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Sustainable development involves connecting technological inventiveness with social justice and ecological stewardship Assignment

Sustainable development is the act of growth and expansion “in which the rate of exploitation of resources does not exceed that of the renewal of those resources, or degrade the stock” (from Dictionary of Geography, A.N. Clark).

Additionally, in Britain, according to the Town and Country Planning Act 1971, development is the carrying out of building, engineering, mining or other operations in, on, over or under land or the making of any material change of use in any building or of the land.

It is internationally recognised that issues concerning the environment effect us all, for example industrial pollution in Britain produces acid rain that falls in Norway. Therefore development is a key environmental and political issue, and environmental issues are becoming increasingly more important.

Duty to improve LEDC’s and lesson hardships borne in those areas.

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The effects and legacy of development must be predominantly positive

SEEP factors; social, economic, environmental and political.

Empowerment and disempowerment. Seemingly simple appearance on a map empowers.

Ethical, even religious motives behind these actions: giving to the poor and less fortunate and showing hospitality to neighbours (and, in a way, strangers).

Western, secular society decreasingly religious!

Is replacing traditional methods good or bad? Positive or negative? More useful than harmful? Does it equate to a loss of culture?

There are examples of successful and unsuccessful development projects, victims of inappropriate development

Remember the ‘poor’ can and will help themselves they are not just sitting suffering. Their methods will evolve; perhaps MEDC’s should be considering educating and advising rather than managing and creating ‘projects’.

Aggregate efforts.

Development is not a different practice when developed (MEDC) and less developed (LEDC) countries improve their infrastructure – although differing degrees of technology may be used.

“Technological determinism” in Marxism is the theory that the predominant type of technology of a society determines its other features, particularly its social organisation. This in turn seems to connect to social justice, “the fair distribution of benefits and burdens among the members of a society.” We can see that social justice comes into question due to the cost of implementing new technology. For example, manual techniques instead of mechanised.

“Technology is the systematic application of scientific knowledge to industrial processes or to the problems arising from the interaction of people with their environment.” (from Dictionary of Geography, A.N. Clark).

Meetings and congresses regarding ecological stewardship and working together towards agreeing standards thereof, particularly with social justice in mind, are one area of recent major global environmental concerns.

Formerly called the United Nations Conference on EnvEnvironmentironment and Development (UNCED), the Rio Summit was held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in June of 1992. At the Summit the political issues raised were about what the developed world would agree to do, in order to alleviate global warming, and assure that the developing world could “sustainably develop”. Put simply, MEDCs were to give financial aid to the Less Economically Developed Countries (LEDC) to make them more energy efficient. The Rio Treaty is a framework treaty, as it sets the groundwork for future protocols that define the actual details. The Kyoto conference produced the Kyoto Protocols which defined environmental protocols.

However, the USA has since rejected the agreement and as a More Economically Developed Country (MEDC) should be seen to do and spend a more proportionate amount on its involvement.

There was a parallel non-governmental organisation (NGO) conference involving representatives of such groups as Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth (FOE). The Rio Summit effectively empowered the environmental movements and many countries have established national councils on sustainable development.

The Rio Summit brought the resolution for economic progress in harmony with nature. It is no longer possible to talk about development without considering its impact on the environment or on sustainable development. Many countries have enacted legislation to provide for environmental impact assessment.

The Second UN Conference on Human Settlements held in Istanbul, Turkey, in June of 1996 discussed the sustainable management of cities. One point raised was that economic prosperity in East Asia has not been linked with improved environmental quality of the areas.

In his inaugural lecture, Professor David Simon of Royal Holloway University of London Geography Department raised the question of whether this development community was in fact little more than an industry. The industry of development

Using technology from MEDC’s so is it just an industry? There do seem to be vested interests.

Is it all about widening influence and dependants? Does development induce dependency?

Energy efficiency plays a major role in sustainable development. Largely the main problem is lifestyles,

Carbon dioxide emissions

The theory of development versus the practice of development

Helpful to consider scales and perspectives at both global and local

Trade-off between widening horizons, contain costs, whilst promoting sustainability. Harnessing technology

Are we perhaps aiding their development and educating them in our own methods to, as Professor Simon puts it, “make them like us”?

Based on contemporary conventional wisdom

Space, place, territoriality and scale.

Avoid the excesses of blueprint-style, large-scale, modernisation-as-development. Best tackled at national or local levels rather than global? A case-in-point would be the US rejection of Kyoto, for right or wrong. This perhaps puts the importance of the ‘global sphere’ in question, if America can decide to turn its back on the international community.

