo Emerson provided sublime accompaniment to the paeans to nature of Henry David Thoreau and George Parkins Marsh . likewise. DDT useage soared. it must be noted.of three books. by setting aside 150 million acres for national forest reserves and establishing five national parks and fifty-one refuges for wild birds. the year Carson began her manuscript. according to Alex MacGillivray. In her acknowledgments. the Cold War.r " In the early 1900s. conquering. For a time she taught university biology. Carson relates that she wrote Silent Spring in response to a letter from a friend. won the Nobel Prize in medicine and physiology in 1948. she rose through the ranks to become the chief editor of publications for the U. published in "1962. After World War II. it was 'by general consent. people actually believed that science and technology could transform the earth into an infinite repository of want-satisfying resources.I" (On the other hand. So effective was the chemical in averting disease. revered." Rachel Carson (1907-64) received bachelor's and master's degrees in zoology. DDT (dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane) was developed in 1939 and was widely used as a pesticide by the U. and by 1962. Romantic poets such as William Wordsworth and Percy Bysshe Shelley were paying homage to periwinkles and skylarks even as William Blake was denouncing the 'dark Satanic mills' of the Industrial Revolution. In 1936 she became the first woman to take and pass the test for the U.S. The pesticide industry burgeoned . 'conservation' even being defined by the Chief Forester of the United States in 1905 as 'the development and use of the earth and all its resources for the enduring good of men' . Hired initially as ajunior marine biologist with the U. the Great Depression. concerned Carson as early as 1945 when she unsuccessfully proposed an article on the topic to Reader's Digest. and grizzly populations. Olga Owens Huckins. The U. transforming. Evenings and weekends. Gilbert "White was making acute observations about the interdependence of all wildlife at Selborne. Paul Muller. .and remains the only . both governments and the chemical industry aggressively promoted its use.42 The story of Carson's boo k. one of the less laudable aspects of the conservation movement was a concerted effort to eradicate wolf. puma. too. manifested the thencurrent progressive.t! Or perhaps. though. the first . and the tribulations of its author. Nonetheless. In the New World of the 1800s.37 as intellectual historian Donald Worster notes. this 'miracle compound' and related herbicides and pesticides were adapted widely for civilian use _ particularly for agricultural applications. In the United States. This was. awakened the United States and much of the rest of the world to a renewed environmental awareness. and the economic boom of the 1950s. seemingly more pressing matters. DDT had.S Public Health Departmcnt held demonstrations purporting to show DDT's safety and effective1 IU·SS.

50 . Like all fine myths.' Carson finished her fable by remarking. and plague . to Syracuse. as it called for the eventual elimination of the use of persistent toxic pesticides and for greatly augmented federal research. also. cholera.' Prior to its publication in book form. Her book. 'No witchcraft.'a priestess of nature. vindicated Carson.47 Rachel Carson termed her story a fable. however. und sanity were all questioned. and the early mornings are strangely silent where once they were filled with the beauty of bird song.' 'a fanatic. and rose up the food chain in eve'r-increasing concentrations (a process called bio1nagnification).' and the osprey. .. integrity. She was referred to derisively as 'a spin"I(~". The term 'ecology' does not appear often in Rachel Carson's book. interacting populations. people grew ill. and the Clean Water Act were passed to establish regulatory safeguards and enable environmen talists to use the courts to protect wildlife air and " water. cancers. Kennedy ordered the Science Advisory Committee to study the effects of pesticides. children were suddenly stricken and died in a few hours. there was a flurry of activity: the use of DDT was banned in the United States. In 1972~3. 'In the gutters. in one molecule even. halt publication on account of purported inaccuracies and remarks disparaging two of the company's products. in the early spring of 1960. no enemy action had silenced the rebirth of new life in this stricken world.' of 49 which pesticides like DDT are a part. the fields and streams. The Velsicol Chemical Corporation. no less frightening because it is simply impossible to predict the effects of lifetime exposure to chemical and physical agents that are not part of the biological experience of man. the few birds that remained alive trembled violently and could not fly. Carson's character was impugned through informal gossip. some weeks before it had fallen like snow upon the roofs and lawns. In this unseen world minute causes produce mighty effects. may reverberate throughout the entire system to initiate changes in seemingly unrelated organs and tissucs. birds had been silenced. was an instance in which a 'minute cause' produced a 'mighty effect.' . entitled 'A Fable for Tomorrow. Illinois.' namely. certainly. of green fields in the summer of a blaze of colour in the fall with foxes barking in the 46 hills and deer silently crossing fields half hidden in the morning mists. 'spring now comes unheralded by the return of birds. In 1965 the President's Advisory Committee published Restoring the Quality of Our Environment. Silent Spring provoked th~ chemical industry to rise up in arms.' she continued.. apple trees came into bloom but there were no bees to pollinate them. the bald eagle. the people had done it themselves. a change at one point.disease organisms such as smallpox. and many credit this action as being instrumental to 'the resurgence of such nearly extinct species as the peregrine falcon.' she summarized. . the Clean Air Act.She painted images of white clouds. Her amplification of the term. In 1969 the U. She proposed that genetic damage. Sustainable Development vs Sustainable Ecosystem 13 although central ideas denoted by the word (the web of life. from Toledo. a blight crept over the area. As well. interdependence. Wisconsin. or nutritional. a white granular powder still showed a few patches. cataloguing pollution problems and their effects on human and environmental health. to the Appalachian -region of West Virginia. the Endangered Species Act.' she declared. ' chemical giant Monsanto distributed a pamphlet to the various media \ . . the new hazards were ones that 'we ourselves have introduced. she wrote. accumulated in the fatty tissue of animals. demanded that Carson's publisher. is particularly compelling: 'There is also an ecology of the world within our bodies. for example. structure. Portions of Silent Spring initially appeared in serial form in the 'New Yorker. New York. competence. and received immediate.' and the 'never-ending stream of chemicals. serious attention: President John F. ' Upon publication.48 Rachel Carson described how DDT entered the trophic. In April she underwent radical mastectomy. of bloom in the spring. and birth defects ensued. Carson and her book implanted an awareness of certain environmental issues. 'radiation in all its forms. reproductive incapacities. 'under the eaves and between the shingles of the roofs. it generalized a multitude of actual occurrences: from Hinsdale. Ohio. But perhaps most significantly. however.' Carson asked her readers to imagine 'a town in the heart of America where all life seems to live in harmony with its surroundings. and continued to be treated through radiation until her death on 14 April 1964. 'Their presence.s. Carson was diagnosed with breast cancer.12 Culture of Ecology In the first chapter of Silent Spring. dynamic change. an evil spell setded on the community. Congress passed the Environmental Policy Act. issued in 1963.had been largely eradicated. Houghton Mifflin. The committee's report. Her motives. holistic analysis. and so on) indeed permeate her thought. But it was not fiction. and everything began to change: domestic animals grew sick and expired. and in 1970 President Richard Nixon created the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).. from the campus of Michigan State University to Whitefish Bay. 'casts a shadow that is no less ominous because it is formless and obscure.' and 'hysterical. 'Over increasingly large areas of the United States. Carson claimed that although former scourges to human health .l'" These remarks are poignant because. But then.

