Biodiversity and sustainable development : research exercise 31.499 in partial fulfilment of an M.Phil (Development Studies)

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Massey University
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Economic development has had an increasingly detrimental effect on the environment. The current level of environmental impact by humans has been unprecedented for a single species in the history of the earth. In recent years there has been an increased realisation of the detrimental impact of our actions. Along with this realisation there has been an improvement in the understanding of the fundamental importance of the environment to the human society. The aim of this thesis is to examine the possibility of sustainable development, a concept which has arisen out of this increased awareness of the dynamic interconnectedness of the environment and development. A more environmentally destmctive development path will reduce the quality of the environment not just for today but in the future. This thesis will endeavoux to show that, if we are to achieve sustainability, we need to change our attitude towards the environment. To do this I will look at two broad perspectives of what is meant by sustainable development: technocentric and ecocentric (O'Riordan 1981: 1 ). Their primary difference is in their attitude towards the environment. This thesis will highlight the technocentric perspective as it has become the dominant development throughout the globe. It will primarily focus on critiquing technocentrism, demonstrating how this approach has resulted in widespread environmental degredation. In looking at the technocentric and ecocentric perspectives I shall attempt to show the significant role that knowledge systems can have in shaping the attitudes of a society. [From Introduction]
Sustainable development, Wildlife conservation, Biodiversity, Natural resources management