1. The definition of sustainable development
2. Sustainable development concept: the objectives
3. The main problem of sustainable development: preservation of biological diversity
4. Russian scientists on sustainable development
5. Sustainable development as a civilization imperative
6. Sustainable development: the problem of synthesis of science and morality
7. Sustainable development philosophy
8. Ecological ethics as a condition of sustainable development
9.Axiology of ecological ethics
10. The Baikal Code: the value of Lake Baikal
11.Sustainable development education: the main principles
12.Sustainable development education: value foundations
13.The Baikal region as a model-objective territory for the sustainable development of the world significance
14.The concept of forming the sustainable economics of the Republic of Buryatia
15.The Republic of Buryatia sustainable development strategy
THE DEFINITION OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
The sustainable development is such social development by which the present-day generation’s needs are satisfied without damage for future generations, it is the governed balanced social development not destroying its natural foundation and providing the incessant progress of human civilization.
The term “sustainable development” was introduced by the International Commission for Environment and Development in 1987.
In home literature the English term “sustainable development” was interpreted as “steady (or stable) development”. Such interpretation is sometimes criticized, other variants are proposed: maintained, continuous, prolonged, permissible development.
Nevertheless the term “sustainable development” has become customary in the Russian language and, according to N.N. Moiseyev, the question is not that it should be replaced, but that it should be filled with the unified scientifically grounded content, it should be adapted to the modern scientific outlook (Moiseyev N.N. “Sustainable development” or “the Strategy of the Transition Period” // The Activities Plan – “The Sustainable Netherlands”. – Moscow, 1995. – pp. 3-4).
The notion of sustainable development includes two main elements: anthropocentric and biospherocentric ones.
The anthropocentric element implies mankind’s survival and the ability of its further continuous, incessantly long development when our descendants could have not less possibilities in comparison with the present-day generation to satisfy their needs in the natural and ecological conditions of the Earth and the Space.
The biospherocentric element is connected with the preservation of biosphere as the natural foundation of the whole life on Earth, of its sustainability and natural evolution, so that the further development of the mankind would not be ecophobic.
Forming of economic activity not destroying the biosphere but preserving it, i.e. organizing the economy compatible with the biosphere, not going beyond the limits of the carrying (ecological) capacity of ecosystems is one of the central tasks of the future “sustainable” society. From that point of view the biosphere should not be considered only as a storeroom and the resources supplier but as the foundation of life preservation of which should be the obligatory condition for functioning of the social-economic system and its separate elements. There is no sufficient scientifically grounded decision on organizing biosphere compatible economy yet.
SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT CONCEPT: THE OBJECTIVES
The sustainable development concept is explained in the resolutions of the UNO Conference on the environment and development (Rio de Janeiro, 1992).
At the conference in Rio de Janeiro heads of 179 states approved the plan of activities on sustainable development named “The 21st Century Agenda”. It was adopted in connection with the quickly worsening ecological situation and the risk of the global catastrophe in the 21st century which can lead to life collapse on the planet. Mankind has encountered with the severe contradiction between the growing needs of the people and the incapability of the biosphere to satisfy them. The sustainable development concept proposes positive synthesis and systematic solution of present-day ecological, economic, social and cultural problems.
Among the problems of ecological character which will be the main ones in the 21st century, the following ones can be named:
- the climatic changes as a result of greenhouse gases discharges;
- lack and pollution of fresh water, deforestation and desertification;
- biological diversity decrease;
- piling up wastes, air pollution, soils and ecosystems degradation, chemical pollution, the ozone layer exhaustion, urbanization, natural resources exhaustion, biogeochemical cycles violation, diseases spread (including appearance of new ones) etc.
The conference in Rio de Janeiro takes aim at the following objectives:
a) assistance to forming the consumption and production structures which provide lower ecological stress and satisfying the main needs of mankind;
b) provision of deeper understanding of the consumption significance and creating more rational consumption structures;
c) working out new concepts of providing well-being and prosperity which could allow to reach higher living standard through changing lifestyle, which could be less dependent on the limited resources of the planet and could better correspond its potential opportunities. It should be reflected in the new systems of national accounts and other indicators of sustainable development.
