PGE Distinguished Lecture: “Is Development Sustainable? Not Even Close”
May 9, 2008
A talk by Robert Repetto.
Is development sustainable? Certainly not the way the world is now going about it. Major trends are heading straight toward ecological and human disasters and if they are not changed and changed soon, development efforts will fail for billions of people, comprising mainly the world?s most vulnerable populations. Climate change, water scarcities, pollution, population growth, and growing pressures on natural resources that are already extremely stressed reinforce one another in raising these vulnerabilities.
Is disaster inevitable? Of course not. But a change in direction is essential and bringing about that change will require significant, even drastic, changes in economic, political, and social patterns. The institutional, market, and political failures that have brought the world to this point will have to be addressed and reformed. If development is to be made sustainable, business as usual is not an option.
Robert Repetto is Professor in the Practice of Economics and Sustainable Development at Yale University's School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. This event was the keynote address for "Is Development Sustainable?", a conference in honor of Ted Steck's retirement.