The Paradox of Transition. Environmental Vs. Economic Development: The Eternal Dilemma.

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 11:15
Location: Hörsaal 50 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Silvia DONEDDU, University of Cagliari, Italy
Even if crises attack the roots of the ideal of modernization and the same basic principles of development that justify the exploitation and domination of nature for the benefit of unlimited growth and consumption of goods (Alemany, Sevilla Guzmán, 2007), we assist to a relevant discrepancy in the understanding of what sustainable “transition” means and has been proposed in the different levels of governance. 

The Island of Sardinia (Italy) is facing old and new challenges linked to a deep economic, ecological and social crisis. These challenges today represent a clash between two models. 

On one side the idea of an economical approach based on the “extractive” model persists and it is attempting to dismantle the protection of natural resources at the expense of a non-rational use of the environment (actions taken forward at private and public level). This economic model has left Sardinia in a deindustrialization context and presented relevant environmental externalities. In fact, according to the last publication of SENTIERI research (project Funded by the Italian Ministry of Health on National Territories and settlements exposed to risk from pollution,) Sardinia is the most polluted region in Italy with 445.000 hectares of contaminated soil still to be reclaimed.

On the other side, we detect a number of committees and collective actions that involve citizens,  local administrators, experts and different associations, who are trying to redirect public policies and struggle to defend environment from impacting projects (e.g. renewable energy plants in agricultural land, green chemistry, fracking, privatization of common land…). 

The aim of this paper is to introduce the context of a network of social regional movements and local actors that are facing the challenge of a sustainable transition in a context of low participatory political processes. Can transition have a shared meaning and represent a common objective?