Yale Book Examines Impact of Globalization on Environment
Yale Dean James Gustave Speth and leading environmental thinkers examine the social and environmental dimensions of globalization and the evolution of global environmental governance in “Worlds Apart: Globalization and the Environment.”
Just released by Island Press, Worlds Apart (http://www.islandpress.org) addresses the economy’s globalization and the need to transition to sustainability. Essays include Jane Lubchenco’s discussion of the scientific indicators of global environmental change; Robert Kates’ examination of the need to “humanize” globalization; Vandana Shiva’s argument that small, local groups can achieve success in protecting the environment through self-rule; Maurice Strong on the Rio Earth Summit and the future course of environmentalism; Jose Goldemberg on energy; Jerry Mander on the inherent destructiveness of the global economic system; Stephan Schmidheiny on the forestry industry; and Daniel Esty and Maria Ivanova, who propose a global environmental governance structure.
Speth, dean of the School of Forestry & Environmental Sciences, edited the book and contributed the introduction and concluding essay. He writes in the preface, “…Our efforts to build systems that allow us to respond effectively to severe threats of environmental degradation are still in their infancy, but the challenges we have created for ourselves are far along in their maturation. If we do not act quickly, we likely will lose our opportunity to protect much of what we value in the natural world.”
“Since 1960, the size of the world economy has quadrupled and global environmental degradation has emerged as a daunting challenge. The global-scale environmental problems humans face today are more menacing than the predominantly domestic issues that spurred the environmental awakening of the 1960s. Those environmental threats include large-scale air pollution, water pollution, ozone-layer depletion, climate disruption, freshwater depletion, marine degradation, deforestation and loss of biological diversity, toxic chemicals and desertification. As Nobel economist Joseph Stiglitz has noted, ‘globalization today…is not working for much of the environment.’”
Speth also is a professor in the practice of environmental policy and sustainable development. He helped found the World Resources Institute and the Natural Resources Defense Council and has been deeply involved in a number of projects for the United Nations. He was awarded the Blue Planet Prize for 2002 in recognition of his lifelong contributions to environmental problem solving.