as the commission saw it. Although the term. for example.l'' As noted above.54 Carson. has in practice been disregarded by l~rge seg~en ts of the ?ublic. as an approach to resolving both the world's economic woes and its burgeoning environmental crises.ence. Meanwhile. in effect. the same power can do incalculable harm to human beings and the human environment. in which twice as many people would be relying on the same resource base. when it was suppos~d that nat~re exists for the convenience of man. dl.' Remarking that 'many present.h2 with a mandate 'to explain and promote Mllstalnahle developmcn t..57 The contrast between the position of Rachel Carson and that of Harry 'Trurnan could hardly be more stark. if not indeed to Protagoras (c. including the air. and by implication between ecology and economics. though.14 Culture of Ecology Sustainable Development vs Sustainable Ecosystem 15 parodying her book. an essential aspect of its 'solution' was an expansion of the Earth's resource base to help. with the report of the UN's World Commission on Environment and Development (Brundtland Commission). ill_ust be safeguarded for the benefit of present and future generations through careful planning or management. i~desc~ibed a worl? without chemical pesticides as being devastated by famine.. Dow Chemical. Although use of DDT was banned in the United States. if used wisely.h. entitled TheDesolate Year. flora and fauna and especially representative samples of natural ecosystems. bring about 'a new era of economic growth.58 With this statement the UN proposed. and the Agricultural Chem:~al ASsOcl~tlon. even though ecosystem tragedies should have made readily apparent to all the problematic nature of the doctrine. The issue. industry. while at the same time degrading the environmcnt. [is] properly the center and the ma~ter of all things. ' so great was the con let s between business and the environment. Carson. transnational corporations. The concepts and practices of applIed entomology for the most part date from that Stone Age of sci. A major environmental public relations firm. . 'sustainable development. declaring: 'In our time.59 A decade and a half later. remains our culture's 'common sense.. Wrongly or heedlessly applied. or False. as noted by Al Gore. a fundamental _ antithe~is between environment and development.uded .. the thrust of Carson's book which transcends the particular issues of DDT and other pesticides.l'" the Brundtland Commission asked how 'development' could possibly serve the world in the next century. dlS~Ibuted damning reviews of the book to the press. Reconciliation? In 1972 the United Nations held the first international conference on the environment (the Stockholm Conference).M~nsanto.meeting today's needs without sacrificing the capacity of future generations to meet theirs . is an . .sease: and Insects. probably for the first time in an official policy document. She concluded her book with these words: 'The "control of nature" is a phrase conceived in arrogance. In 1994. t~e story of h~s domination. and that scientific history [is) primarily.55 This orthodoxy. While in some respects Carson won a great victory over powerful opposition at another level she was far from victorious. as appropriate. man's capability to transform his surroundings.. disputed a mam tenet of modern civilization. The UN Declaration continued. between economICS and ecology. most basically. and that In turmng them against the insects it has also turned them against the earth. 'that man . its basic thrust . which is to say (at least WIth a narrow rendering of 'development') between ecosystem and economy. the proposal that economic growth and environmental health can be reconciled through careful planning and management was officially assigned the term 'sustainable development. c~e~lcal companies threatened to withdraw advertisements from publications • 53 fli l. even more 'potent' (i. water. dating at least to the writmgs of Fr~cls Bacon (1561-1626). can bring to all peoples the benefits of development and the opportunity to enhance the quality of life. 480-410 Be).i Sustainable development. . 'Sustainable Development': Fragile.' Since 1987 the term 'sustainable development' has become a catchphrase of governments. whose clients lr:cl. 'The natural resources of the earth . the use of 'narrow spectrum' herbicides and pesticides. however. was to devise policies and revise activities that would bring about development that would be sustainable into the indefinite future for the entire planet. We see around us growing evidence of man-made harm in many regions of the earth. the Canadian Parliament established the National Round Table O~t the Environment and the Economy as 'an ltult~f?(!ndent advisory bodr. was explicit and insistent in denouncing this dominant world view. production for export continued apace.n Carson 'd ay . Moreover. escalated. and government.e. I~is our alarming misfortune that so primitive a scien~e has ~rmed Itself~lth the most modern and terrible weapons. carrying favourable reviews.was set forth. land. namely. moreover.' had yet to be invented. Even more basically.. born of the Neanderthal age of biology and philosophy.. ~nd some tie this increase to alarming growth in the incidences of breast and testicular cancers. deadly) than DDT. development trends leave increasing numbers of people poor and vulnerable. and some environmentalists.

from both the practical and philosophical points of view . one tier above another.72 By the time of Morgenthau's speech in 1947. cod were so plentiful at the Grand Banks off Newfoundland that they could be 'scooped out of the sea with buckets. would at least have been understandable. For now... When Europeans like Samuel de Champlain andJohn Cabot began exploring North America in the fifteenth century. 70 provide philosophical or theoretical support for the corporate/governmental program of sustaining economic growth indefinitely by insisting that the earth is infinite in its capacity to satisfy humans' material wants. hardly a break occurring in the flocks for half a day at atime.a bird that once numbered perhaps 5 billion . sustainable development is said to form a cornerstone of both public policy and corporate decision-making.and there's no practical limit to improving our lot forever. however.' described as 'important tools that help guide departments and agencies within the Government of Canada in systematically integrating the principles of sustainable development into their policies.may well be a large part of the problem. At the close of the conference. a philosopher of environmental ethics at the University of Maryland.64 Internationally. As well. Corporate and governmental proposals for sustaining economic growth find ready support in the writings of many academics. ltse If Ch 0 ki on Its own was t e. the World Summit has succeeded in generating a sense of urgency. to . the passenger pigeon . . industry.the UN issued a press release that began 'In the face of growing poverty and increasing environmental degradation. namely that resources. of course.67 lng As a society and a culture. was not large enough to sustain thcml And today. programs. furthermore. . and more importantly from evidence cited immediately below regarding environmental deterioration. therefore.. Even Mark Sagoff. the capacity of the planet to absorb wastes. . materials. We will have occasion in later chapters to critique this proposition. 'The term "finite" is not only inappropriate but is downright misleading when applied to natural resources. insisted. at least in the context of the New World. that attempts to safeguard the earth's ecosystems for future generations have met with at best limited success. . prosperity and the production and consumption of goods on which it is based.that is.fifteen years after Brundtland's initial call for sustainable development and a decade subsequent to the Rio Conference . legislation and operations.68 We will return on several occasions to Sagoff in the course of II also at the University of Maryland. that the meanings businesses and governments assign sustainable development . although inaccurate. the price system effectively guides human innovation to counter scarcities.predominantly that of expanding the earth's resource base to sustain economic growth .16 Culture of Ecology Sustainable Development vs Sustainable Ecosystem 17 explicit goal of Canada's Environmental Assessment Act. as all Newfoundlanders know only too well. ... In late August 2002. flocks stretched as far as a person could see. it suffices to turn to environmental indicators that fly in the face of the doctrine of an infinite earth. A society that thinks there's an 'away' to throw things into is going to find . Environmentalist Donella Meadows expresses the problem this way: 'A society that refuses to consider the idea that there are limits to growth is not going to bring forth a physical economy that fits within the constraints of the planet. until his death in 1998 a professor of business. the codfiHhery is dead.69 Sagoff and Simon. The New World. we continue to reject the idea that there are limits to growth. . declared baldly: 'It is simply wrong to believe that nature sets physicallimi. the presumption that the earth is capable of sustaining economic growth indefinitely.ts to economic growth .66 It would seem from this statement. It is suggested here. Likewise Julian Simon. and civil society to reaffirm the commitment to sustainable development that had been made at the Earth 65 Summit in Rio de Janeiro ten years earlier. tabled in Canada's Parliament every three years are 'sustainable development strategies. both in terms of the purported lack of constraint on human knowledge and technology. The more we use.was extinct. by and large. evidently. and others. are all a function of human knowledge and technology. held in Johannesburg. given centuries during which humans have applied knowledge and technology as guided by the price system.Y' Similarly. which in principle can grow forever. the better off we become . the World Summit on Sustainable Development. They justify this claim essentially through a single line of argument. assembled heads of state and leaders from government. for example. and the alleged efficacy of prices in guiding human endeavours in environmentally benign ways. Ecosystem Crises Species Extinctions At one time. this book. South Africa. as late as 1854 a resident of New York State could write: 'There would be days and days when the air was alive with [passenger pigeons]. however .

