Queries on Environment & Development
A Sustainable Economy
- Are we working to create a sustainable economy that addresses the needs of present and future generations, as well as the needs of the earth?
Measures of Wealth
- Do we seek a measure of the wealth of a nation, or of a community, that reflects the value of intangible elements of the quality of life -- such as a sense of community, family, tradition and the spiritual life of people?
- Do we seek a measure of the wealth of a nation, or of a community, that reflects the value of tangible elements of the quality of environment -- such as the quality of the air, earth and water, biological diversity, and ecological integrity -- as well as less tangible qualities -- such as beauty, solitude, and people's spiritual relationship with nature?
- Do we take steps to assure that the values guiding development include these values, and that development does not undermine these intangible and vital parts of our lives?
Environmental Implications of Development
- Do we take steps to nurture development that does not disrupt local ecosystems, deplete natural resources, or adversely impact the environment? Do we take steps to mitigate or reverse threatening environmental trends?
- Are we actively seeking to create an economic structure that supports the maximum use of energy efficient technologies and practices, and which rely upon relatively renewable, non-polluting energy resources?
- Are we actively supporting lower resource input, locally adapted, sustainable methods of agriculture over agricultural practices that depend upon high levels of petrochemicals, genetically uniform monocrops, and extensive transportation? Do we appreciate the wisdom inherent in indigenous agricultural practices?
- Are we actively supporting the development of cost effective and energy efficient methods of transportation for humans and for goods?
- Do we seek to advance policies and activities which assure that waste and pollution caused by modern industrial development is minimized, and that the costs of pollution to society and the environment accrue to those who cause it?
- Are we mindful of the need to create or maintain adequate job opportunities requiring diverse skills, as well as to avoid or resolve any conflicts that may arise between the creation of jobs and quality of the environment?
- Do we actively support the development of policy and legislation that provide support and guidelines for sustainable development?
Responsibility within Industrialized Nations
- Do we in industrialized countries seek ways to set an example by avoiding unnecessary consumption, reducing the volume of disposable waste, and responsibly treating or disposing of waste?
- Are we applying the same strict standards of sustainability to existing industrial, manufacturing and agricultural practices that we seek to apply to new development initiatives?
- Are we responsible for our own actions? Do we refuse to work in unsafe conditions, or in ways that contribute to the erosion of environmental quality? Do we work to establish laws that protect people's right to refuse to work in those conditions?
- Do we invest our resources in a manner that contributes to sustainable development?
Cooperation, Peace and Equity for and from Development
- Are we actively encouraging development practices which lead toward cooperation and peace within and between nations, rather than divisiveness and competition for limited natural and financial resources?
- Are we actively supporting a shift in the allocation of human and natural resources from military expenditures and others that contribute to destruction and despoliation to those which contribute to the healing of people and the earth?
- Do we actively foster open and honest dialogue over the relationships between varied pressures to develop, and the social and environmental consequences of development
- Are we encouraging changes in economic structures in order to redress the implicit values which favor large scale corporations and projects over smaller scale locally owned and controlled enterprises?
- Are we taking effective steps to see that development helps to reduce the gap between rich and poor, both between and within countries?
Respect for Indigenous Cultures and Peoples
- Do we recognize and affirm the wisdom of indigenous cultures, as well as affirm the dignity of all peoples in those cultures as development efforts in those cultures are planned and undertaken?
- While respecting the integrity of indigenous cultures, are we mindful of how some traditional cultures can be oppressive to women or to minority cultures? Do we provide support to women or minorities in indigenous cultures who challenge ways their culture oppresses them?
- Are we sensitive to the ways that development is integrated with the structure and character of local and regional cultures?
- Do we actively support the equitable participation of the various segments of the community in all phases of development, and support ways that they can continue to have a vital role in making decisions that affect the quality of their life and of their environment?
- Do we see that women, the poor, all age groups, ethnic and cultural groups, and the handicapped and disadvantaged are properly integrated into the decision making process?
- Do we take on the responsibility for participating in planning processes for sustainable development at the community, regional, national, and/or global level?
Population and Health
- Do we support those responses to population growth which encourage control, do not involve the external imposition of practices on nations and segments of their population, and respect the rights of individuals and families to maintain control over fundamental life decisions?
- Do we recognize the ways that the development of a healthy and just economy can lend support to individual decisions to limit family size?
- Are we mindful of the impact of development on the needs for, and the provision of, health care?
- Do we work to see that planning for sustainable development equitably addresses the needs of the differing segments of a society, particularly women, children, the elderly and the infirm?
Education, Information and Communication
- Do we actively support educational programs for peoples of varying ages and backgrounds which seek to enhance their understanding of and appreciation for the need to foster a healthy balance between quality of life and quality of environment, and to foster sustainable development?
- Are we encouraging the development of information networks that make it easier and less expensive for all people to have access to information that will enable them to make sound decisions concerning appropriate ways of developing resources?
- Do we develop and participate in effective communication systems that encourage and support communication among peoples within a society or culture, as well as between cultures?