Environmental Sustainability with Development: What Prospects for a Research Agenda?
This chapter discusses a pragmatic objective, that of suggesting ways in which a meaningful research agenda in development studies, contributing toward sustainability, can be delineated. It focuses on research at the scale of nations, regions and places, and especially at the lower end of the range. Paradoxically, the elitist and unrealistic ‘steady-statists’ provide a sharper cutting edge through the maze, though one used better by a different school of environmental economists than by themselves. There is an insufficiently examined midway path between the rigid natural determinism of the ‘limits to growth’ and steady-state schools and ‘technological comucopianism’. The long-lived replacement of shifting cultivation by crop/fallow rotation was successful human artifice of which the most important condition was not technology, but reorganisation of land tenure and labour. The progressive substitution of one resource for another, progressive improvements through artifice and technology in the ways in which both renewable and non-renewable resources are managed improvements in efficiency in the use of energy.