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Sustainability: Elusive or Illusory? Wise Environmental Intervention

By Lindsay Falvey

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Book Id: WPLBN0002170168
Format Type: PDF eBook:
File Size: 1.25 MB
Reproduction Date: 2004

Title: Sustainability: Elusive or Illusory? Wise Environmental Intervention  
Author: Lindsay Falvey
Language: English
Subject: Non Fiction, Agriculture, sustainabiliity
Collections: Science, Most Popular Books in Bratislava, Econometrics, Critical Thinking, Logic, Environmental Economics, Authors Community, Technology, Agriculture, Economics, Management, Religion, Sociology, Literature, Finance, Economy, Most Popular Books in China, Law, Favorites in India, Education, History
Publication Date:
Publisher: Institute for International Development Fund, Adelaide
Member Page: Lindsay Falvey


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Falvey, B. L. (2004). Sustainability: Elusive or Illusory? Wise Environmental Intervention. Retrieved from

Sustainability of the environment implies both wishful thinking and ignorance – ignorance of the reality that natural systems are complex and unfathomable by scientists, and that repetition of research outputs depend on repetition of initial and all subsequent conditions. Scientific insights provide knowledge, but it is partial in most cases, and when applied is often subject to conflicting objectives, which in turn produce conditions that affect outcomes - thus our best efforts to predict natural outcomes are usually flawed. We further display our ignorance in seeking social sustainability while we behave inequitably towards groups other than ‘us’ and invoke spurious reasoning to justify further research. The effect of ignorant self-interest is played out daily in our largest intervention in the natural environment – agriculture, which is why agriculture provides perhaps the best model for consideration of the ideal of sustainability. From ancient Asian wisdom through modern global forces and technology to the central environmental issue of food production, we have identified some necessary conditions for sustainability. Yet, our approaches to care of the natural environment seem to be based on erroneous assumptions. We seem to assume the need to compete for resources even if they are not limiting, the necessity and virtuousness of maintaining our current lifestyles, and the inevitability of our Western technological approach as a precursor to a global utopia of sustainable environmental management. While each of these assumptions may be easily challenged, the possibility that they may contain some truth is sufficient reason to consider the conclusions of the penultimate Chapter 9 in the light of everyday practices. In that way, we may posit a conclusion that sustainability is an elusive goal understood by an insightful few while to the majority it remains an illusion - unless our science becomes more insightful.

Table of Contents
Table of Contents Author and Publisher Information iii Acknowledgements ix Author’s Foreword xi Chapter 1 Stepping Back to Survey the Landscape 1 Chapter 2 The Unacknowledged Debt to Asia: A Different Agricultural and Environmental Reality 13 Agriculture’s Legacy 14 Agricultural Origins 15 Contact with the West 23 Religion, Nature and Agriculture 26 ‘Indianised’ Agriculture 31 Secular Approaches 34 Common Heritage 38 Chapter 3 Global Development Forces on Agriculture and the Environment 41 Agricultural Environments 43 Global Development Forces 51 Sustainable Development and Traditions 56 Sustainability: A Local or Foreign Influence? 59 Practical Alternatives 61 24 Sustainability: Elusive or Illusion? Wise Environmental Intervention Policy Implications 63 Chapter 4 Technology and Food Needs: GMOs for GFN: Genetically Modified Organisms and Global Food Needs 69 Global Food Needs 72 GMO Technologies 74 Revisiting the Green Revolution 76 Issues and Risks 79 Making a Decision 81 Chapter 5 Re-conceiving Food Security & Environmental Protection 87 Feeling Secure 89 The IFPRI World Food Situation 91 Conventional Considerations 96 Wider Aspects of Food Security and the Environment 101 Agriculturally Induced Environmental Degradation 102 Human and Ecosystem Rights in Agricultural Context 106 Policy for Subsistence and Commercial Agriculture 109 Self-Sufficient Agriculture Secures Food 110 Food Before Commodity 111 Environmental Protection 112 Re-Conceiving Food Security and the Environment 113 Chapter 6 From False views to Sustainability 119 From Resource Limits to Abundance 120 Decline, Progress or Reform? 122 The Community or the Individual 124 Adjusting the Development Worldview 126 The Path Well Travelled 129 25 Sustainability: Elusive or Illusion? Wise Environmental Intervention Agritopia A ‘Rights’ Worldview 136 139 Chapter 7 Sustainability is the Answer! – What was the Question? 149 Sustained Research 151 Backyard Agriculture 154 What was the Question? 155 Possible Answers 156 Sustained Responsibility 158 Chapter 8 The Spirit of Agriculture: Applied Agricultural Ethics in Thailand 161 Conservative Canons 165 Thai Eco-Buddhism 169 Global Associations 172 Thai Attitudes and Education 173 Anti-Buddhist Global Economic Models 174 No Middle Path 177 T(h)ai Environmental Traditions? 179 Practical Approaches 182 Buddhist Agriculture? 185 Self Sufficiency 189 Chapter 9 Nature and Sustainable Agriculture: A Consideration of Technology and Ancient Wisdom 193 Our Current Knowledge 194 What is to be Sustained? 198 Insights into the Natural World 203 Sustainable Agriculture in the Natural Order 210 26 Sustainability: Elusive or Illusion? Wise Environmental Intervention Is Sustainable Agriculture Likely? 212 Chapter 10 An Optimistic Afterword 217 From Aphorism to Realisation 217 From Ignorance to Awareness 220 From Despair to Understanding 221 From Understanding to Wisdom 224 Wise Environmentalism Elusion References 226 232 233


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