his increase has occurred within the last fifty years. . 'there is no clear indication that the rate of land degradation has decreased. and 1998 the warmest year. . however. . present extinction rates. are 'hundreds or even thousands of times higher. few species by themselves are vital for the effective functioning of the biosphere. [Indeed] the species most likely to be endangered are those the bio- According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).5 per cent of vascular plants and 34 per cent of fish were threatened with extinction. loss of biodiversity is a tragedy of immense proportions. .. When thousands of such species become extinct. As ecologist David Suzuki has emphasized. Sustainable Development vs Sustainable Ecosystem 19 sphere is least likely to miss.18 Culture of Ecology In fact..Y Temperature increases have been accompanied by significant increases in greenhouse gas emissions.' but also that it 'aids in the preservation of terrestrial biodiversity..6 degrees Celsius are attributable directly to human activities. extinction rates of animal species are even higher. Granted.. species extinctions have reached alarming proportions.' and species diversity enables life to continue and to diversify. According to the United Nations Environment Programme. "Many of these species were never common or ecologically influential.9 million animal or plant species have been described out of an estimated 5-30 million species that exist • One in every four mammals and one in every eight birds is facing a high risk of extinction in the near future • One in three amphibians and almost half of all tortoises . fragile. particularly CO2.and freshwater turtles are threatened • The total number of threatened animal species increased from 5. the major causes being deforestation. The UN Environment Programme notes that land is not only 'finite. pollution. .an area larger than the United States and Mexico combined) have been degraded through human activities.". Based on projected increases in CO2 emissions. the seas would not fill up with krill . 'Life itself has created the conditions hospitable to all creatures. According to the World Conservation Union (IDeN): . agricultural mismanagement. that all or even most of the species we are concerned to protect are essential to the functioning of the ecological systems on which we depend. however. has dismissed the ecosystem importance of species extinctions with the following argument: 'There is no credible argument.Ho The UN Environment Programme concludes that despite atternpts to decrease soil erosion. 12. moreover. Degradation of Arable Land • 15.73 Whereas the rate of extinctions during the past 600 million years averaged perhaps one species per year. . Even from an anthropocentric point of view it is hugely problematic. urban growth.266 in 2004 . since measurements began in 1860. citing biologist David Ehrenfeld. climate change. 'global biodiversity is changing at an unprecedented rate.Since 1750. According to the United Nations Environment Programme. and industrializarion. the 1990s was the warmest decade. the IPCC .000 threatened species. of the 11.78 Sagoffhere presumes an ecosystem is like a machine. by no stretch of the imagination can we make them out to be vital cogs in the ecological machine. and more than half of t. according to Oregon State University biologist Bruce Coblentz. The IUCN further estimates that by the mid-1990s. 23 per cent of all the earth's useable land (land excluding mountains and deserts) has been significantly degraded. and non-renewable.3 to 0. unsustainable harvesting of natural resources and the introduction of exotic species.74 Estimates are that currently as many as five plant species become extinct every day. regulation of the hydrological cycle. atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide have risen by 31 per (*('tll. If whales went extinct.~H Global Warming. for example. biodiversity is reduced to such an extent that ecosystems become damaged irreparably. 18 per cent were 'critically endan- . the most important drivers being land conversion.77 Environmental philosopher Mark Sagoff. carbon storage and recycling. . he misses the main point.76 From a biocentric viewpoint. These temperature increases have been accompanied by large decreases in snow cover and a rise in the sea level of ten to twenty centimetres. overgrazing. But even apart from that. Greenhouse lijJect gered.l" About 2 billion hectares of soil (15 per cent of the earth's land . a dubious analogy addressed later on in 'this book.205 75 in 1996 to 7. The IPCC calculates that average global surface temperature increases since 1900 of 0.589 animal or plant species are known to be threatened with extinction • 1.

