Throughout the world, biophysical evidence continues to mount that human growth and activity patterns are slowly destroying the earth on which our very survival depends. This ecological deterioration is accompanied by similar social and economic declines, with potentially grave consequences for the continued existence of human societies. Yet it is not too late to take action. As Ann Dale compassionately argues, hope lies in sustainable development -- the fundamental human imperative of the 21st century. Sustainable development, in Dale's view, is the process of reconciling three imperatives: the ecological, the social, and the economic, and equitable access to these three imperatives is fundamental to the global realization of sustainable development. All are necessary and sufficient, but the implementation of sustainable development will not be realized without strong leadership by governments at all levels because they have a key role to play in diffusing its concepts and practices in the next decade before critical thresholds are reached. What is ultimately needed is a new framework for governance based on human responsibility and a recognition of the interconnectedness of human and natural systems. At the Edge: Sustainable Development in the 21st Century is a rich and evocative call to action at a time when new ideas are urgently needed. Destined to become mandatory reading for policy analysts and decision makers in the public, private, and volunteer sectors, it will also be equally interesting and useful to scholars, teachers, students, and others interested in creating sustainable societies.
Ann Dale is a Professor in the Science, Technology, and Environment Division at Royal Roads University. She is also a founding Senior Associate of the Sustainable Development Research Institute at the University of British Columbia, Chair of the Canadian Consortium for Sustainable Development Research, and Executive Coordinator, Office of Public Policy and Research, of the Canadian Biodiversity Institute.
Preface 1 The Context 2 Paradigms, Myths, and Metaphors 3 Sustainable Development Imperatives 4 Ecological Imperatives 5 Social Imperatives 6 Economic Imperatives 7 Solitudes, Silos, and Stovepipes 8 Reconciliation 9 Dialogue and Governance 10 Conclusions 11 Reflections Glossary Bibliography