This Guide to Sustainable Development and Environmental Policy is designed to serve
as a road map for understanding the issues and debates in the overlapping fields of en-
vironment and development. Tremendous strides have been made in the past twenty
years in elevating the issues of the environment and sustainable development in pub-
lic and governmental consciousness, in developing institutions for addressing these
issues, and in implementing practices and policy options. There has been an explosion
of efforts to address conservation and economic growth issues, from the smallest-scale
efforts to approach rural development in a sustainable, integrated way, to global agree-
ments on resource sharing and environmental protection of the oceans, deserts, and
forests. The philosophies and movements for placing humans in the broader ecosystem
context have also proliferated, as have the models and schools of thought for under-
standing and steering development in sustainable directions.
The complexity of issues, practices, institutions, policy options, and agreements has
become truly bewildering. There are literally thousands of environmental organiza-
tions and development programs, hundreds of international environmental treaties
and conventions, and innumerable labels for the approaches and strategies for man-
aging pollution, resource conservation, and socioeconomic development. This com-
plexity makes it very difficult for policymakers, activists, students, journalists, and
other citizens to make sense of the policies and debates surrounding environmen-
tal protection and sustainable development. Sometimes the difficulty comes simply
in understanding the exploding terminology. The editors of this Guide have between
them more than fifty years of experience working in various subfields of environmen-
tal and resource policy and development, and yet, before undertaking this project,
would have had difficulty in accurately defining many of the terms that appear in this
volume. Sometimes the difficulty is in knowing how to put all of the practices, theo-
ries, and institutions into proper perspective. Of the thousands of environmental orga-
nizations, which carry the most weight? Of all the conservation approaches, which are
mainstream, which are avant garde, which are accepted practice, which are highly con-
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