For lead. ()I)T is still being produced and used in limited quanti- Unfortunately. ' • The report presents serum levels of dioxins. Toxins in Air and Water toxins in the human body. lubricants. furans and coplanar PCBs. The average sea. In terms of their toxicity.. continues apace. • Phthalates are chemicals found in Inany consumer products including vinyl flooring adhesives. heat waves. Farmers worldwide. Animal testing has shown reproductive toxicity for some phthalates. hairspray. The second report documents that levels of monoethyl phthalate were lower among children than among adolescents or adults. apply 2. I~I()wever.83 It is also anticipated ~hat gl?bal war~ing will cause lengthened growing seasons in mid.20 Culture of Ecology Sustainable Development vs Sustainable Ecosystem 21 anticipates that global average temperatures will rise by 1. Another metabolite. shifts in plant and animal ranges. boreal and tropical forests. OUf data show that levels of chlorpyrifos in children are about twice as high as those in adults. we have a mixed picture.f" Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are long-hve~ toxln. furans and coplanar PCBS that were below the detection limits of our analytical method. for specific chemicals. furans and coplanar PCBs are dioxin-like compounds. Moreover. These pesticides 'are orders of magnitude more toxic than 50 years ago. with surface temperature and sea level contmumg to rise In response to past emissions. prairie wetlands. 'eve~ after . Ice caps. . All of these chemicals persist in the environment and in the human body for years..opulations. There is an increased risk of flooding f?r tens of millions of people due not only to rising sea levels. Increases in the occurrence of droughts. experts speaking on behalf of the Department of Health and Human Services made the following points. including some POPs. One of the major environmental achievements in the decade following the Rio Conference (1992) was the signing in Stockholm in May 2001 of the Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants.2 million people a year and the effects of air polluti~n ta~e 3 mIlh~n lives 85 annually around the world. soap. however. detergents. • I)DT was widely used in the United States until EPA banned its use in 1973. among others: • Overall.900 people annually and costs the medical system about ~1. mainly synthetic chemicals. and remna~t native grasslands. One metabolite. 'and windstorms are projected. .to high-latitude regions.rand declines in animal and plant p. shampoo. Retail sales of chlorpyrifos for residential use were stopped in December 2001 .4 ~o 5. climate 'change will per~lst for ~a~y centuries. shampoo and cosmetics. and glaciers are expected to shrink. lev~l IS predicted to increase between 9 and 88 cm.1 bIlh?n annually. mono 2 ethylhexel [ph] phthalate. there are no measures of the accumulation of toxins in the environment. some encouraging findings and some of concern. as published in its Second National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals (Jan uary 2003). Illonoethyl phthalate. commonly used in personal care products such as soap. In releasing the report. • Chlorpyrifos is an organophosphate pesticide that has been used heavily in the United States. and all kinds of flexible or soft plastics. and water is anticipated to become increasingly scarce in the subtropics. food packaging.2. The production of other POPs. It is noted that every stage of the hf~ cycl~ of p~V. 88 pesticides were present in all the people tested. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. coral reefs. Nearly 25 million tons of PVC.84 According to the United Nations. These findings are encouraging and consistent with other data. . contaminated water kills an esti~~ted .8 degrees Celsius between 1990 and 2100. Snow cover. some encouraging data. air pollution kills an estln:a~ed 1. from manufacture to disposal. such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC). to crops annually. avalanches. however. Crop yields are expected to decline in most tropical and subtropical regions. No generally recognized guidelines that indicate threshold values for adverse effects are yet available for levels of these phthalate metabolites. creates 'dangerous chemicals.S.s that collect and concentrate in the food chain. In Ontario. tracks exposure to dimethyl phthalate. Also endangered are glaciers. indicating exposure to these chemicals has been declining in the past two decades.87 Efforts have been made recently to measure the presence of chemical . which is commonly found In flexible or soft plastic products. polychlorinated biphenyls. nail polish. were produced in 1999. The treaty bans production of ten POPs and specifies reduced emissions of two industrial by-products.5 million tons of pesticides. polar and alpine ecosystems. The second report presents levels of seven separate metabolites or breakdown products of phthalates.greenhouse gas concentrations are stabilized. According to the U. Levels of mono 2 ethylhexeI phthalate showed a different trend and were higher among children than among adolescents or adults. Most people who were tested for these compounds had levels of dioxins. sea Ice. but also Increased precipitation. floods. tracks exposure to Dy 2 [ph] ethylhexel phthalate. associated ~ith cancer.

Significant decreases in the ozone layer covering over Antarctica were detected in the 19708 by a team of Bri t. It noted that the test results showed that All but five of the 23 pesticides and pesticide metabolites evaluated in this report were found in at least half of the study subjects. accounting for 1. . In fact. revealed the following: • From 1995 to 2002 the amount of toxic pollutants reported released and transferred increased by 49%. • While air releases of chemicals designated as toxic under the Canadian .93 current average ozone tUNNC'S arc 6 per cent in northern mid-latitudes. nitrogen oxides al't' a component of aircraft emissions and other combustion processes.868.030 kilograms were released into the water.has classified DDT as reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen. New Brunswick). Shell Canada facilities appear three times. The national toxicology program . cataracts. exposure to which is associated with skin cancer. DDE levels were clearly measurable in people aged 12 to 19 years. On the encouraging side. [The four largest emitters of carcinogens into the air were: Vitafoam Products Canada Limited (Toronto facility). or 10. but also to bromine compounds and nitrogen oxides. a metabolite of the insecticide chlorpyrifos (found in 93% of those tested). resulting in increases in 94 ultraviolet radiation of 7 p(~r cent.it is clear that most people in the U. the activist organization Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA) found little reason for optimism. the study. compared with levels found in several small studies of DDT exposure in selected groups in the United States before 1990.107. Shattering the Myth of Pollution Progress in Canada. Inco Limited (Sudbury facility).386. air conditloning. solvents. aerosols. tracked by NPRI . in December 2004 Pollution Watch (a joint undertaking of Environmental Defence and the Canadian Environmental Law Association) issued a report on trends in toxic emissions.302.ish scientists.a source not.091 kilograms of carcinogens were released into the air in Canada.576 kilograms) known to cause reproductive and developmental harm were released into the air. a total of 3. no generally recognized guidelines that indicate threshold values for other adverse effects are available. Once carbon monoxide was factored out. and P. and Stelco Inc. a breakdown product of DDT (found in 99% of those tested). of all chemicals generated at company sites.a major metabolite persist in people and persist in the environment.92 AIr hough world production of ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons frll hy 87 per cent between 1988 and 1997. 71 % ended up in the air in 2002.. Depletion of stratospheric ozone has been attributed mainly to lilt' release of CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons). According to the United Nations ~t • Turning now to Canadian data. Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) and carcinogens have decreased (4% and 22% respectively). 90 (Izon« Depletion Ozone in the earth's upper atmosphere shields organisms from the sun '8 ultraviolet rays.which present results from testjng for only a fraction of the pesticides that individuals are actually exposed to . government agency reporting results found reasons both for encouragement and for concern. III kilograms. 14. The second reportpresents data showing serum levels ofDDE that are three times higher in Mexican Americans than in either non-Hispanic whites or non-Hispanic blacks. Both DDT and DDE . Two chemicals found in nearly all the test subjects were TCP. Based on these data .. ·CFCs are used in refrigeration. • In 2002. and immune-system problems.007.22 Culture of Ecology ties in other countries. 7. Among those tested for pesticide residues in both blood and urine. A significant amount of the carbon monoxide is emitted into the environment is from cars and trucks .] • In 2002. While the U. Based on data released by Environment Canada. (Hamilton}.8 percent of the Canadian total] _91 . the DDT and DDE levels in the report are clearly lower.S.89 Sustainable Development vs Sustainable Ecosystem 23 2002. carry a significant body burden of pesticides and pesticide metabolites. the average person had 13 pesticides in his or her body.p-DDE. As yet.S. Weyerhauser Canada Lirniterl (Miramichi. [In the list of the top 15 polluters. Subsequently. and some types of packaging. the majority of this amount being carbon monoxide.. About 176. Additionally.. even though people in this age group were born after DDT was banned in the United States.007 of emissions. air releases of pollutants associated with reproductive and developmental harm have increased 10% from 1995 to • Releasing chemicals into the air is still the main method of dealing with waste in Canada.564. an 'ozone hole' was also found over the Arctic. almost 1 billion kilograms of chemicals (968.091 kilograms of air releases known to cause reproductive or developmental harm remained. Air releases increased by 21 % and water releases increased by 137%.

