Sustainability Indicators, Ethics and Legitimate Freedoms

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If we change our focus from human development to sustainable development, and wish to answer the question of whether development is sustainable or not, it is necessary to have indicators which draw a line between sustainability and unsustainability. Consequently, this chapter argues that the evaluative space needs to be broadened from capabilities to include the environment and make the approach and in relation to this we need to examine the consequences of our doings and beings and our correlative responsibilities. This chapter concentrates on resources and environmental indicators (Adjusted Net Savings, the Ecological Footprint and Planetary Boundaries). It argues that while science pays an extremely important role in establishing such indicators we also need to justify them ethically. Thus it draws on Scanlonian contractualism and argues for a conceptualization of sustainable development as one of increasing legitimate freedoms.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSustainability, Capabilities and Human Security
EditorsAndrew Crabtree
Number of pages24
Place of PublicationCham
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Publication date2020
ISBN (Print)9783030389048
ISBN (Electronic)9783030389055
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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