In some countries of the world there is a high consumption level. It causes excessive demand and non-rational lifestyle in the rich layers of the population which leads to extremely high loading upon the environment. At the same time the poor cannot satisfy their needs of food, medical care, housing and education. To change the consumption structure a complex strategy is necessary aimed at the demand structure change, at satisfying the main demands of the poor and at losses decrease and using limited resources in the productive process.
The social objectives, according to Rio de Janeiro Declaration, are in the following:
a) to give all people the opportunity to earn their living on the sustainable basis;
b) to carry out the complex politics in the field of human resources development, local control over the resources usage including broad involvement of non-government organizations and the local power bodies as the realization mechanisms;
c) to work out complex strategies and programmes aimed at ecologically safe and rational usage of the natural environment resources, at elimination of poverty, at employment provision and possibilities of getting profit;
d) to concentrate on investments in the “human” capital within the national plans and budgets in the field of development, at that the special politics and programmes should be aimed at solving the problems of rural regions, or the city poor, women and children and national minorities.
All the civilized countries of the world have their own programmes of transition to the sustainable development. The Russian Federation President signed the Edict on the transition of the Russian Federation to the sustainable development model in 1994. The concept of transition to the sustainable development in Russia was adopted in 1996. It says that following the recommendations and principles declared in the documents of the UNO Conference on the environment and development (Rio de Janeiro, 1992) and being guided by them, it is supposed to be necessary and possible to perform the consistent transition of the Russian Federation to the sustainable development providing balanced solution of the social-economic problems of the favourable environment preservation and the natural-resource potential to satisfy the needs of the present-day and future generations of people.
Nowadays the work over the state strategy of sustainable development is completed by the Russian Federation.
In 2002 in Johannesburg the UNO Conference on the problems of sustainable development took place, the Earth Summit. 109 world leaders were present at the conference, heads of states and governments.
As a result of the conference the final document was adopted, the activities plan aimed at achieving mankind sustainable development, which says about the necessity of reducing the gap between the rich and the poor countries and make more efforts for the environment protection. Thus, the term “sustainable development” is of very high status now and is recognized at a very high level. This term serves to refer to the future desirable status of the society. That is, it is a standard image, an ideal type of the future society. There is no such society anywhere, but it is time for mankind to act towards forming the conditions for the sustainable development in all the countries of the world.
THE MAIN PROBLEM OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IS PRESERVATION OF BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY
In 1992 in Rio de Janeiro at the UNO Conference on the environment and development the UNO Convention on biological diversity was adopted. Russia signed and ratified the Convention in 1995.
The UNO Convention on biological diversity is an international legal document of frame (open-ended) force. It attracts attention of the world community to the critical state of living nature caused by non-rational man economic activity. The aim of the Convention is preservation of biological diversity, sustainable usage of its components and shared profits connected with biological resources usage on fair and equal basis.
The term “biological diversity” means variability of living organisms, including land, marine and other ecosystems and ecological systems the part of which they are; this term includes diversity within the species, between the species and the ecosystems diversity.
“Biological resources” include the genetic resources, organisms and their parts, populations or any other biotic components of ecosystems having factual or potential application or value for mankind.
The term “ecosystem” means the dynamic complex of plant, animal and microorganisms communities, as well as of their inanimate environment interacting as a single functional whole.
The term “sustainable usage” means using the biological diversity components in such a way and in such a rate which do not lead in the long term prospect to exhausting of biological diversity preserving its ability to satisfy the needs of the present-day and future generations.
In accordance with the UNO Convention on biological diversity each country:
- envisages consideration of the problems of preservation and sustainable usage of biological resources in the process of taking decisions on the national level;
- takes measures for preventing or minimizing the unfavourable influence on biological diversity;
- preserves and encourages the traditional methods of using biological resources in accordance with the established cultural traditions compatible with the requirements of the sustainable development;
- supports the local population in taking measures on correcting the situation in the districts where biological diversity has been reduced;
- encourages cooperation among government organizations and private sector of the country in working out the methods of sustainable usage of biological resources;
- provides or facilitates the access to technologies dealing with preservation and sustainable development of biological diversity.
