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close this bookDiversity, Globalization, and the Ways of Nature (IDRC, 1995, 234 p.)
close this folder14. Strategies for the future
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentDecentralize decision-making
View the documentPeople value their environment
View the documentProblems and responsibilities are global

Problems and responsibilities are global

Current problems are not simply the result of inadequate policies in developing countries. Industrialized nations have solved or are beginning to address a number of problems at local and national levels. However, indirectly or directly, these countries are still the main contributors to the problems. They are at the centre of the standardizing culture that gradually and surely is reducing the cultural wealth that has been built up for generations at the local level. They also produce most of the carbon dioxide endangering (perhaps irreversibly) human survival; they emit most of the sulphur oxides acidifying the rain; they produce most of the chlorofluorocarbons affecting the ozone layer; and they often control the major environmentally destructive processes in developing countries. They own the factories and the technology; they consume the industrial and farming products, the wood and paper pulp, the leather, and the minerals. Last, but not least, they control the banks.

In examining the trends and defining the strategies for the future, however, it is probably immaterial to spend time searching for who is responsible for what. It will take positive thinking, large doses of imagination, and a comprehensive global effort to find our way out of the mess in which we are currently submerged. Fortunately, “we are not blind...we don’t have to be driven hither and thither by the blind workings of the market, or of history, or of progress” (Shumacher 1973).

Humankind has the option of determining its own path beyond abstract notions of unavoidable trends for which responsibility cannot be demonstrated or denied. Much is to be done. Sustainable environmental management starts with the conviction that diversities should be defended, that something can be done, and that the social and political will exists to do it. This will be the main task in the years to come.