Stumbling Toward Sustainability

STUMBLING TOWARD SUSTAINABILITY, John C. Dernbach, ed., Environmental Law Institute, 2002

42 Pages Posted: 4 Nov 2007  

John C. Dernbach

Widener University - Commonwealth Law School


This book addresses two questions. First, what progress did the United States make toward sustainable development between the 1992 (the date of the U.N. Conference on Environment and Development, or Earth Summit) and 2002? Second, what should the United States do next, particularly in the next 5 to 10 years? The primary focus of this book is law and policy because law and policy represent one of the most powerful ways to change a society's behavior. The book's 32 chapters were written by 42 contributors. The book is divided into sections on consumption and population; international trade, finance, and development assistance; conservation and management of natural resources; waste and toxic chemicals; nongovernmental actors; education; institutions and infrastructure; and governance. The book provides a critical appraisal of U.S. activities, identifying both progress and shortcomings. It also makes recommendations for short-term and long-term actions. More broadly, the book refines and applies sustainable development concepts to the United States. While the United States has unquestionably begun to take some steps toward sustainable development, the country is now far from being a sustainable society, and in many ways is farther away than it was in 1992. The book contains a Synthesis summarizing its findings and recommendations.

Notes: Downloadable document is a "Synthesis".

Keywords: sustainable development, sustainable development-United States, consumption, population, international trade, international finance, official development assistance, natural resources, waste, toxic chemicals, nongovernmental actors, education, governance

JEL Classification: O10, O20, O51, Q00, Q10, Q20, Q30, Q40

Suggested Citation

Dernbach, John C., Stumbling Toward Sustainability. STUMBLING TOWARD SUSTAINABILITY, John C. Dernbach, ed., Environmental Law Institute, 2002. Available at SSRN:

John C. Dernbach (Contact Author)

Widener University - Commonwealth Law School ( email )

3800 Vartan Way
Harrisburg, PA 17110-9380
United States

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