Sustaining Earth: Bringing Law, Society and Sustainable Development Together


The world is facing an unprecedented crisis of sustaining life and the earth. There is the need to have a balance between sustainability and governance, and between traditional patterns of ‘conflict’ and contemporary need for ‘cooperation’ in
international affairs. It is graver than what is generally understood. Contemporary ‘urgency’ to cope with the issues of Green House Gas (GHG) emission, rising temperature levels, melting of glaciers, regenerating biodiversity, deforestation, etc. has started negatively impacting the environment. Is the situation ‘given’, considering the size of the global population and consumption patterns? Have the governments failed to deliver in a timely and apt manner to the man-made environmental devastation? Are we too late in ‘introspecting’ the pitfalls of excluding the ‘sustainability’ principle from our model of development? Does the present condition indicate a deliberate lapse on our part? The notion of sustainable development is commonplace today. The modern idea of development involves sustainability considerations. But why have we started giving importance to sustainability only now? Major responses to this observation lead us to look into the intriguing relationship between sustainable development, society and law.

This paper focuses on three major aspects of analysis and reflection i.e., Understanding Sustainability and Governance, Politics of Sustainable Development, and Role of Law and Tradition in Sustainable Development. The paper reveals that the contemporary crisis of climate change and the issue of sustainable development are the outcomes of two major aspects of international or global interactions, i.e., prevalence and dominance of a post-war capitalist outlook that side-lined the issue of ‘sustainability’ from the mainstream developmental discourse, and delay in realisation of the importance of reaching a ‘consensus’ in dealing with the common threats emerging out of climate change. This paper provides certain normative reflections on the issue of (un)sustainability in modern times and the way forward.

Key Words: Sustainable Development, Climate Change, Politics, UN, Nature, Gandhi.

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