After 25 Years of Trying, Why Aren’t We Environmentally Sustainable Yet?

Source: Desmog UK


By Michael Howes, associate professor in environmental studies, Griffith University.

In 1992, more than 170 countries came together at the Rio Earth Summit and agreed to pursue sustainable developmentprotect biological diversityprevent dangerous interference with climate systems, and conserve forests. But, 25 years later, the natural systems on which humanity relies continue to be degraded.

So why hasn’t the world become much more environmentally sustainable despite decades of international agreements, national policies, state laws and local plans? This is the question that a team of researchers and I have tried to answer in a recent article.

We reviewed 94 studies of how sustainability policies had failed across every continent. These included case studies from both developed and developing countries, and ranged in scope from international to local initiatives.