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Title: Sustainable development in the Mediterranean : prospects for the olive industry
Author: Bonazzi, Matteo
ISNI:       0000 0001 3469 4336
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 1999
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The overall objective of this study is to contribute to a deeper understanding of sustainable development and to explore the olive oil industry in the Mediterranean as an example of how the concept might be turned into reality. First, an intellectual framework is needed to provide a practical interpretation of sustainable development as well as a consistent methodology to assess it As becomes clear from the failure of sectoral approaches, the answer to the problem of sustainable development lies in the process to assess it which requires the concept of environment to be extended to include historical, socio-economic and cultural concerns. This demands a holistic approach, recognising the different space and time scales of sustainability and the importance of equity. In this light, a new vision for sustainable development has been set up, that is a pattern to organize the interactions between natural and man-made systems utilizing their resources in a renewable and equitable way. In practice, this means expressing what sustainable or "intelligent" technology is expected to deliver and "appropriate" policy is intended to promote. To apply this approach, three parts have been developed in the study, from the general to the specific. In the first part the attention is turned to the Mediterranean region, where the challenge of promoting sustainable development is difficult but important. Equity is pivotal, as in the absence of successful technology transfers, cooperation and redistribution to less developed countries, environmental degradation, destabilization and further migratory pressures must be expected. For this purpose, in the second part strategic production activities are identified, i. e. the olive oil industry, whose drivers are analysed to identify sustainable policy scenarios. In addition to market projections, analysis of other issues is required to complete the holistic approach, i. e. history, human geography, technology, rural environment, society, environment and culture. This is the focus of the third part of the work, taking as a case study the olive oil industry in Andalusia, the most important olive-producing region in the world. As a consequence of the significant industrialization process pushed by EU subsidies, only a few ecological and traditional olive production systems are sustainable in Andalusia, while major negative impacts on jobs, environment and culture have been identified in all the others. Overall, ethics emerges as the very principle to legitimate sustainable development, on which the appropriate answer to the question "why sustainable development?" formulated by utilitarianism can be philosophically grounded. The only possible answer is clearly ethical, as it lies in the re-definition of the appropriate "equitable" role of man in the universe, which must be based on two assumptions: the inherent right to exist of the whole of creation, and the higher responsibility and sense of moral trustworthiness of man vis-a-vis the whole of creation because of the more developed consciousness with which he is endowed, which also allows him to be more efficient in transforming natural systems. If not, sustainable development remains an end-of-pipe solution, and risks becoming an empty concept expressing a vague and nebulous "green and good-Samaritan" new anthropocentrism, invoked only because of the failure of conventional patterns of "development", which are no longer efficient in guaranteeing to man his anthropocentric role in the universe, as they cause his dominions to be eroded. In this vision, man is no longer dominating nor conquering creation -as the conventional vision of development assumes- but has to respond to higher responsibilities, precisely because of the many privileges and gifts with which he has been endowed: man should become the conscience of creation, while equally creation should become the conscience of man, as both are so deeply mutually embedded as to be indistinguishable. Summarizing, the real challenge of sustainable development is clearly nothing but the ethical reformulation of visions shaping the relationships between and within human and natural systems.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: International commerce & international trade