Just Environmental Sustainability? A Revealing Look at the Architecture of Meaning Beneath Sustainability Discourse
In 'Just Environmental Sustainability?', I argue that the dominant definitions of sustainability are too vague and neglect essential elements necessary for effective sustainability discourse. To address this, I conduct an interpretive policy analysis as a means of uncovering the values and understandings that motivate commonly accepted definitions of sustainability and the policies they foster. After a consideration of these definitions, I develop a definition that includes within itself five criteria for sustainability. This new definition is called ‘Just Environmental Sustainability’ and embodies all considerations necessary for the facilitation of a truly sustainable society. Then, I perform an interpretive policy analysis focusing on the feelings, values, and beliefs expressed by the policies of a businesses organization promoting sustainability. Because policy promises and implications are hidden and commonly contradictory conclusions are derived from the assumptions of policy makers and those they serve, an interpretive policy analysis is necessary to make salient these perspectives. Though the systematic investigation of policy labels and categories, narratives and metaphors, institutions and programs, the architecture of meaning will be revealed. Upon the conclusion of this project, I re-envisioned sustainability, offering a new conception that can be efficaciously employed.
Keywords: Sustainability, Sustainable Development, Environmental Justice, Corporate Responsibility
Ph.D. Candidate, Public Intellectuals Program, Florida Atlantic University