chapter  16
18 Pages

Visions and Values

Utopias have been out of fashion for a long time now, and the nearest thing to a sustainability Utopia (Ernest Callenbach’s Ecotopia) is now 30 years old. That leaves sustainable development advocates struggling to explain what life would really be like if we did, indeed, get on top of today’s sustainability challenges. Is it really possible to retain the best of the dynamism and efficiency of capitalism while simultaneously learning to abide by the laws of nature? This chapter seeks to address that conundrum by looking at the kind of values upon which the attaining of a sustainable society depends (interdependence, empathy, equity, personal responsibility and intergenerational justice), and explores the degree to which it is possible to be optimistic about such values ‘winning out’ in a world such as ours. It also examines how it is that the religious right in the US has been able to ‘see off ’ environmentalism and every other progressive cause by making such strong play on the American dream and core American values.