One of the main strategic aims of preserving biological diversity of the Republic of Buryatia is to organize the system of specially guarding natural territories (SGNT) coordinated from the regional centre equipped with computer and other efficient communication and information system. Further increase of the total area of the SGNT territory in Buryatia (up to 20% of the Republic of Buryatia territory), organizing steppe and forest-steppe nature reserves and natural parks are necessary;
- it is necessary to classify and estimate the regional biological resources, to make up the plants, animals, soils, agricultural plants and agricultural animals breeds cadastres;
- to practice plantation growing of medicinal plants, to regulate their gathering in wildlife;
- to work out the monitoring system of watching the state of forests in the fire dangerous periods, to strengthen the system of protecting forests from fires;
- to strengthen control of the plants and factories polluting the rivers and Lake Baikal, to increase fines for polluting and think of rewarding the complete accomplishing the nature protection activities;
- to organize the system of certification laboratories which can expertly control the environment and food pollution.
RUSSIAN SCIENTISTS ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
The principal content of the concept of the sustainable development is related in the works by T.A. Akimova, B.E. Bolshakov, V.P. Bransky, A.B. Veber, N.P. Vashchekin, E.V. Girusov, G.S. Golitsin, G.N. Golubev, V.G. Gorshkov, V.I. Danilov-Danilyan, M.Ch. Zalikhanov, R.S. Karpinskaya, K.Ya. Kondratyev, V.A. Koptyug, V.M. Kotlyakov, O.L. Kuznetsov, P.G. Kuznetsov, V.K. Levashov, I.K. Liseyev, K.S. Losev, V.A. Los, V.V. Mantatov, N.N. Moiseyev, M.A. Muntyan, A.A. Petrov, N.F. Reimers, G.S. Rosenberg, A.D. Ursul, V.V. Khaskin, A.N. Chumakov, A.S. Shcheulin, R.G. Yanovsky, F.T. Yanshina and others. They consider the concept of sustainable development as a systematic strategy of mankind survival (in the condition of ecological crisis). However, in spite of their entire conviction that the sustainable development model has no alternative, their works reveal different approaches to interpretation of the very problem of sustainable development.
Academician N.N. Moiseyev thought that the term “sustainable development” should be interpreted as the strategy of the transitional period to such state of nature and society which can be characterized with the term “co-evolution” or “the noosphere epoch”. In connection with this he formulated the ecological and the moral imperatives. Ecological imperative meant “the total sum of the limits in the people’s activity the violation of which can lead to the most catastrophic consequences for man in the nearest decades”.
In short, it is the requirement of minimum damage to man’s health and the condition of biosphere. But it is not sufficient, N.N. Moiseyev used to say. It is necessary to supplement the notion of sustainable development with the moral imperative, not less strict than the ecological imperative. i.e. it is necessary to limit the activity of man with new moral principles in the spirit of co-evolution of the society and nature. “The main thing,” he wrote, “that the scale of values should be changed, I mean the transition from the society of consumption to the society of creative activity, or I would call it, to ecological socialism”.
The ideas of academician N.N. Moiseyev are supported and developed by A.D. Ursul, V.A. Los, N.P. Vashchekin, M.A. Muntyan. Sustainable development is considered by them as a strategy of survival and continuous development of the civilization and the country in the conditions of the natural environment preservation, biosphere first of all. “The final result of the transition to the sustainable development”, A.D. Ursul writes, “should be forming the noosphere as a social-natural system which will provide the priorities of the moral intellect, intellectual-information values, ecological humanism and the harmony of man, society and nature will be realized, their safe and indefinitely long co-development (co-evolution)”. In the noospheric society each person can be able to reveal his/her creative potential and abilities, the substantial talents and will get the real freedom. F.T. Yanshina proves that it is sustainable development that is noospheric development. The noospheric concept of sustainable development is supported by E.V. Girusov and G.V. Platonov.
