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When people first became aware of ecological problems in the 1960s, such issues were seen as discrete and unconnected concerns that each had perfectly identifiable causes (normally related to industry). For this reason, it was thought that such issues could be approached with corrective ad hoc policies, preferably with end-of-pipe technologies. During the 1980s, however, global ocean contamination, ozone layer and forest depletion, and the lack of sanitary drinking water increased the plausible suspicion that we were creating still other problems, such as planetary climate change and the chemical contamination. At that point, environmental issues became seen as systemic and it was held that the economic system, because of its incompatibility with ecological balance, needed to be transformed. Our Common Future, the report of the World Commission on Environment and Development, presented in 1987 and better known as the Brundtland Report (BR), is a landmark, not only because it represents the first institutional backing of the concept of sustainable development (SD), but because of its endorsement by the United Nations. However, despite that a large number of international organizations (the European Union [EU], the OECD, the World Bank) accept formally the Brundtland’s concept, they defends others concepts of SD (triple sustainability or dematerialization of growth) that run counter former one. The fraudulent and abusive use of the SD concept by those who have employed orthodox interpretations of the terms is the result of a defensive reaction of the dominant economic system that is conscious of the transformational nature of the acceptance to limits on growth.
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- Sustainable Development in the Brundtland Report and Its Distortion
- Springer Netherlands
- Chapter 5
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