The Jubilee 2000 campaign for debt relief in LEDC’s was significantly high profile, championed (or at least supported) by Radiohead group-member Thom Yorke.

In 1992, protestors against the World Trade Organisation (WTO) raised the importance of sustainable development, actually managing to raise its political status on the NGO’s (non-governmental organisation) agenda, and consequently (in part) on government agenda’s.

Change is not costless. Social costs (including human displacement e.g. Indian dam), environmental, and economic costs are being more readily recognised and efforts made to be more inclusive in appraisal.

Concerning specific social groups. Who effects choices and decisions? Participatory roles (especially part of poor) so that the ideas and views of the ‘poor’ are voiced. India experiences.

Resources and benefits shared?

Should it be the role of the political powers that tackle the problems of the poor? Not specifically sustainable development or indeed development in general that has to bear the burden or responsibility? But now sustainability has become an international buzzword and carries global importance efforts to be more inclusive when appraising development issues mean all SEEP factors must be covered.

Harnessing technology is central to many contestations of development. Advances in both curative and preventative methods of sustaining resources increasingly include the usage of technology. This is a side of development that does need to be analysed critically. It is all too easy for developing countries to look to MEDC’s and those that can afford to implement expensive advanced technologies and believe investment in such will aid their own development. But

Who bears costs and benefits? Range of impacts

Remedial use of ICT (Information Computer Technology) in administration has much development potential.

Market penetration of technologies.

Techno-optimists forecast large-scale implementation and use of technologies, not least computers and Internet access.

On the other end of the scale however, techno-pessimism portends unsustainability through ICT. The diffusion of technology is undoubtedly wide-scale and far-reaching. But we must consider the culture of technological change. For example, the rapid progression and development of computer processors and their obscelescance is certainly potentially problematic, not to mention costly.

I shall use the example of email. Potentially problematic emailing behaviour is bullet pointed below;

* The speed of reply

* Conventions like acknowledging receipt

* The extent to which questions are answered and information is supplied

* Observance of formal cultural conventions of greetings and respect

Technology is not socially neutral and this fact must be remembered and considered. Consider, for example, the ability gap (typically) between teenagers and pensioners on ICT applications.

The style of writing in an email as opposed to a letter and how the recipient perceives it.

However, there are many positive aspects:

* Unreliable postal services

* Saving money on postal services and transport-related costs

* Facilitates access world-wide

* Enables effective networking, (as a quick and theoretical example, a Nigerian farmer benefiting from asking advice via email to an US NGO)

* Assists in tackling educational and healthcare deficiencies through distance learning

* operates irrespective of isolation

Internet service providers

Technological use is concentrated in North America, Europe and Australia.

To promote development is to empower

Usage and abusage. The use and abuse of ICT, specifically, by government:

* Virtual democracy

* Snooping

* Surveillance

Reduces staff through automation despite availability of relatively cheap labour.

Research and development (R&D) of technology performed primarily in MEDC’s, LEDC’s may benefit from accessing this as, apart from it’s potential usefulness, it would be expensive to build the infrastructure needed to manufacture technology themselves.

Geographies of accessibility being rewritten.

Must ask whether appropriate or inappropriate. Generation of competitiveness could result in forcing smaller companies out of business. Low-tech but appropriate technology built by unskilled labour. Quick benefit with efficient resource use.

Comparative perspectives. Perhaps it seems strange that social justice is being nurtured through capitalism.

View of nature and how it is to be utilised for human consumption.

Varying accessibility to resources does in effect distribute power. That is why some cities grew and developed because of their location.

without obvious and immediate remuneration when negative impacts occur

are we in some cases looking for the answer or the solution? Ethical way – leave final choice to locals. Accept problem may not be dealt with or solved in the short term.

Honduras / India / Ken Saro-Wiwa

Sustainable development is not to discover the ‘sustainable path’ as D.W. Bromley puts it in “Sustaining Development”. finding one applicable method and sticking to it may be short-sighted and unwise, should arrange economy in “propitious” directions.

It is not only government and non-government organisations with the sufficient knowledge and authority to manage sustainable development projects. Individuals taking care of things they have a vested personal and long-term interest in have proven successful. With little or no bureaucratic boundaries or obstacles between the task and the rewards. This is a form of mutuality, these people rely on the area as a resource for their livelihood.

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