G.P. Krasnoshchekov, Yu.M. Krylov, V.A. Pavlovsky, A.S. Pisarev, G.S. Rosenberg, S.A. Chernikov rightly criticize the attempts to equate the noosphere and the technosphere. The notion of noosphere as evolution of spirit interpreted by P. Teyard de Chardin is closer to them.
T.A. Akimova and V.V. Khaskin characterize sustainable development as ecologically oriented social and economic development. In their opinion the objectives of ecological development should be prior to the objectives of economic growth.
V.I. Danilov-Danilyan proves in his works that the only correct scientific basis of sustainable development is the theory of the environment biotic regulation.
V.K. Levashov researches the genesis of systematic views of sustainable development. In his opinion, formation of integral scientific knowledge paradigm is being formed on the foundation of sustainable development concept; it emerges as a result of a broad synthesis of “the sciences on nature, society and Man”.
The social aspects of sustainable development are researched in the works of B.E. Bolshakov, A.B. Veber, S.V. Devyatkin, O.L. Kuznetsov, A.L. Kulikov, V.K. Levashov, N.L. Maltseva, M.N. Rutkevich, R.G. Yanovsky and others. For instance, in A.B. Veber’s opinion, the main social problem of the present-day civilization is Man’s lagging behind the Mankind. “There is a growing disproportion between the growing amount of information, the joint producer of which is the whole mankind”, he writes, “and the limited opportunity of its perception by an individual”. Hence A.B. Veber makes the conclusion about the fact that it is necessary to form the global ethnos based on the combination of cultural codes of different peoples. A.B. Veber also proves that besides biospheric restrictions there are also social limits for human vital activity. “The social limits are caused by the progressing growth of social expenditures of mass production and mass consuming”, he writes. “Bigger intensity and ‘density’ of productive and consuming activity of people influence the people’s physical and psychic condition. The progress of technology outruns man’s adapting abilities. Mass culture makes ‘the spiritual environment’ decay; it levels the tastes and becomes a kind of drug”.
O.L. Kuznetsov and B.E. Bolshakov think that “the necessary and sufficient condition of sustainable development is the people who are able to advance and realize the ideas which afford the growth of the society’s opportunities”.
V.V. Mantatov thinks that sustainable development of the society is possible if the relations both inside the society and with the environment are in harmony, in accordance with the strategy of Reason. In his opinion sustainable man’s development presupposes dynamic balance of the material and the spiritual in the life of the society, of the rational-scientific and moral-esthetic methods of regulating man’s activity. He proposes to enrich the concept of sustainable development with spiritual content, to link and unite it with the theory of information society.
SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AS A CIVILIZATION IMPERATIVE
The problem of sustainable development is the problem of forming a new civilization. Transition of the society to the model of sustainable development presupposes long and fundamental civilization transformation; as the experience of Rio de Janeiro and Johannesburg shows, a big time lag is necessary even for understanding the idea of sustainable development. The dynamics of the world civilization process is determined by interrelation of two main local civilizations – the oriental and the western ones which embody both the traditional and technogenic stages of the world civilization development. But it does not mean that the forthcoming world order will represent only mechanic combination of achievements of two leading civilizations. Dialectics of civilization development is of such a kind that it presupposes the emergence of new social and cultural integrity which is different from the previous stages of the social evolution. Neither of the above mentioned civilization models (neither the western nor the oriental ones) by itself can be the carrying rod of the new global civilization spirit. Each of them contains such elements of culture which are unfavourable for sustainable civilization development. They are the mankind’s egotism towards nature characteristic of the western civilization and suppression of the personal in the oriental culture. The new, historically the third (as regards the cosmogenic and the technogenic) type of civilization development is being formed on the basis of super-local ecological and humanistic values. These values are correlated with a broad complex of spiritual knowledge worked out by the whole mankind and promoting overcoming of isolation and separation of the local civilizations.
Life overturns the myths about incompatibility of the civilizations of the Orient and the West – the process of Great Synthesis is being developed. The essence of this process can be illustrated by the example of the strategy of China sustainable development which shows the Chinese people the way to combination of the material civilization of the West and the socialist spiritual civilization of China. The objective of that strategy is the launch of adjusted, sustainable and powerful organism of the Middle Prosperous Country tuned in the rhythm identical to nature. Synthesis of moral perfection and social activity, traditionalism and modernization is chosen as a mechanism of achieving this objective.
