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INTD 200 (186)

Environment and Development

5 Pages

International Development
Course Code
INTD 200
Warren Allmand

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FRIDAY, OCTOBER 12, 2012: Environment and Development  Until the 1970’s, development focused on increasing productivity (GDP growth) with little concern for the environment.  Outcomes of this included:  increased intensification of agriculture (cash crops, deforestation), more pesticides, more mechanical agriculture, resource extracting (like mining, logging), depletion of fisheries, overfishing, distraction of tropical reefs (due to dynamite or cyanide fishing), aquaculture development which destroyed coastal forests (destroying forests to make room for things like shrimp cultivation), over logging, soil erosion, issues in irrigation, pollution of water, pollution caused by industrialization, transnational corporations set up industry in areas with weaker environmental /social laws (governments welcome this because they want foreign direct investment) o ex. on TNCs: Shell in Nigeria—pollution of their lands, pipelines burst, activists are killed by the government when they want environmental standards (Ken Saro-Wiwa).  The profits from these industrial projects didn’t actually reach the people of third world nations, and the benefits don’t outweigh the environmental impacts  ex, the hydroelectric dams – are portrayed as environmentally friendly (better than coal) and as a great way to provide electricity. It does have positive impacts—like irrigation. o But dams displace indigenous people, flood biodiversity, change the flow of rivers, organic (mercury) buildup that hurts the fish and people (this has been a problem in Northern Canada), increase in deforestation. o There was protesting against the negative effects of these dams, so the world bank stopped supporting them—collaborations between indigenous people, NGOs, etc. There was so much protest the World Bank stopped building dams for a while.  Still there has been a resurgence of dam building (beginning in early 2000s), because they are a useful way to get money into developing countries by selling the electricity it creates, and that money can be reinvested into conservation, infrastructure (ex. big dam in Laos). o There are trade offs: between large scale economic development and environmental impact, etc. Changing Perspectives on The Environmental and the Development:  increased environmental awareness started in the 1970s  1972 – growing debates over limits of growth. The Club of Rome published an argument that argued in favor of a global effort to curtail population growth, production and consumption  Thomas Mathis – thought that population growth was exponential and food production wasn’t; therefore only a certain amount of people can be supported on a certain size of land  This created ethics issues in curtailing population growth: o Is it fair to constrain developing countries population growth when the first world didn’t have to worry about that as they grew? o Displacement is related to social control and coercion often is marginalized groups (human rights issue) o Carrying capacity—we want a society greater than the bare minimum  1983 – new ideas about sustainable development, greater emphasis on poverty as well as the environment  UN General Assembly establishment of the world commission on environment and development -an international body. o They came out with the Brundtland Report in 1987, which heralded the idea of sustainable development as development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the needs of future generations. It also acknowledges that poverty contributes to degradation because the poor are forced to use all of their resources to survive. o The question that emerged was “what do we sustain”—it is widely interpreted.  1992 - United Nations Conference on environment and development (“the earth summit”), which came out with Article 21. It looked at people as the center of the cause of degradation, also developed on the link between poverty and environmental degradation. Conservation for poor is not a priority because they are trying to meet basic needs. There is a downward cycle (spiral)—when people are poor they exploit resources, and then these resources get exploited even more just to make ends meet. The connection between women and environmental degradation—it was gendered because more degradation means women have to go further to get food or water, or their food doesn’t grow as well. Critiques of Theories against Population Growth  This doomsday still will never materialize  Economic growth could cause less problems in the long run: as people become richer, the environmental will become a priority, they will invest in sustainability  In Thailand when their middle class grew, they wanted forests protected and logging was banned. Companies just moved and exported the environmental problems  Property Rights
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