The paradoxes of sustainability and Michel Houellebecq’s The
Possibility of an Island
in Indonesia (World Commission 1987: 254). As it was laid out in Our
Common Future, the notion of sustainable development erased customary
boundaries between political, economic and environmental problems.
It combined a critique of traditional notions of economic development
with an equally trenchant critique of mainstream environmentalism – a
critique which had already absorbed some of the most important lessons
of the emergent environmentaljustice movement.
But in order to fully appreciate the merits of the Brundtland Report,
as well as the peculiar pathos of
The sense of an ending in Jeanette Winterson’s The Stone
environment have been translated by corporate accountants into the ‘triple
bottom line’ (Elkington 1997: 2), where success is judged by offsetting
and optimising performance in all three areas rather than treating social
and environmentaljustice as absolute goods.
At the same time, one could say that the invitation to read sustainability
as radical change and recalibration is buried within the Brundtland Commission report. The Commission’s conclusion, reached after four years
of collating and synthesising expert and public opinion, was that ‘a new
development path was