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  • The uncontrolled fishing that is allowed has reduced the amount of commercial species. Some species, up to one-tenth of their original population.
  • Already over half of the world's tropical forests have been lost.
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  • Earth is 2/3 water. but all the fresh water streams only represent one hundredth of one percent.
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  • Computers pose an environmental threat because much of the material that makes them up is hazardous. A typical monitor contains 4-5 pounds of lead.
  • One gallon of motor oil can contaminate up to 2 million gallons of water.
  • Agriculture absorbs 74% of all water taken by humans from rivers, lakes, aquifers and wetlands against 18% for industry and 8% for municipalities.

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THE RIVER GOD AND THE FOREST AT THE END OF THE WORLD

THE RIVER GOD AND THE FOREST AT THE END OF  THE WORLD

Symposium: Environmental Sustainability

A CASE OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: THE RIVER GOD AND THE FOREST AT THE END OF THE WORLD

Oliver A. Houck [FNa1]

Copyright (c) 2008 University of Tulsa; Oliver A. Houck

The Gordian Knot in sustainable development is determining what it means, which has prompted a flurry of scholarship on definitions and standards.  Meanwhile, on the ground, the notion of sustainable development is being hammered out in site-specific cases that, too, will shape its destiny.  These are hard cases.  The practice of unsustainable development is as long as human history and it will die fighting, if it dies at all.

The litmus test for this case-based approach is found in countries that are trying to raise their standards of living and are not swimming in options.  One need look no farther than the United States to appreciate the gravitational pull of short-term profit, no matter how catastrophic its consequences.  How much more difficult the choice, then, for the two countries of this study, Greece and Chile, with projects that, at first, seemed too good to be true.  They were following the models of Europe and the United States in water and forest development.  They had winners on the table.  Until the sustainability question arose.

A CASE OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT – Download the publication (PDF)