Sustainability and Social Equity in Rough Economic Times

Monday, July 14, 2014: 4:30 PM
Room: F202
Oral Presentation
Joo GUERRA , Institute of Social Sciences, University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal
The interest for sustainability issues and the redefinition of social priorities in an ecological scarcity’s context (Schnaiberg, 1980) have covered, for better or for worse, their own way in today's societies, and the urgency of change is gaining more and more advocates. Despite this, the holistic view of sustainability – while promoting human welfare and preservation of the natural environment – is becoming a programmatic and cross dominant ideology that has shaped the generality of environmental policies, but its effective implementation has basically been done in an evasive (Adger and Jordan, 2009), superficial (Redclift, 2005), and inconsequential (Ll, 1991 [2005]; Carter, 2001) manner.

In those rough economic times that we are experiencing in Europe – and despite the inevitable end of the "age of irresponsibility" that assumed infinite resources (Jackson, 2009) – those features tend to worsening and, nevertheless, do not release an engaged, empowered and collective movement able to request and support just, equitable and pro-sustaining measures. Hence, based on the testimony of representatives of Portuguese civil society organizations (focus group, on-line survey, and document analysis) we will try to define i) motivations, ii) interests, and ii) profiles of civil society organizations, taking into account that, despite the rhetoric of holistic sustainability, environmental groups tend to ignore social problems and overestimate ecological ones, while the remaining groups tend to take a reverse position.