however. Sometimes these price indicators are to be 'adjusted' to reflect environmental impacts. and praxis largely conforming to ecological principles. the dominant. interpretations . We are living by an ideology of death and accordingly we are destroying our own humanity and killing the planet. chapter 5 attempts to do so. ground-level ozone. gical economics' creates difficulties for summarizing or typifying o Ilu~ held.24 Culture of Ecology Sustainable Development vs Sustainable Ecosystem 25 Environment Programme. Hebrew. and implies that these all must become more harmon ious wi th ecological principles. . Nonetheless. and that diarrhoea kills about 2. The main recommendation of environmental economists is to subject. their depiction is all too apt.25 billion to 2.. Culture of Ecology The disparate.9H Unfortunately. environmental degradation. places much less faith in the efficacy of the price system. The rulrure of ecology. then. is a life-threatening pollutant.' The antithesis of the 'ideology of death. urban centres. indeed antithetical. once adjusted. and elements drawn Irom ecological economics undoubtedly will constitute important components of a culture of ecology. and medieval writers) was actually profoundly environmentally sound. known as environmental economics. The book proposes further that the antithesis between 'environment' and 'devel~~ment' arose only with the Enlightenment. and may even propose transforming economics itself in accordance with principles of ecology. it. It was a principal contention of the Brundtland Commission that population growth. Sysu-ms theorist Ludwig von Bertalanffy once remarked that the .S. that 4 mdho~ ?ableS die annually in the developing world during their first week of life. but less than forty 'years for it to double again. human-environment interactions to market forces and price indicators. but the belief persists among environmental economists that the system of relative prices. and poverty are inextricably linked. Matters were not always thus. Some project that the world's populatIon may stabilize at 8 to 14 billion over the present century. Second. 'The open-minded attitude [of the ecological ecoIIOlnlCS movement] implies that even a neo-classical environmental eronomist can refer to her or himself as an ecological economist. so far ~s ~ossible. most of them children under five.7~? premature death~ in. defined as systems of symbolism. interpretation.un The scope of the term '(t('ol . The authors add: This value IS probably an underestimate of the total mortality burden from such an increase in OZOIle because it accounts for only the short term effects. however. the ye~r 2000 to short-term exposures to ozone. created by the interaction of fuel emissions and sunlight.. marginalized approach. is a culture of ecology. investigating air pollution and morbidity data for ninety-five large U.' It is also estimated that each year half a million. It is thought that about 20 per cent of people now live in 'absolute poverty.2 million people each year. encompasses economic as well as other discourses and practices.' According to Peter Soderbaum. the present book argues. By Oct~ber 1999. . and it investigates the wntmgs of Thomas Hobbes and Adam Smith particularly to detect how this dichotomy arose.of s~stainable dev~lopment noted previously point to the current bifurcauon of economic and ecological thinking.all too literally. who has written an ()ver~ew of the field.. attribute 3. ~omen ~ie from complications of pregnancy and childbirt~. . and the present book proposes (contrary to writers such as Lynn WhiteJr) that Western economic thought in its foundations (the Greek. in eff~ct.' as developed par tially In this book. Ecological economics. loosely known as ecological economics. the thinning of the ozone layer not only threatens human health. the antithesis between economics and ecology is even manifest in two dichotomous economic approaches to environmental matters. Herman Daly and John Cobb have eerily depicted our present plight as 'living by an ideology of death': 'We human beings are being led to a dead end . ~xceeded 6 bi~li?n. environmental degradations. will be in principle sufficient to remedy.97 Population Gro1vth It took one hundred years for the world's population to double from 1. orthodox approach. . but also affects flora and fauna and the 1· pane t' selma t e. Yale University researchers. is quite problematic.i'" This approach.J()() a position validated by Richard Norgaard and other contributors to an anthology devoted to ecological economics. the heterodox.5 billion (between 1850 and 1950). 95 1 Ironically.. First. At present. ecology becomes. essentially applies mainstream economic principles and modes of analysis to environmental concerns. is very 'pluralistic. a branch or "" application of neoclassical economic theory. while ozone in the stratosphere shields organisms from harmful ultraviolet rays. so far as is desirable (or 'efficient') .

mighty effects. to 'sustainable ecosystems. vocabularies. or problematic. It is within the common experience of most of us that the natural environment is deteriorating: Beaches are more often than not closed to swimming. that is.) to a culture of ecology. dominates. the public may grow accustomed to its services.. and limitations of [the] species. ~ of. that the general public can be made aware and become concerned . Ihis is especially the case if the costs are diffused widely but the initial hcuefits are concentrated and accrue to the innovator through patents anti other monopoly rights.103 This book asks. etc. Although the discursive subject matter.' The culture of ecology is a vast topic for the simple reason that we are so far removed from ecologically sane thinking and acting. it is an important beginnIng. correlates in Inainstream economic thinking. once an innovation is in place. Publicizing the latter. and neoclassical economics as a prime example in particular. and ultimately of acting. instincts. In brief. this entails a shift. but it forms a cornerstone of the ecological mindset. namely e~onomics. therefore. 'l ~u' notion (~f discourse. particulurly if those harms are diffuse or abstract (for example. and criteria for rvlcl('lu'('.' and a second. As a related point. Discourse is the communication . These anti-environmental discourses. I will close the chapter by reviewing these. evidence.a paradigm shift from the propositions and logics of mainstream (neoclassical) economics and its accompanying cultural supports (advertising. The present book. economists. governments. are largely the ones we live by.' as the term is most commonly interpreted. however. Every innovation has both benefits and costs. government economic statements and strategies.IOIHl within. boil-water advisories make people apprehensive about the quality of even their municipal (chemically treated and filtered) drinking water. or for an ecological economics in particular. advertisers. or conversawith systems of """'lltllptioIlS. if any. That biological princi pIe has few. business news. and most often journalists are inconsistent with ecosystem vitality. corrective force. verbal. air-quality advisories are continual and routine in the summer months. persist in our era when our habitat is so obviously under siege? As well as attempting to answer that question. often falls to those who are quite diminutive compared with the powerful interests in society. (>1'0 posi tions.26 Culture of Ecology Sustainable Development vs Sustainable Ecosystem 27 human being 'is a denizen of two worlds': a material world in which each person functions as 'a biological organism with the physical equipment. In her book. We do not live in an eco-culture. the universe (or universes) of symbols. in part.' 102 The question. As Donella Meadows remarked. drives. 'l 'he dialectic of science and technology. UV readings warn people to stay out of the sun. the book proposes an alternative . biotic 'world. as the economy and the ecosystem are fundamentally in conflict. why do anti-ecological discourses generally. therefore. and it may be dif11('111 t to wean them from it or to convince them of the harms. for a culture of ecology generally. It focuses on mainstream and heterodox economics. she also described what has come to be known as biomagn~fication: the manner whereby accumulations of toxic substances pass up the food chain in ever-increasing concen trations. a way of thinking and communicating. is this: Just how can the symbolic. heli(~fs. 'When Rachel Carson penned these words with reference to the human organism as an ecosystem. species rxtinctions and global warming). the asphalting of a favourite nature trail and the disappearance of a wetlands in the name of 'development' give people first-hand experience of disappearing ecosystems.' inextricably linked as they are? One need not be a scientist (although scientific confirmations are important and abundant) to realize that our experience of external reality is not in accord with the 'dominant paradigm' (or system of meanings) instilled in us day by day and hour by hour by instruments of mass enculturation. that is more in tune with our habitat. Carson's book demonstrates. a paradigm. Promoters tend to publicize the benefits but ignore or downplay the costs. is but a beginning.. uses. 'Minute causes. 'A paradigm is upheld by the constant repetition of ideas that fit within it. communicatory. and is dominated by . breast cancer was already ravaging her body. in turn. meanings. at which point public opinion becomes a powerful. Lessons from Silent Spring Some aspects of our approach to current discourses and activities are already manifest in the story of Rachel Carson's book. however.. even heroes and mythic stories. values. textual 'world' become more consistent with and supportive of the material. in the context of von Bertalanffy's insight. images. higher world wherein each one 'creates. we know experientially that the predominant discourses ofbusiness. from 'sustainable development. treated here is not the whole story. Discourses are embedded .

