Summary of "Choosing a Sustainable Future"

Summary of

Choosing a Sustainable Future

Summary written by T.A. O'Lonergan, Conflict Research Consortium

Citation: Choosing a Sustainable Future, The report of the National Commission on the Environment, (Washington DC: Island Press, 1993), 169 pp.

Choosing a Sustainable Future is an examination of the goals and tools of sustainable development. Additionally, the Commission catalogues the priority problems facing those advocating sustainable development.

Choosing a Sustainable Future will be of interest to those who seek to broaden their understanding of sustainable development as a technique to mitigate further human caused climate change. This work is divided into three sections, the first of which addresses the goals of sustainable development wherein, the authors offer a definition of sustainable development. They also acknowledge the need: to reconcile old conflicts, and for a new synthesis in US policy.

The second section examines the tools for sustainable development. In a subsection focused upon technologies for such development the authors examine: characteristics of the new technologies, obstacles to the adoption of these superiour technologies, and possibilities for encouraging the development and deployment of the new technology. An examination of the economics for sustainable development includes discussion of: the new economics and measurement techniques for economic activities. An overview of market mechanisms is also included in this section. Focus on values of sustainability precedes explorations of public participation and civic responsibility. The second section concludes with consideration of the sort of governance necessary for sustainable development.

The final section is an evaluation of the priority problems which face the achievement of global sustainable development. This section examines four areas. First, an examination of the new global role of the US in: protecting the global environment, as leaders in the formation of international agreements, and integrating trade and environmental concerns is offered. The relationship between energy development and environmental concerns is explored. The monitoring and evaluation of pollution and the integration of pollution control functions is the third topic of this final section. The final consideration of the book is land use and the protection of biodiversity. The text concludes with a statement of what the authors envision for the future of sustainable development in the United States.

Choosing a Sustainable Future is a systematic examination of sustainable development with a focus on the global role of the United States.