An Environmentalist Call to Look Past Sustainable Development

by Eduardo Porter

On Tuesday, a group of scholars involved in the environmental debate, including Professor Joyashree Roy and Professor Barry Brook, Ruth DeFries of Columbia University, and Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus of the Breakthrough Institute in Oakland, Calif., are set to issue what they are calling the “Ecomodernist Manifesto.”

The “ecomodernists” propose economic development as an indispensable precondition to preserving the environment. Achieving it requires dropping the goal of “sustainable development,” supposedly in harmonious interaction with nature, and replacing it with a strategy to shrink humanity’s footprint by using nature more intensively.

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