Whereas social dynamics of present-day civilization development is determined by the dialogue of the Orient and the West, it is Russia, as “Orient-West” (N.A. Berdyayev), having a unique experience of different cultures’ cooperation, that is to form a new integral social and cultural of civilization development based on harmonious combination of the material and the spiritual, technogenic and cosmogenic factors, liberal and socialist values. Russia should initiate and become the leader of the new global civilization on the principles of sustainable development. Russia has all the necessary prerequisites for that: rich natural and intellectual potential, favourable geographic position, spiritual tradition which allow to combine the West and the Orient values, adherence to the ideals of solidarity and justice, non-standard outlook and others. New spiritual (ecological and humanistic) civilization is imagined by us as an alternative to the present-day consumption society and to the material civilization on the whole. This is an ecological society which is intended to reach harmony between man and nature; it is a spiritual society where conditions are formed to reveal the creative potential of each person. The example of practical realization of the new spiritual civilization is post-information society with sustainable development.
SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: THE PROBLEMS OF SYNSESING THE PROBLEM OF NATURE AND MORALITY.
The problem of sustainable development is a multi-sided complex scientific problem. From the scientific point of view sustainable development is antienthropian process which is based on sustainable growth of free life of living systems. The mathematical essence of the problem is expressed through the idea of transformations with invariant. This invariant is the law of preservation of useful power growth (free energy stream) formulated by P.G. Kuznetsov. The social essence of the sustainable development is characterized by contradiction between people’s growing needs and limited possibilities of satisfying them. The manifestation of this contradiction is unlimited enrichment of minority at the expense of pauperation of the majority. From the point of view of sustainable development the solution of the above mentioned problems envisages the solution of three interrelated problems: firstly, restriction of the riches’ overconsumption and elimination of poverty (this objective is the consequence of the social justice law); secondly, elevating man’s needs, i.e. limitation of material consumption (enrichment) and stimulation of spiritual creative activity as a form of man’s being in the world (this objective is the consequence of the needs elevating law); thirdly, provision of effective use of material and intellectual resources of the society, of non-decreasing growth rate (productivity) of the social and natural systems not only now, but also in future (this objective is the consequence of the useful power growth law). Ecological essence of the sustainable development problem can be expressed with one question: “How can we preserve life on the Earth?” The present-day capitalist economic system is contradictory to both living nature evolution laws and humanistic objectives of social development. We can see the humanitarian aspect of the problem in the requirement of transition from material civilization (consumption society) to spiritual (ecological and humanistic) civilization based on employment of people’s creative potential (cf. Mantatov V.V., Mantatova L.V. Sustainable Development Ethics in the Information Epoch. – Ulan Ude. – 2002.). The philiosophic and methodological essence of sustainable development problem is characterized by the idea of scientific knowledge synthesis. The problem is to coordinate the social development with nature evolution, to determine the commensurability of link between natural and social phenomena. Mankind is a part of the biosphere; therefore, human activity should be synchronized with biospheric laws. Only in this case social development is possible. Is there a scientific philosophic theory which considers natural history and social history as a united indissoluble chain of the world creative evolution? Yes, there is – it is the concept of transition of biosphere into noosphere created by V.I. Vernadsky.
Noosphere is the highest stage of biosphere evolution, a new form of organization of the planet’s living substance which has ability to increase the efficiency of using biosphere free energy. This process of transition of biosphere into noosphere is determined by man’s creative thinking which to some extent can be considered to be the amplifier of mankind power, or its potential growth (Kuznetsov O.L., Bolshakov B.E. Sustainable Development: Scientific Foundations of Projecting in the System Nature-Society-Man. – St. Petersburg – Moscow – Dubna. - 2001). At the phase of noosphere the power source is the process of generating and performing ideas. In this aspect sustainable development is a naturally determined stage of biosphere into noosphere transition connected with mankind’s energetic power increase and correspondingly with growing man’s moral responsibility for support (preservation) of social and natural systems development in present and in future.
