Title
Beyond the environmentalist's paradox and the debate on weak versus strong sustainabilityBeyond the environmentalist's paradox and the debate on weak versus strong sustainability
Author
Faculty/Department
Faculty of Sciences. Bioscience Engineering
Research group
Environmental Ecology & Microbiology (ENdEMIC)
Publication type
article
Publication
Washington, D.C.,
Subject
Economics
Source (journal)
Bioscience / American Institute of Biological Sciences. - Washington, D.C.
Volume/pages
62(2012):3, p. 251-259
ISSN
0006-3568
ISI
000301561900008
Carrier
E
Target language
English (eng)
Full text (Publishers DOI)
Abstract
Environmentalists generally argue that ecological damage will (eventually) lead to declines in human well-being. From this perspective, the recent introduction of the "environmentalist's paradox" in BioScience by Raudsepp-Hearne and colleagues (2010) is particularly significant. In essence, Raudsepp-Hearne and colleagues (2010) claimed that although ecosystem services have been degraded, human well-being-paradoxically-has increased. In this article, we show that this debate is in fact rooted in a broader discussion on weak sustainability versus strong sustainability (the substitutability of human-made capital for natural capital). We warn against the reductive nature of focusing only on a stock flow framework in which a natural-capital stock produces ecosystem services. Concretely, we recommend a holistic approach in which the complexity, irreversibility, uncertainty, and ethical predicaments intrinsic to the natural environment and its connections to humanity are also considered.
E-info
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