Re: Sustainability (fwd)

Patricia Clay (pclay@WHSUN1.WH.WHOI.EDU)
Sat, 11 Jun 1994 14:55:55 -0400

thread to DEVEL-L, and got the response below.

Trish Clay

Forwarded message:
> From Sat Jun 11 07:52:53 1994
> Date: Sat, 11 Jun 1994 07:57:27 -0400 (EDT)
> From: Mike Gurstein <>
> Subject: Re: Sustainability
> To: Patricia Clay <>
> In-Reply-To: <>
> Message-Id: <>
> Mime-Version: 1.0
> Content-Type: TEXT/PLAIN; charset=US-ASCII
> Hi. I just got around to reading the "sustainability" thread. It is
> very very interesting. I've been waiting to see some sort of discussion like
> this for a long time.
> I guess from your later post you got flamed for sending it to the Devel-l
> newsgroup. From my experience following it the group on the list is mostly
> interested in nitty gritty stuff--200 ways to build better clay ovens.
> There is almost no discussion of what development is all about.
> The sustainability issue is very immediate in the UN especially the UNDP
> where much of the programme activity is looking to be re-vamped around those
> extremely fuzzy notions of "sustainable human development"--without I fear
> really giving much effort to operationalizing a useful definition.
> I don't follow the Anthro-L list so would appreciate you forwarding any
> follow-up discussion to me--I will probably look to re-circulate it among
> some people I know in the UNDP.
> Thanks
> Mike Gurstein
> (despite the address I'm with the UN Secretariat not the UNDP)

I sent him the following response:


I'll certainly pass along any followups on sustainability. With
regard to your comment on "fuzzy 'sustainable human development'", I entirely
agree. No one seems to know exactly what that is supposed to mean, yet we
all assume we're working toward some common end. I suppose people actually do
that all the time, and certainly politics in one sense is the art of forming
consensus on meanings. However, with scientists and managers and
politicians all using terms without being sure they are talking about the
same thing or even have the same criteria for judging whether or not
they've gotten there, it's no wonder we're having problems.

Trish Clay