It is common knowledge that in the aspect of long and sustainable being the social progress depends on the degree of people’s moral development. Without rising a new moral height sustainable development of humanity is impossible. According to the theory of noosphere it is moral law that makes up the invariant of all the social transformations.
As the originator of noosphere V.I. Vernadsky emphasized more than once, “human personality determines everything” and to great extent sustainable development of the world depends on forming personalities of high morality and high creativity who are able to solve complex problems of development taking into consideration the long-term systematic effects and to obtain transformation of the impossible into the possible. The leading role in this process of forming high human qualities is allotted to innovative education based on the principles of sustainable development (synthesis of science and morality, co-evolution of society and nature etc.). The idea of sustainable development should become the concept base, the foundation of the whole education system.
SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT PHILOSIPHY
In home literature sustainable development is determined as a form of such interaction (co-evolution) of society and nature which preserves biosphere, and survival and indefinitely long-term development of mankind are provided. V.V. Mantatov believes sustainable development to be the Universe law. This law reflects the fundamental property of all the phenomena and processes in the Universe: dynamic balance characterized by correlation between sustainability and changeability. The things are not sustainable by themselves, but only in relation to certain complexes of changes (reforms); and, on the contrary, changes of things presuppose sustainability of being, because the process of changes is exposure (self- manifestation) of sustainable substance.
The process of development is going on in at least two opposite ways: changeability and sustainability, chaos and order, involution and evolution. The notion of sustainable development puts the accent on the evolution, coordination and direction of changes in this unity and inter-transition of the opposite moments of development. The process of such development possesses order and safety, survival and preservation of structures as opposed to chaos and catastrophes. To sum it up, sustainable development is such a creative evolution of the system which cannot be out of dynamic balance state at any reforms inside the system, by any outside disturbing factors.
The most general natural phenomenon of sustainable development is division of the unity into opposites (Ing and Yang in the terms of Chinese philosophy) and synergetic balance between them. Sustainable development takes place where the opposites are not antagonistic, where the system is self-regulating and the situation is solvable. In its turn the self-organization logics presupposes co-evolution, that is the coherent interrelation of opposites. This dialectics of sustainable development is most adequately expressed by the notion of harmony (interpreted by Heraclites). According to Heraclites, harmony is inner connection, concealed coordination, that is the balance produced as a result of “coming together” of the opposing forces assiduous “going apart”. The image of Heraclites’ river symbolizing the universal world order (cosmos) expresses both opposite aspects of being: changing of things and their sustainability. Indeed, to stay itself the river should be flowing constantly. It means that every thing is in the state of identity with itself and at the same time it is changing constantly, that is represents the unity of opposites. This concealed harmony of things is the divine order violation of which is unacceptable and leads to just punishment.
In Heraclites’ philosophy, like in the whole ancient Greek thinking, the notion of cosmic justice prevailed which “prevents the prospect of opposites’ conflict to be ever ended with the victory of one part”. (Russell B. The History of Western Philosophy. V.1. – Moscow, “Mif” Publishers, 1993, p.63).
Justice is a cosmic principle expressing balancing, measure determination of everything existing. Therefore, infinity is violation of justice and it is penalized. The due measure in everything is wonderful, as ancient men of wisdom used to say. Justice understood as the law of measure is an immanent characteristic of the cosmic order. In our opinion, in the society such measure is the degree of satisfying man’s reasonable needs. Both the rich people’s over-consumption and the poor people’s under-consumption are dangerous. That’s why the main problem of sustainable development is represented as the problem of justice.
The law of sustainable development is the law of cosmic justice. Everything in the world is balanced and harmonized, that is justice, or order, reigns in the world. As Anaksimandre used to say, the things should be judged for their injustice in accordance with “the time order”. But the society we live in is terribly unsustainable, disharmonic and unjust. Human order is different from cosmic order. Harmonization of human being is necessary, its coordination with cosmic order, with “the great dynamics of nature, different parts of which are harmoniously resonant with one another” (Chizhevsky A.L. The Earth Echo of Solar Storms. – Moscow, 1973. – p. 121).
