Sustaining Life on Earth: Environmental and Human Health through Global Governance

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As global warming, famine, and environmental catastrophes have become daily news items, achieving a sustainable environment to maintain the future of life on Earth has become a global concern. Sustaining Life on Earth is an important contribution toward assessing such problems and making the Earth hospitable to life for generations to come. With an interdisciplinary team of international scholars, this masterfully edited collection approaches the problems facing sustainability from a perspective of global governance. To date, powerful economic forces have misguided decision-making processes in favor of short-term gain rather than long-term sustainability. As global awareness has increased and individual citizens have begun to alter their lifestyles to be more environmentally conscious, it is also necessary for governing bodies to take these concerns seriously. Sustaining Life on Earth makes the case that, for all the recent neo-liberal emphasis on the autonomous individual, humanity has collective problems, and it is only through collective action that solutions will be found. It shows that the global community is beginning to acknowledge the interdependencies among population, affluence, and technology. In the book, analysts from many disciplines advance solutions that could shift us away from growth-bound status quo development approaches toward more ecologically responsible and socially equitable ways of living. They suggest ways to move forward that would ensure health and well-being for all in both present and future generations. While success necessarily entails many changes at all levels, the book highlights one soft-law instrument that reflects many of the values and principles necessary to set humanity onto a sustainable path: The Earth Charter of 2002. Sustaining Life on Earth is a ground-breaking contribution to the burgeoning study of sustainability. Designed for a general non-specialist readership in the first year of university or beyond, this book will be of intere

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Editorial Reviews

Herman E. Daly
I plan to use this textbook in my seminar next spring, and look forward to studying it more deeply along with my students. It is a fine collection of subjects and authors.
John M Last
This collection of state-of-the-art summaries of what ails planet earth offers prescriptions for the effective treatment, care and maintenance of the home we all share. Scientists and scholars from many disciplines and countries have collaborated to compile this timely statement of what we as individuals and as societies and nations must do about the precariously unstable state of the world’s life-support systems. In short, we need a system of global governance to deal effectively with environmental and ecosystem deterioration. The whole work is set out clearly and concisely in language accessible to non-specialists, and is supported by rich reference lists to guide concerned readers towards sources of further information. This book should be on the high priority list of required reading for everyone who is concerned about the world and its future.
Maude Barlow
For those who still believe that we can have our current lifestyles based on the current model of unlimited growth, Sustaining Life on Earth is a revelation; for those who already know that we have hit the earth's limits, this book is a guide. Many thanks for this lovely but challenging collection.
Bill McKibben
This book is a powerful attempt to prove that human intelligence, and the institutions it has created, possess power enough to blunt the force of our ecological destructiveness. It provides a light for the path, one that is badly needed.
European Journal Of Oncology, Vol. 12, No. 4 (2007) - Michael Gochfeld
This book needs to be read widely, discussed widely, and the Earth Charter needs to become as familiar today, as the Four Freedoms annunciated by Franklin D. Roosevelt was more than sixty years ago.
Roberto Bertollini
Like Cassandra of Troy, according to Homer's Iliad, experts in environmental matters—including biology, ecology, economics, law, public health and social sciences—have come together as 'doomsayers, destined to tell the truth, but never to be believed.' This book brings together experts from relevant disciplines and, under the shrewd pen of its editors, the text is distilled to read as if from a single author. The idea of bridging, and thereby reconnecting the role of humans and their institutions to the global ecology, is shown to be critical if solutions are to be found that will help us to preserve ecosystems and thus more ensure a sustainable future for human populations. Assembling such varied information from multiple authors is the very kind of contribution needed for policy-makers and students alike to help save us from ourselves. The contribution of this book to sustaining life on Earth is unique. Reading it is an enlightening experience and I strongly advise it to anybody.
Tracy Nichols
The Earth Charter is a declaration of values and principles for building a just, sustainable, and peaceful global society.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780739117293
  • Publisher: The Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group Inc
  • Publication date: 11/5/2007
  • Pages: 482
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 1.19 (d)