those with a vested interest in the old paradigm will endeavour to retain it.I07 DDT was previously thought to be a miracle compound. . is the use of hy which he meant motherhood terms so broad as to be devoid illg.' or paradigms.indeed. not the fundamentals. from different time horizons.106 The disjuncture between our knowledge/perception and the objects of our knowledge/perception. and citizens should always be attuned to rhetorical ploys. It is not always the truth that wins. and others much less so. Likewise. . Marshalling evidence is one way of supporting a discourse and undermining a rival one.104 and to discredit or otherwise marginalize an oppositional paradigm or discourse. according to the eminent economic historian Harold Innis. The notion of paradigms. unfortunately. satire. monetary and other pressures. at least in the short run. these real-world consequences. again irrespective of its validity or truth. to better fit the newer circumstances. The apparent antimony between economics and ecology. and hence was used indiscriminately in public and private spaces. view/discourse.' of meanthat this content. Nonetheless. it is continuously . One of the ploys iticians. when challenged by phenomena it cannot account for. especially in so-called democracies. As we will see below. Indeed. in part. Mockery. or persuasion. sometimes irrespective of its truth.spent to persuade people to think in ways advantageous to those dispensing the cash. The notion of dominant and marginal (orthodox and heterodox) world views or discourses.105 a view quite antithetical to an ecological understanding whose major tenet is the mutual interdependence of all things. or as journalist Walter Lippmann once expressed the same point. is eventually overthrown and replaced. change in the dominant paradigm ('monopoly of knowledge') can coincide with the replacement of one group of power holders by another.28 Culture of Ecology Sustainable Development vs Sustainable Ecosystem 29 Rachel Carson told a mythic story . At one time DDT was thought of as a miracle compound. their antithetical relationship results. between the world outside and the pictures in our heads. modifying it if possible. as well as being of monumental importance. the apparently antithetical relation between economies and ecology is highly ironic. as the title of her hook and the parable she told well illustrate. money is often . and between business and the environment. the courts. the former being very short term compared to the latter. 'sustainable development' in our day is one such binder hook hopes to expose as being virtually empty of environmental of rhetor'binders. eeo. but this is certainly not the only way. In semiotic terms. The debates that take place within the context of a discourse tend to argue the fine points. Anthropocentrism as an element of the dominant world. including humans. when DDT was identified as a lethal chemical with unintended consequences. An- thropocentrism is the position that humans are 'the measure of all things. in turn. and publicity are others. are profitable to those with wealth and power.one. even as it was imperceptibly poisoning unintended species. paradigm theory holds that within cultures (including scientific cultures) there is a generally accepted way of viewing things which. its use was banned. inhibit thought and discussion inimical to vested interests (whereas in so-called totalitarian regimes threats are more often physical) . Rachel Carson was herself skilled in rhetoric. impinge llpon and modify our t. Our thought systems guide our actions. and the rivalry between (among) them. One of the jobs of the public relations industry is to make or keep a discourse or way of thinking predominant. The interaction between {/Jays of thinking and ways of doing.. Developed first by the historian of science Thomas Kuhn. all too closely based on reality. The political economy of knowledge and discourse. The importance of rhetoric.houghts and perceptions. there is a dialectic of signifier and signified. Some 'ways of seeing. In view of their common prefix. Walter Lippmann noted many years ago. meaning household or habitation. and our actions have real-world consequences. In any event.

edu/lawweb/avalon/decade/decad047. 80-96.ment (World Bank). ed. Terry L. 'Bretton Woods Agreements.com/RNDX/ chapter003. 5 See Mark Sagoff. Leal. Bjorn Lomborg. 1987). . Anderson and Donald R. 2000).html.Julian Simon. 'sustainable development' is new.africa2000.Notes 1. Although the term. June 1997. 78.htm. free Market Environmentalism. the concept is not.. for example. http://www. 6 Darin Barney. and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Develop. Our Common Future (Oxford: Oxford University Press. Prometheus Wired: The Hope for Democracy in the Age of Netioork Technology (Vancouver: UBC Press. The Skeptical Environmentalist (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.8. (London: Eathscan. 2001). 71~' . as quoted in ibid. NJ: Princeton University Press. 8 World Commission on Environment and Development (Brundtland Commission). . 71-2. rev. 2001). 1997). 7 Michael Carley and Ian Christie. rev. Managing Sustainable Development.yale. Sustainable Development vs Sustainable Ecosystem 1 The Bretton Woods Conference established the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The History of Deoelopment: From Western Origins to GlobalFaith (London: Zed Books.19. 1998). Regarding forestry. The Ultimate Resource II (Princeton. 2 Quoted in Robert L. See Yale Law School.' http://WWW". 2003). vii. Roosevelt declared: 'Wile forest protection does not mean the . 'Do We Consume Too Much?' Atlantic Monthly. 2000). It echoes the thought of early American conservationists such as Theodore Roosevelt in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. edt (New York: St Martin's Press. Nadeau. 4 President Truman. Inaugural Address 1949. The Wealth of Nature: How Mainstream Economics Has Failed the Environment (New York: Columbia University Press. 3 Gilbert Rist.

