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Theories for Sustainable Futures

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Type: Journal Article
Author: Holling, C.S.
Journal: Conservation Ecology
Volume: 4
Date: 2000
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/3042
Sector: General & Multiple Resources
Subject(s): sustainability
global commons
resource management
ecological economics
Abstract: From p. 1: "Sustainable development and management of global and regional resources is not an ecological problem, nor an economic one, nor a social one. It is a combination of all three. And yet actions to integrate all three typically have short-changed one or more. "Sustainable designs driven by conservation interests often ignore the needs for an adaptive form of economic development that emphasizes human economic enterprise and institutional flexibility. Those driven by economic and industrial interests often act as if the uncertainty of nature can be replaced with human engineering and management controls, or ignored all together. Those driven by social interests can act as if community development and empowerment of individuals encounter no limits to the imagination and initiative of local groups. Each view captures its prescriptions in code words: regulation and control; get the prices right; empowerment; stakeholder ownership. These are not wrong, just too partial. Investments fail because they are partial. As a consequence, the policies of governments, private foundations, international agencies, and NGOs flop from emphasizing one kind of myopic solution to another. Over the last three decades, such policies have switched from large investment schemes, to narrow conservation ones to (at present) equally narrow community development ones."

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