chapter  6
The Range of Environmental Concerns
WithAndrea J. Nightingale, Linus Karlsson, Laura Saxer, Ben Campbell
Pages 26

This chapter discusses the spatial and conceptual range of environmental concerns that relate to sustainability and sustainable development in a globalizing world. It provides the discussion into three themes: fragile earth, supporting ecosystems, and energy and technology. The chapter deals with the fragile earth—the planet as a whole—to explore how different perceptions of the natural world have produced and informed responses to environmental concerns. Within the fragile earth narrative, much discussion surrounds smaller scales as well, particularly around biodiversity and charismatic species. Economic globalization is said to further increase the fragility of the planet as it facilitates redistribution of environmental problems globally. In contrast to narratives of fragility and collapse, a parallel narrative presents the earth as a resilient system with abilities to withstand significant shocks and transformations. The historical record indicates, for example, that the extinction of one species does not necessarily lead to the collapse of a whole ecosystem, but rather a re-composition of it.