Our Common Future. 28. 16 International Petroleum Industry Environmental Conservation Association. Our Common Future. Daly and Dalah EI Serafy (Washington. A7. at http://www. from contributing their full share to the welfare of the people.' Earth Summit 2002. Breaking New Ground (1905). 1994). " 'I-I Worster.gc. 2000). http:// www. 35 Lisa M. Benton andJohn Rennie Short (Oxford: Blackwell. 'The Case the World Has Reached Limits..org/ outreach/ ".gc.168 Notes to pages 4-7 Notes to pages 7-11 169 withdrawal afforest resources. Nature's Economy: A History of Ecological Ideas.html. on the contrary. quoted in Robert Goodland.sdinfo. Environmental Discourse and Practice: A Reader (Oxford: Blackwell. 106.'" 26 Lester R.. Planet and Profits: The Shell Report 2001. Introduction to Silent Spring.' Globe and Mail. ' International Association of Oil and Gas Producers (OGP). (Cambridge: University Press. http://www. http://W\'VW.' in Environmental Discourse and Practice: A Reader.h tml.wbcsd. 11 Jim MacNeill. 15 Ibid..html. http://www. Robert Cood-: land. 8. 23 Alanna Mitchell.6. 1. Technology.green peace . (Washington. Daly. xi. 1 7 Herman E. whether of wood. 2002.' in Population.' 2002. 9 Brundtland Commission.. In 2003. ed.org/ templates/Template WBCSD 1/layout. 111..75.' 2005. xv. 'Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol. . by Lisa M.' Excerpt from State "" Papers as Governor and President 1899~1909. ton: Beacon Press. CA: Sage. gives the assurance" of larger and more certain supplies. 9 30 Ibid. 12 Brundtland Commission.cfm? id=18. Sustainable Development in a Dynamic World: Transforming Institu. 2000). 29 Daly.cfm?id=13. The fundamental idea of forestry is the perpetuation of forests by use. " "" 22 Canada. eds. 1~ Alex MacGillivray. entitled Development and the Environment.warldbank.com/static/ royal-en/ downloads/ shell_report_ " 2001. Industry as a Partner for Sustainable Development. 24 Friends of the Earth. was on the New York "Times bestseller list for elgh ty-six weeks. and Irrigation. • 4~ This book.foe. 37 Gifford Pinchot." tions. 34 World Business Council for Sustainable Development.184. 13 Ibid. 14 Royal Dutch Shell. 3 (1989): 154-65 . DC: Island Press.gov.. 213. 2004.' Theodore Roosevelt.htm.uk/ resource / press_releases / shell_ record _profi ts _a t_ex. 2004). 21 Canada. 33 World Business Council for Sustainable Development and Greenpeace International.' http://www. Daly is referencing the bank's 1992 World D apment Report.h tml. 36 Ibid. 'The Case the World. 32 Greenpeace. Benton andJohn Rennie Short. Steady-State Economics. http:// archive . available. Benton andJohn Rennie Short. 196. Brown.' 1997. 'Shell Record Profits.5. 28 Goodland. 213.uneptie. wssd/ contributions/ sector_reports / sectors/ oil-gas/ oil-gas. Wqrld Development Report 2003. Friends of the Earth issued a press release entitled 'Shell " Record Profits at Expense of People and Planet.co. 'The Early Environmental Movement. 19 Ibid. Beyond Growth. 1992). 1991).sdinfo. 40 AI Gore. Nature's Economy. Nature's Economy. Growth and Quality of Life. 2001). 2nd ed. published in 1952. 122.' 2002. .environment. ~8 Worster. ed. . NY: Barron's.asp? type=p&¥ en uId= NjA&doOpen = 1&ClickMen U=Lef. Cambridge 39 Mark Neuzil and William Kovarik.foe. 'Conservation.org/ earthsummit/background. http:// econ. as quoted in Donald Worster.p.sheIl.ca/federal_sd_resources/ strategies_display _e . Mass Media & Environmental Conflict: Ameri~a 's Green Crusades. 18 World Bank. (Thousand Oaks. 77. 10 Ibid.co. 20 Ibid.. 4. 25 Friends of the Earth... 1996).ca/federal_sd_resources/ strategies_display _e. 'An Environment Minister" of Another Colour. Beyond Growth: The Economics of Sustainable Development (Bo. 31 Herman Daly. 'We Must Stop the War on the Planet. 'Departmental/Agency Strategies: Industry Canada.' 3-22.4.' http:// www. 184.za/sustdev /jowsco/paraEvents/CIimateChange.' Scientific American 261 . 'Departmental/Agency Strategies: Environment Canada. Herman E. 'Strategies for Sustainable Development. Rachel Carson's Silent Spring (Hauppauge. Has Reached Limits.. 257-65. no.org/wds/wdr /2003/. in Lisa M. 1996). 'Tomorrow's World.pdf. Forest protection is not an end in itself. 2nd ed.91.. People. but. 27 Ibid. - DC: Island Press. Eco-Economy: Building an Economy for the Earth (New York: Norton. Protection. water. http://www. 1. or grass. by Rachel Carson (New York: Houghton Mifflin" 1994). and Lifestyle.uk/ campaigns/ sustainable _ developmen t/ publicatio nsf tworld/ tw-in-l O. Reclamation. 266. it is a means to increase and sustain the resources of our country and the industries which depend upon them. 12 October. 'About the WBCSD.

57 Carson. www-. 121. 58 Emphasis added.' http:// " 65 Ibid. 50 Ibid. htm. Global Spin: The Corporate Assault on Environmentalism . 14 August 2002. 2002)..h trnl.. 73 United Nations Environment Programme. 83 Ibid. 2002).edu/ departmen ts/ fletcher / multi/' texts/ STOCKHOLM . .' n. Silent Spring. DEeL. 4. 84 Anne Platt McGinn..' adopted 16 June 1972. Stone Books. tufts. 'Species Extinction. Systems. Global Challenge. 3. 3. 59 Emphasis added. 62. 70 Lomborg. 64. http://www. http://www. Silent Spring (1962. \ (White River Junction. 1991). 1997). 75 World Conservation Union. State of the World 2002: SPecial World Summit Edition. Johannesburg Summit Sets an Action Agenda. : ":. http://www. Introduction to Carson.' n. 64. 2002). 'Sustainable Development Information www.orst. InJanuary 2003 the Danish Committees on Scientific Dishonesty declared that Lamborg's research falls 'within the concept of scientific dishonesty' and is 'clearly contrary to the standards of good scientific practice. . DC: Islan d Press. Christopher Flavin et aI. in Media and the Environment. 64 Canada.d. ~.cfm. 175. ' 62 Canada. 4. edt Craig L. 74 Bruce Coblentz.' 2004.asp.. 28. New York: Houghton 47 Ibid. 66 United Nations. 2000). 188.ca/main_e. 60 Brundtland Commission. Meadows. Ultimate Resource II. ed. 124.' Globe and Mail. 56 Protagoras is credited with declaring. VT: Chelsea Green..' in World Watch Institute. 48 Ibid. pdf +IV CN+ Extinction +media+ Brie f&hl=en.' Globe and Mail. The Human Impact on the Natural Environment. A14.org/moral/carson/ 46 Rachel Carson. 189. 'Reducing Our Toxic Burden. http://www. - 61 See note 8.108..johannesburgsummit. 'Rachel Carson's Story. 'With a Sense ofUrgeng. 168. State of the World 2002 (New York: Norton. 'Reducing ()ur Toxic Burden. Emphasis added. H6 Wallace Immen. 'Vulnerability to Extinction. .d.iucn. Mifflin. :{ 67 Donella H.. cal search?q=cache:bILpxtqATZUJ :www.' Matthew Nisbet. SkepticalEnvironmentalist. 'Do We Consume Too Much?' 69 Simon.h 63 Ibid.. Present and Future Perspectives (London: Earthscan. 71 Clive Ponting. 76 Gary Gardner.org/legislation/ abudget03. 297. main. Silent Spring.' 2001. A9. 1998).' 2003..170 Notes to pages 11-16 5th edt (Cam" Notes to pages 16-20 171 44 Andrew Goudie. Our Common Future. 'Stockholm Declaration on the Human Environment. . 'UN Delivers Stern Warning Over Water Use. 51 Ibid.unesco.sdinfo. 1991). 80 Ibid. 78 Sagoff. Dennil (Washington. http://www.. 81 Ibid. A Green History of the World: The Environment and the Collapse of Great Civilizations (New York: Penguin. University. 77 David Suzuki with Amanda McConnell. 72. . 'Changing the World through the Informatlonspherl. The complete text of the declaration may be found at http://www..' 78. We Are.org/iau/sd/ · stockholm. (New York: Norton. 49 Ibid. 'Man is the measure of all things. 1994). http://wwvv.1. 26. Johannesburg Summit 2002. 14 August 2002. reported in Steven Chase. National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy.ca/eng/overview/What-we-do_e. 2002). 45 Online Ethics Center for Engineering and Science at Case Western Reserve . GlobalEnvironment Outlook 3: Past. H7 McGinn...gc. 53 Online Ethics Center. 'The Challenge for Johannesburg: Creating a More Secure World. ed. 82 Seth Dunn and Christopher Flavin.' 3 September-2002. 187-8. txt. Christopher Flavin et al. State of the World 2002: SPecial World Summit Edition. 'Thick Blanket of Smog Considered Health Threat.. Global Opportunity 2002. United Nations. 'The Skeptical Environmentalist: A Case Study in the Manufacture of News.html. chpts.nrdc. 123.csicop.' . 68 Sagoff. LaMay and Everette E. ~ . 'Do We Consume Too Much?' 79 UN Environment Programme. The Sacred Balance (Vancouver: Grey. 72 Quoted in ibid. 55 Gore .org/html/whats_new /featu~e_story3~. and Anderson and Leal.org/ scienceandmedia/ environmentalist/ . http://<. 77. 'The Bush Administration's Slash & Burn Environmental Budget. . MA: MIT Press. 52 Sharon Beder. Global Environment Outlook 3. 104. 'Rachel Carson's Story. bridge.nrtee-trnee.' http://onlineethics.google.edu/ instruct/ fw251 / notebook/ extinction. Free Market Environmentalism.. '''Wb .org/wss d/ files/ media % 2520brief/ mb _species.html.' in World Watch Institute. H5 United Nations.' 54· Natural Resources Defense Council. xvi-xvii. 'Moving the Climate Change Agenda Forward.' in The World Watch Institute. 8 (New York: Norton.

