17  Ethics, environmental change and human security

Roberto P. Guimarães

Introduction: sustainable development, from oxymoron to paradigm shift

Humankind has given the impression, especially in the past decade, that it is acquiring a clear understanding of the challenges that modern civilization will have to overcome in order to mitigate and adapt to environmental stress. Yet, the issues that seem to permeate the debate within and between nation-states elude the nature of the environmental crisis. The naiveté of many world leaders today recalls the example offered by Alvin Toffler (1974) about the simplemindedness of the elders of an Indian tribe that for centuries lived off the produce of a river at its doorstep. Its culture and economy are ...

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