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Hence it will be necessary to turn to methods produce more fish, fuelwood, and forest products under controlled conditions. Substitutes for fuelwood can be promoted. We live from this forest they want to destroy. And we want to take this opportunity of having so many people here gathered with the same objective in mind to defend our habitat, the conservation of forest, of tropical forest. In my area, we have about native products that we extract from the forest, besides all the other activities we have.


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So I think this must be preserved. Because it is not only with cattle, not only with pasture lands, and not only with highways that we will be able to develop the Amazon. When they think of falling trees, they always think building roads and the roads bring destruction under a mask called progress. Let us put this progress where the lands have already been deforested, where it is idle of labour and where we have to find people work, and where we have to make the city grow.

But let us leave those who want to live in the forest, who want to keep it as it is. We have nothing written. I don't have anything that was created in somebody's office. There is no philosophy. It is just the real truth, because this is what our life is. Some of these problems can be met by increased use of renewable energy sources. But the exploitation of renewable sources such as fuelwood and hydropower also entails ecological problems.

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Hence sustainability requires a clear focus on conserving and efficiently using energy. Industrialized countries must recognize that their energy consumption is polluting the biosphere and eating into scarce fossil fuel supplies. Recent improvements in energy efficiency and a shift towards less energy-intensive sectors have helped limit consumption. But the process must be accelerated to reduce per capita consumption and encourage a shift to non-polluting sources and technologies. The simple duplication in the developing world of industrial countries' energy use patterns is neither feasible nor desirable.

Changing these patterns for the better will call for new policies in urban development, industry location, housing design, transportation systems, and the choice of agricultural and industrial technologies. Indigenous people are the base of what I guess could be called the environmental security system.

We are the gate-keeper of success or failure to husband our resources. For many of us, however, the last few centuries have meant a major loss of control over our lands and waters. We are still the first to know about changes in the environment, but we are now the last to be asked or consulted. We are the first to detect when the forests are being threatened. And we are the last to be asked about the future of our forests. We are the first to feel the pollution of our waters, as the Ojibway peoples of my own homelands in northern Ontario will attest.

Public Lecture_Disaster Risk Reduction and Sustainable Development_April 2019

And, of course, we are the last to be consulted about how, when, and where developments should take place in order to assure continuing harmony for the seventh generation. The most we have learned to expect is to be compensated, always too late and too little. We are seldom asked to help avoid the need for compensation by lending our expertise and our consent to development.

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The prevention and reduction of air and water pollution will remain a critical task of resource conservation. Air and water quality come under pressure from such activities as fertilizer and pesticide use. Each of these is expected to increase the pollution lead on the biosphere substantially, particularly in developing countries. Cleaning up after the event is an expensive solution. Hence all countries need to anticipate and prevent these pollution problems, by, for instance, enforcing emission standard that reflect likely long-term effects. The fulfilment of all these tasks will require the reorientation of technology he key link between humans and nature.

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First, he capacity for technological innovation needs to be greatly enhanced in developing countries so that hey can respond more effectively to the challenges of sustainable development. Second, the orientation of technology development must be changed to pay greater attention to environmental factors.

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The technologies of industrial countries are not always suited or easily adaptable to the socio-economic and environmental conditions of developing countries. To compound the problem, the bulk of world research and development addresses few of the pressing issues facing these countries, such as arid-land agriculture or the control of tropical diseases. Not enough is being done to adapt recent innovations in materials technology, energy conservation, information technology, and biotechnology to the needs of developing countries. These gaps must be covered by enhancing research. In all countries, the processes of generating alternative technologies.


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  • Most technological research by commercial organizations is devoted to product and process innovations that have market value. Technologies are needed that produce 'social goods', such as improved air quality or increased product life. The role of public policy is to ensure, through incentives and disincentives, that commercial organizations find it worthwhile to take fuller account of environmental factors in the technologies they develop. See Chapter 8. Publicly funded research institutions also need such direction, and the objectives of sustainable development and environmental protection must be built into the mandates of the institutions that work in environmentally sensitive areas.

