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Frameworks of Sustainable Development - Transience Divine
October 19th, 2011
11:49 pm

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Frameworks of Sustainable Development
What is a framework for? For something as ill-defined as Sustainable Development, there are limitless approaches, paradigms, and techniques. There are also, unbeknownst to me until recently, "frameworks". The frameworks aim to structure the understanding of the entire field, and while they speak kindly of each other, I suspect that they're in a kind tug-of-war over the heart of SD.

On the right is the Inclusive Wealth approach, driven by some overeager microeconomists. The goal is to monetize (or at least valuate) the whole of our world's benefits-- ecosystem services, biodiversity, future generations. The proponents say that it helps us understand and communicate the worth of things, so we can protect them. foundational reading

On the left is Elinor Ostrom's Social-Ecological Systems Framework, an explicit attempt to make all the categories of stuff-to-think-about for any situation where people hit the environment. It's all inspired by work on common pool resources, but it's slowly clawing its way out. foundational reading

I don't want to take the time now to critique, but I think there are strengths of each that the other lacks, and they're both missing out on a big swath of the world in the middle, too small for Inclusive Wealth and too big for SES.

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