Environment and Globalization: Five Propositions

By David Runnalls, Mark Halle, Adil Najam on January 23, 2007
The processes that we now think of as "globalization" were central to the environmental cause well before the term "globalization" came into its current usage. Global environmental concerns were born out of the recognition that ecological processes do not always respect national boundaries and that environmental problems often have impacts beyond borders; sometimes globally. Connected to this was the notion that the ability of humans to act and think at a global scale also brings with it a new dimension of global responsibility—not only to planetary resources but also to planetary fairness.

While the importance of the relationship between globalization and the environment is obvious, our understanding of how these twin dynamics interact remains weak. The current debate on globalization has, unfortunately, become de-linked from its environmental roots and contexts. The purpose of this study is to explore these linkages in the context of the current discourse.

This work is a product of the "Environment and Governance Project" of the International Institute for Sustainable Development. This research was conducted independently by IISD with financial support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of Denmark.

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IISD, 2007