    The development of environmentally appropriate technologies is closely related to questions of risk management. Such systems as nuclear reactors, electric and other utility distribution networks, communication systems, and mass transportation are vulnerable if stressed beyond a certain point. The fact that they are connected through networks tends to make them immune to small disturbances but more vulnerable to unexpected disruptions that exceed a finite threshold.

    Applying sophisticated analyses of vulnerabilities and past failures to technology design, manufacturing standards, and contingency plans in operations can make the consequences of a failure or accident much less catastrophic. The best vulnerability and risk analysis has not been applied consistently across technologies or systems. A major purpose of large system design should be to make the consequences of failure or sabotage less serious. There is thus a need for new techniques and technologies — as well as legal and institutional mechanisms for safety design and control, accident prevention, contingency planning, damage mitigation, and provision of relief.

    Environmental risks arising from technological and developmental decisions impinge on individuals and areas that have little or no influence on those decisions. Their interests must be taken into account. Similar arrangements are required for major interventions in natural systems. In addition, liability for damages from unintended consequences must be strengthened and enforced. The common theme throughout this strategy for sustainable development is the need to integrate economic and ecological considerations in decision making.

    They are, after all, integrated in the workings of the real world. This will require a change in attitudes and objectives and in institutional arrangements at every level. Economic and ecological concerns are not necessarily in opposition. For example, policies that conserve the quality of agricultural land and protect forests improve the long-term prospects for agricultural development.

    An increase in the efficiency of energy and material use serves ecological purposes but can also reduce costs. But the compatibility of environmental and economic objectives is often lost in the pursuit of individual or group gains, with little regard for the impacts on others, with a blind faith in science's ability to find solutions, and in ignorance of the distant consequences of today's decisions.

    Institutional rigidities add to this myopia. One important rigidity is the tendency to deal with one industry or sector in isolation, failing to recognize the importance of intersectoral linkages. Modern agriculture uses substantial amounts of commercially produced energy and large quantities of industrial products. At the same time, the more traditional connection — in which agriculture is a source of raw materials for industry —— is being diluted by the widening use of synthetics.

    The energy-industry connection is also changing, with a strong tendency towards a decline in the energy intensity of industrial production in industrial countries. In the Third World, however, the gradual shift of the industrial base towards the basic material-producing sectors is leading to an increase in the energy intensity of industrial production. These intersectoral connections create patterns of economic and ecological interdependence rarely reflected in the ways in which policy is made.

    Sectoral organizations tend to pursue sectoral objectives and to treat their impacts on other sectors as side effects. Many of the environment and development problems that confront us have their roots in the sectoral fragmentation of responsibility. Sustainable development requires that such fragmentation be overcome. The issues that have been brought forward here, I think, are wide-ranging and maybe you know, maybe you don't know, the answers to all those issues. But at least by healing all those questions.

    You don't know the answers nor the solutions, but you could suggest the way to solve many problems and this is by suggesting either to governments, or the UN, or international agencies, to solve any problem the best way: that is to include those with direct interests in it. The beneficiaries, as well as the victims of any development issue should be included, should be heard. I think that is the one thing. If that is taken care of. Sustainability requires the enforcement of wider responsibilities for the impacts of decisions.

    This requires changes in the legal and institutional frameworks that will enforce the common interest. Some necessary changes in the legal framework start from the proposition that an environment adequate for health and well-being is essential for all human beings including future generations. Such a view places the right to use public and private resources in its proper social context and provides a goal for more specific measures. The law alone cannot enforce the common principally needs community knowledge and support, which entails greater public participation in the decisions that affect the environment.

    This is best secured by decentralizing the management of resources upon which local communities defend, and giving these communities an effective say over the use of these resources. It will also require promoting citizens initiatives, empowering people's organizations, and strengthening local democracy.

    Brundtland Report/Chapter 2. Towards Sustainable Development

    Some large-scale projects, however, require participation on a different basis. Public inquiries and hearings on the development and environment impacts can help greatly in drawing attention to different points of view. Free access to relevant information and the availability of alternative sources of technical expertise can provide an informed basis for public discussion. When the environmental impact of a proposed project is particularly high, public scrutiny of the case should be mandatory and. It has not been too difficult to push the environment lobby of the North and the development lobby of the South together.