Ecology and Opportunity: Intergenerational Equity and Sustainable Options

Bryan Norton

in Fairness and Futurity

Published in print April 1999 | ISBN: 9780198294894
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191599064 | DOI:
 Ecology and Opportunity: Intergenerational Equity and Sustainable Options

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Bryan Norton suggests that there are two ways of answering the sustainability question, ‘what to sustain?’ They are ‘utility comparison’ and ‘listing stuff’. While preferable to the former, the latter lacks a unifying theory of value, he says, and so any specification of what to bequeath to future generations will embody powerful normative assumptions. These assumptions, he argues, should be rooted in the norms of specific localities. Loss of natural value across generations must be regarded, Norton suggests, as non‐compensable, so environmental sustainability will involve the mandatory protection of whatever physical features are regarded as valuable in a given locality.

Keywords: compensation; environmental sustainability; generations; local value; natural value; norms; utility

Chapter.  11631 words. 

Subjects: Environment

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