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Think Global, Act Local: Scalar Challenges to Sustainable Development of Marine Environments

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Stratford, E (2004) Think Global, Act Local: Scalar Challenges to Sustainable Development of Marine Environments. In: Controversies in Environmental Sociology. Cambridge University Press, Melbourne, pp. 150-167. ISBN 0521601029

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Abstract

Among the social sciences, long-standing debates continue about the effects of economic globalisation. Part of that discussion is about the principles and practices by which to be modern and exhibit stewardship over economic, social and environmental well-being. Often 'sustainability' describes the principles of such care, and 'sustainable development' denotes the practices by which these are enacted. Debating the worth and consequences of economic globalisation involves asking to what extent the state is best placed to address the challenges of modern life. This question informs concerns about democracy and citizenship. Supra-statists advocate investing more power in structures and processes of global governance and government, suggesting more centralising and authoritarian strategies for 'the greater good'. Sub-statists are equally committed to devolving power to subnational systems of decision-making that privilege the local (Wapner 1995). Advocates of both positions attribute to existing state systems the vast majority of environmental woes, calling for the reorganisation of political life and the transference of power up or down spatial scales. Differences between supra-statists and sub-statists bring into sharp relief questions about the scale at which sustainable development is best deployed. The catch-cry think global, act local captures this uncertainty, suggesting that economic, social and environmental problems are transboundary, and the need to engage andempower via democratic and civic rights and responsibilities for sustainable development. Nowhere are such issues better etched than in relation to archetypal trans-boundary domains, the global commons, including the marine environment. Over 70 per cent of Earth is aquatic: oceans, coasts and islands are gravely at risk from processes of modernisation and economic globalisation, Despite the proliferation of mechanisms to advance sustainable

Item Type: Book Section
Keywords: scale, sustainable development, marine environments, international governance, environment,
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Page Range: pp. 150-167
Additional Information: work in this chapter is based on work undertaken as part of an ARC Discovery Grant 2003-2005.
Date Deposited: 19 Nov 2007 02:32
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2014 03:24
URI: http://eprints.utas.edu.au/id/eprint/2418
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