Meet the Author

Colin L. Soskolne is professor of epidemiology at the University of Alberta. Laura Westra is professor emeritus of philosophy at University of Windsor. She also holds a doctorate of law from York University. Louis J. Kotzé is associate professor of environmental law at North-West University in South Africa. Brendan Mackey is professor of plant ecology at the Australian National University. William E. Rees is professor of population ecology at the University of British Columbia. Richard Westra is assistant professor of political science at Pukyong National University in South Korea.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Foreword Chapter 2 Preface Chapter 3 Teacher's Guide Chapter 4 Introduction: Global and Local Contexts as Evidence for Concern Part 5 Tying Governance to Ecology, Economy, and Human Well-Being Chapter 6 Institutions for Global Governance Chapter 7 A Covenant of Covenants: A Federal Vision of Global Governance for the Twenty-first Century Chapter 8 Market Society and Ecological Integrity: Theory and Practice Chapter 9 A Full Spectrum Integrity Index of Nations Part 10 Globalization, Human Rights, and the Human Condition Chapter 11 Linkages among Globalization, Human Rights, and Health Chapter 12 Toward Sustainability with Justice: Are Human Nature and History on Side? Chapter 13 Protecting Society from Itself: Reconnecting Ecology and Economy Chapter 14 Strong Sustainability and Environmental Policy: Justification and Implementation Part 15 Governance for Ecological Integrity, Sustainable Ecosystem Function, and Public Health Chapter 16 Toward Sustainable Environmental Governance in South Africa: Cooperative Environmental Governance and Integrated Environmental Management as Possible Solutions to Fragmentation Chapter 17 Collective Decision-Making Bridging Public Health, Sustainability Governance, and Environmental Management Chapter 18 Evolution of the Ecological Integrity Debate Chapter 19 A Sense of Possibility: What Does Governance for Health and Ecological Sustainability Look Like? Part 20 Covenants and Respect for All Life, Public-Good, and Traditional Knowledge Chapter 21 The Earth Charter, Ethics, and Global Governance Chapter 22 The Copenhagen Consensus: A Global Public-Good Perspective Comparing the Earth Charter with Other Recent Declarations Chapter 23 Intergenerational Sustainability and Traditional Knowledge in Africa: The Natural Resource Management Perspective Part 24 Focus (a): Governance amid Ideological Influences in a Globalizing World Chapter 25 The Ominous Rise of Ideological Think Tanks in Environmental Policy-Making Chapter 26 Cutting CO2 Emissions in the Atmosphere: A Realistic Goal or a Mere Utopian Ideal? Chapter 27 Ecological Governance at Work: A Community Challenge to Genetically Modified Organisms Part 28 Focus (b): Rights to Food and Water Chapter 29 The Future: World Population and Food Security Chapter 30 Refining International Water Law Chapter 31 Water as a Human Right: The Sri Lankan Experience Chapter 32 Cooperation in Promoting Ecological Integrity and Socioeconomic Justice in Marine Fisheries: European Community-West African Relations Part 33 Focus (c): Social Forces at Play in Environmental and Human Catastrophes Chapter 34 The Institutionalized Use of Force in Economic Development: With Special References to the World Bank Chapter 35 Globalization and the Degradation of Rural Livelihoods: A Comparative Study of Mexico and Vietnam under Trade Liberalization Chapter 36 A Toolkit for Ecoepidemiological Enquiry under Global Ecological Change Part 37 Focus (d): The Rights of Children: Health and the Culture Environment Chapter 38 The Culture Environment: Implications for Public Health, Human Rights, and Ecological Sustainability Chapter 39 The Child's Rights to Health and the Role of the World Health Organization Part 40 Conclusions: Challenging Our Individual and Collective Thinking about Sustainability

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