Move to a sustainable world: IUCN

September 10th, 2008 - 11:30 am ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 10 (IANS) The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has called on the environmental movement to play a decisive role in planning and inspiring a transition to a world that sustains abundant and diverse life. The call is outlined in a free book called “Transition to Sustainability: Towards a Humane and Diverse World”, which the IUCN launched Monday and has produced in collaboration with partners, including the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED).

The world is facing unprecedented challenges from climate change, continuing loss of biodiversity, and the end of the era of cheap oil, say the authors William M. Adams of Cambridge University and Sally J. Jeanrenaud of IUCN.

“All these issues affect nature and people with cascading effects on food, water and energy security. They are coming to a head together, and at a faster pace than most policy makers could have predicted,” they write.

“No one is immune from the influences of these trends, although they hit the poorest and most vulnerable groups the hardest. The future isn’t what it used to be, and there are no road maps for the path ahead. A transition to sustainability is urgent, but is it possible?”

The book outlines what is needed to make that transition. It can be downloaded from

“We must help ‘decarbonise’ the world economy,” says Adams. “Society needs to reduce, redirect and redistribute global consumption, and achieve dramatic reductions in carbon use. We must change the way we think about growth and prosperity, to achieve more with less.”

“We need a new era of conservation that creates a social movement for change and relates to the nature of everyday living - one that embraces sustainable lifestyles and livelihoods as well as endangered species and spaces,” says Julia Marton-Lefèvre, director general of IUCN.

“Justice and poverty reduction have to be central to any effective transition to sustainability,” says Steve Bass from IIED. “The root causes of environmental problems are often identical to those of social problems - poor governance - and the environmental movement must commit itself to a path of justice and global equity.”

“The environmental movement must make a step-change in the way it addresses the sustainability challenges facing the world at the beginning of the twenty-first century. We must support on-going efforts to mainstream environmental issues into the economy,” says Valli Moosa, president of IUCN.

“The environmental movement must go beyond counting the problems and ‘doom and gloom’ messages to foster the vision that gives us hope, encourages creativity, and inspires us to change,” says co-author Jeanrenaud.

The issues the book raises will be discussed next month during the annual IUCN Congress, when 8,000 of the world’s leaders in sustainable development will gather in Barcelona.

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