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A New Name for Peace: International Environmentalism, Sustainable Development, and Democracy
     

A New Name for Peace: International Environmentalism, Sustainable Development, and Democracy

by Philip Shabecoff
 
Building on the foundation of his critically acclaimed A Fierce Green Fire, which provided a sweeping overview of the American environmental movement, this new work moves to a thoughtful survey of international environmentalism. Shabecoff, former chief environmental correspondent for The New York Times, provides a detailed history of the international environmentalism

Overview

Building on the foundation of his critically acclaimed A Fierce Green Fire, which provided a sweeping overview of the American environmental movement, this new work moves to a thoughtful survey of international environmentalism. Shabecoff, former chief environmental correspondent for The New York Times, provides a detailed history of the international environmentalism from the beginnings of a global environmental ethic to an inside view of diplomatic negotiations behind the 1992 Rio Earth Summit. 16 illustrations.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The new name for peace is Pax Gaia and it is predicated on the need for cooperation to preserve shared air, water and resources. In 1990, while finishing his 1993 book, A Fierce Green Fire: The American Environmental Movement, Shabecoff, a 32-year veteran of the New York Times, started working on the story of the international environmental movement. He decided to use the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio as a peg. After quickly rehearsing fairly basic environmental history (Darwin, Thoreau, Aldo Leopold, Rachel Carson) he moves on to Stockholm and the U.N. Conference that was Rio's 1972 predecessor. There were some changes in the years between Stockholm and Rio: sustainable development became accepted as a desirable goal; green ideas began to have a role in international relations; and environmentally concerned non-governmental organizations (NGOs) grew in numbers and power. But parochialism seemed to get in the way of real change, and that continued to be the case at Rio. The North resented the South's requests for money, the South resented the North's green imperialism. As Ambassador Razali Ismail of Malaysia said: "The Northern countries, having depleted their own resources, are now trying to globalize remaining resources, which means they are asking for a share of the resources that are in our back yard." Of the 178 nations at Rio, none was uglier than the U.S., which railroaded discussions on money, biodiversity, emissions and, most grotesquely, consumption (equated by President Bush with the "American way of life"). Shabecoff is a clear, informed and compassionate, though not radical, guide. The problem here is with Rio itself. It's hard to write a book in which the main event is a nonstarter. Stronger leadership at Rio, would have made for a better conference and a better book. (June)
Kirkus Reviews
Curing the earth's environmental woes will require nothing less than a whole new mindset, argues former New York Times environmental reporter Shabecoff (A Fierce Green Fire, 1992) in this free-ranging, informed book.

Shabecoff was asked by the secretary-general of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development to chronicle the doings of the Secretariat in preparation for, and during, the 1992 summit in Rio: unconditional access, working independently, unanswerable to the U.N., a fly on the wall. What he saw made him think long and hard on just how much economics has to do with the state of the environment—the economic causes of environmental decline and the environmental causes of economic dysfunction—and how the structural flaws in our value systems and political institutions lead inevitably to human misery and environmental degradation. Shabecoff argues that as long as poverty, hunger, disease, and ignorance run rampant, and until links are drawn between these conditions, the economic imperatives of our fossilized capitalism, and the willful abuse of the environment, it will be understandable that many humans won't give a fig about the ecological integrity of the planet. He insists on the necessity of global population control and an equitable distribution of wealth. Since the Rio summit, and more to the point since the Stockholm conference on the environment back in 1972, Shabecoff has found little to make him happy with the world: still practicing the same economics, employing the same technologies, politics as usual, factional strife, corruption. He is thrilled by a few thriving grassroots sustainable-development operations—marrying human betterment with ecological consciousness—but will that ever make a dent in the problems of a China or an India? Shabecoff isn't sanguine about the prospects.

A call for new values and laws, redirected politics and technology. Old advice, if sharply delivered, smartly framed. But the question still goes begging: How?

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780874516883
Publisher:
University Press of New England
Publication date:
04/01/1996
Pages:
295
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)

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