the cartonera movement is one in which social, environmental and economic factors are
intermeshed, it renders problematic the concept of sustainability as three
The ‘three pillars’ – suggesting solid, separate columns supporting
a larger structure – were promoted at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992.
The logic of the model can be seen in the structure of Agenda 21, the
action plan that resulted from the summit (UnitedNations 1992), which
is divided into two sections: the first, ‘Social and Economic Dimensions’, deals with issues such as reducing
The sense of an ending in Jeanette Winterson’s The Stone
. In analysing Winterson’s novel, I suggest that
the result – the novel’s case for its own unsustainability – is borne out
by its dénouement.
A large part of the problem with defining sustainability is that it is often
put to uses for which it was not intended, namely, uses beyond questions
of economic utility and corporate accountability. Its short name of ‘sustainability’ means that one often forgets that its introduction into the
mainstream of public thinking was as ‘sustainable development’. When
the UnitedNations World Commission on the
population numbers would be seen as a
triumph. Human sustainability is pitched at the level of the whole planet,
while for most animals sustainability has shrunk to a very small area of
historical habitat range. Sustainability for humans may mean limiting
economic growth, while for most animals it means finding some way to
stave off complete elimination.
The language of sustainability, beginning in its early adoption in the
UnitedNations Brundtland Report, Our Common Future (1987), loudly
tied anthropocentricism to developmentalism: ‘Humanity has the ability
Histories (Princeton: Princeton University
Press, 1994); but also Nationalist Thought and the Colonial World – A Derivative
Discourse? (London: Zed Press, 1986).
22 Amilcar Cabral, ‘Second address before the UnitedNations’, Return to the Source
(New York and London: Monthly Review Press, 1973), p. 19.
23 Cabral, ‘Connecting the struggles: an informal talk with Black Americans’, Return
to the Source, pp. 85–6. For an alternative reading of this passage, see Laura
Chrisman, ‘Nationalism and postcolonial studies’, in Neil Lazarus (ed.), The
Cambridge Companion to
unshackling of the colonised
world by way of nationalism has tended to date to preclude a corresponding
full emancipation for most women, including those of the middle class. In the
iconographies of nation-states there have conventionally been few positive
roles on oﬀer to women that are not stereotypes and/or connected in some way
to women’s biological capacity for mothering. As regards women’s day-to-day
reality the situation is even bleaker. Notwithstanding the achievement of family
and work rights by some women, as for example in Cuba, notwithstanding
Sustainable Development Solutions Network Leadership Council 2013. ‘An Action
Agenda for Sustainable Development: Report for the UN Secretary-General’,
6 June. http://unsdsn.org/resources/publications/an-action-agenda-forsustainable-development/. Accessed 15 February 2017.
Uexküll, Jakob von 2010. A Foray into the Worlds of Animals and Men, with a
Theory of Meaning . Trans. Joseph D. O’Neill, intro. Dorion Sagan,
afterword Geoffrey Winthrop-Young. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota