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The Equity Principles of Sustainability Norman W. Garrick Lecture 8 Sustainable Transportation
The Brown and the Green Agendas McGranahan and Satterthwaite use a different a slightly different framework for considering urban environmental problem. Like Low, they divide them into two sets of issue or agendas. • The first is the ‘Brown’ agenda, which addresses issues associated with environmental health – this prospective is often championed by urbanists. The relevant issues include unsanitary living conditions, hazardous pollutants in the air and water, and the accumulations of solid waste. These are problems that have immediate environmental impacts and tend to burden mostly lower income groups in society. • The ‘Green’ agenda on the other hand is generally championed by environmentalists (often from high income countries). The green agenda focuses on how urban-based production, consumption and waste generation contribute to ecosystem disruption, resource depletion and global climate change. These issues are problems that have more long term impacts that are dispersed and delayed – in other words, they threaten long-term ecological sustainability. From an article by McGranahan and Satterthwaite in Pugh, Sustainable Cities in Developing Countries, Earthscan, pg. 73-87
The Brown versus the Green Agenda According to McGranahan and Satterthwaite one reason that it is important to distinguish between the Brown and Green agendas is that conflicts sometimes arise between proponents of each of these agendas about which one should be accorded priority. According to the authors, these problems are especially acute in the developing world but they also arise in the developed world. The only way to address these potential conflicts is to understand and acknowledge their existence. The authors state that those conflicts can best be minimized if both agendas are taken seriously.
The Equity Perspective The authors state that there are real conflicts between the proponents of the brown and the green agendas as to which problems should receive priority and what are the strategies for tackling the problems. However, they point out that it is important not to create a false dichotomy since environmental improvements often serve both agendas. Furthermore, the concept of ‘equity’ is at the heart of both agendas. The conflict then boils down to the question of equity for whom?
Conceptualizing Sustainability Haughton’s Five Equity Principles The authors use Graham Haughton’s five interconnected equity principles to try to understand the differences between the brown and the green agendas. Haughton’s Five Equity Principles are • Intragenerational equity • Procedural equity • Intergenerational equity • Transfrontier equity • Interspecies equity
Brown Agenda based onHaughton’s Equity Principles The brown agenda focuses on the following two principles of equity: intragenerational equity, and procedural equity. • Intragenerational Equity addresses the need for all urban dwellers to have healthy and safe living and working conditions and the corresponding infrastructure and services. • Procedural Equity addresses the legal rights for all persons to have safe and healthy living, and working environment, that they are treated fairly and that they can engage in a democratic decision making process about the management of the urban centers in which they live.
Green Agenda based onHaughton’s Five Equity Principles The green agenda on the other hand is described as focusing on three of the principles of equity: intergenerational equity, transfrontier equity, interspecies equity. • Intergenerational Equity promotes the idea that urban development should not draw on finite resource bases and degrade ecological systems in ways that compromise the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. • Transfrontier Equity prevents urban consumer and producers from transferring environmental costs to other people and ecosystems. • Interspecies Equity recognizes the rights of other species