Nations, Cities and Organizations
The Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei series on Economics, the Environment and Sustainable Development
Edited by Maddy Janssens, Myriam Bechtoldt, Arie de Ruijter, Dino Pinello, Giovanni Prarolo and Vanja M.K. Stenius
Selma van Londen and Arie de Ruijter INTRODUCTION A great change in the stewardship of the Earth and the life on it is required, if vast human misery is to be avoided and our global home on this planet is not to be irretrievably mutilated [...]. Acting on this recognition is not altruism, but enlightened self-interest. Whether industrialized or not, we all have one lifeboat. No nation can escape injury when global biological systems are damaged. No nations can escape from conflicts over increasingly scarce resources. In addition, environmental and economic instabilities will cause mass migrations with incalculable consequences for developed and underdeveloped nations alike. [...] A new ethic is required – a new responsibility for caring for ourselves and for the Earth. This urgent warning was signed and sent to government leaders of all nations by a large number of the world’s senior scientists from 70 countries, among them 102 of the living Nobel laureates, in the context of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in November 1992. This appeal is an expression of a growing concern for sustainability.1 In the 1980s and 1990s, this concern resulted in several high-level conferences2 and documents.3 In these conferences, declarations and documents, we see an acknowledgement of the fact that in developing sustainability the global community is facing three interrelated problems that demand acute analysis and solutions. First, there is the issue of the environment: how can societies develop or reproduce themselves without irreparable damage to the...
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