Global Environment Outlook 3. panna. 'Passion and Ecological Economics: Towards a Richer Coevolution of Value Systems and Environmental Systems. Manufacturing Consent (New York: Pantheon Books.' n. Samet. Walter Lippmann.' in Valuing Nature?: Economics. 1937). As developed in this book.' Journal of the American Medical Association. .cdc. however. 2nd ed. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.. 2 Lisa M. Public Opinion (New York: Free Press. Ecological Economics (London: Earthscan. 96 Michelle L.Jr.49. 2376.' May 2004. 95 Ibid. ed. Norgaard. 1. The Wealth of Nations. 1960). dv. . PRJ A Social History of Spin (New York: Basic. 93 McGinn. A Systems View of Man. Herman. 99 'So far as is desirable' is an important qualification. David I. December 2004. 94 UN Environment Programme. Shattering the Myth of Pollution Progress in Canada: A National Report. Media Relations. 101 Norgaard writes that. 21.uk/tour/ part 1. about 365 Be. scientific. 98 Herman E. Environmental Policy and the Transcendence of Utilitarianism. 3 Donald Worster. For the Common Good: Redirecting the ' Economy toward Community. Paul A.172 Notes to pages 21-5 88 United States Department of Health and Human Services. Daly andJohn C. January 2003. edt Stephen Dovers. 'The Ozone Hole Tour: Part 1.cam. 1996).org/ campaigns/ docsTrespass/ chemicalTrespass2004. Zeger. and through their methodological individualism position individuals above society. ed.]onathan M. The History Behind the Ozone Hole. Book IVJ introduction.I Notes to pages 25-33 173 102 103 104 105 106 107 Unfortunately.. 1989). on the one hand. 'Ecological Economists prefer a people-in-nature world over a people-above-nature world. neoclassical models through their championing of commodity exchange and the price system inextricably position people above nature.John Foster (London: Routledge.edc. Second National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals. Cobb. LaViolette (Boulder. we can afford and are prepared to pay for more cleanliness. 15. http://www. week. Benton and John Rennie Short. New York: Modern Library. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.29.org/ cgi/reprint/292/19/ 2372. ed. Young (Cheltenham. 90 Pesticide Action Network North America. indicating that this position had a certain currency well before the Renaissance.gov/od/oc/media/transcripts/t030131. Edwin Cannon (1766. the Environment and a Sustainable Future (Boston: ~. 'The Language of Poetry. Aidan McDermott. 'Chemical Trespass: Pesticides in Our Bodies and Corporate Accountability. aesthetic. 292. and Michael D. Edmund Carpenter and Marshall McLuhan (Boston: Beacon Press. von Bertalanffy claimed.gov/ exposurereport/ . 'CDC Telebriefing Transcript. . 'Changing the World. and : Francesca Dominici. he then erases these fine sentiments by declaring. similarly. UK: Edward Elgar. 1981)..ch. Bell. As Simon explains. I 2. http://jama. Stern. http://www..212. 1922). See generally Stuart Ewen. Noam Chomsky and Edward S. Beacon Press. http:// www. no. Ludwig von Bertalanffy.' excerpt from Anatomy of Criticism (1957). 1999). we pre.' 97. it is not the models that distinguish us. 'Ozone and Short-term Mortality in 95 US Urban ' Communities. Economics and Ecology as Discourses 1 Northrop Frye. • . 1988). 397. 44 . 'And as our society becomes richer. Nature Economy: A History of Ecological Ideas.org/ pub/ natreport2004Jsp.' He adds. 'The problem of pollution for economists is like the problem of collecting I· city's garbage: do we want to pay for daily collection. 4 Geoffrey Hodgson. rational answer depends upon the cost of cleanup as well as our tastes for "" cleanliness.h tml. 1997). 97 Ibid.20. http://www. 89 CDC. 'Reducing OUf Toxic Burden.' See Richard B.' in New Dimensions in Ecological Economics: Integrated Approaches to People and Nature. 92 Centre for Atmospheric Science. CO: Westview Press. Ultimate Resource 11. • ~ . btml 91 Environmental Defence and the Canadian Environmental Law Association (Pollution Watch).d. or just once a week? With environmental pollution as with garbage.a1." fer a people-in-society world over an individuals-above-society world. 6 Adam Smith. Once the biological drives have been satisfied. 1987-2000. 'Since Ecological Economists use many of the models of neoclassical economics.' 31 January 2003. 19 (2004): 2372-9. 2003).atm.htm. it is the values and ideals of the symbol system that govern people's actions.' 74.. and it is in that sense that the symbolic universe of religious. or collection twice a . ed.ama-assn. Ethics and Environment. ~r ch. Scott L. The statement is ascribed to Protagoras.. Meadows. 5 The first use of the term has been attributed to Xenophon. and ethical values controls behaviour. reprinted in Explorations in Communication. s . 'Economics. Environmental Discourse and Practice (Oxford: Blackwell. http://www. pollutionwatch.' Simon. x. 1994). 17 (emphasis added). 2000). 100 Peter Soderbaum.ac.

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