The social sustainable development is possible only when relations both within the society and with the environment are harmonized in accordance with the Strategy of Reason.
The report of the UNO International Commission on Environment and Development known as “Brundtlandt Report” also points out that “the sustainable development strategy is aimed at achieving harmony among people and between society and nature” (see Our Common Future. – Moscow, Progress Publishers, 1989. – p. 68). After “Brundlandt Report” sustainable development is understood as the development balanced in every respect, and naturally such development is impossible without accepting the justice concept. The new approach to the world order problems proposed by the sustainable development concept is connected with understanding of the place and role of justice in the historic process. “Our inability to reach recognition and approval of the mutual interests’ concept which is necessary for sustainable development process”, the UNO Commission report says, “is often the result of a certain neglect of economic and social justice in the countries and among the countries” (Our Mutual Future, p. 55). Historic experience proves that no society can be sustainable if it is not grounded on justice. The sustainable development concept spreads its care for justice over the future generations of people, which logically presupposes nature protection, too.
ECOLOGICAL ETHICS AS A CONDITION OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
The problems of ecological ethics were actively discussed by foreign philosophers in the last decades of the 20th century. Ecological ethics means the complex of standards and values expressing multi-aspect links and relations of man and society with the environment. It answers the question “How shall we live in harmony with nature?” This fundamental question of ecological ethics is specified depending on what is meant by the word ‘we’, an individual or the society. In the second case the question is formulated like this: what should the ethics of nature usage be like if the society lays claim to sustainable development? (Environmental Ethics: Divergence and Convergence. Ed. by Richard Botzler and Susan Armstrong. New York – Boston: The McGrow-Hill Companies, 1998; Desjardiens J. Environmental Ethics: Concepts, Policy and Theory. – London – Toronto, Mayfield Publishing Company, 1999; An Invitation to Environmental Philosophy. Ed. by Anthony Weston. – New York – Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999).
The motive of scientific interest in the problems of ecological ethics is the extending ecological crisis. Attention is paid to the fact that the spiritual source of the present-day ecological crisis is Christianity (Hessle W. Philosophy and Ecology. – Moscow, Nauka Publishers, 1993). For instance, in Lynn White’s opinion, Christianity not only stated dualism of man and nature but also insisted in the Lord’s will being that man should exploit nature for his own purposes. To prove that conclusion of his he quotes the Bible: “Let man rule over the slaves and the birds of the air, over the animals and over the livestock, and over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground”. (Gen. 1:26) (See White L. The Historic Routes of Our Ecological Crisis // Science 155, 1967, - pp. 1203-1207.). Lynn White’s concept aroused sharp polemics among Western philosophers, historians, moralists. Some of them (P. Singer and others) supported L. White’s opinion and were developing the idea about the fact that Christianity was the source of such attitude of man towards nature when it is regarded as a storehouse of resources at man’s disposal. Others, R. Attfield for instance, thought that Christianity eliminated the anthropocentric view of nature, that the Bible contains many necessary components of well-thought ecological ethics, either openly or in concealed way (Attfield R. The Ethics of Environmental Concern. – New York: Columbia University Press, 1983. – pp. 20-33).
Arnold Toinby, defining religious foundations of present-day ecological crisis, connected them with the victory of monotheistic religion over pantheism and perceived the remedy given to mankind in its return from monotheism to pantheistic outlook, first of all to oriental religious and philosophic systems. This point of view is developed by Kenneth Ineda (An Invitation to Environmental Philosophy. Ed. by A. Weston. – New York – Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999). John Rodman and Anthony Weston perceive value foundations of ecological ethics in the pagan naturalism. In western literature a well expressed ecocentric trend is seen, opposed to traditional humanism.
The conclusion made by ecological ethics researchers of the Sustainable Development Institute of East Siberian state technological university is of interest. It can be formulated as follows. The main reason of the environment degradation is the consumptive lifestyle based on natural resources exploitation. Since the rot of ecological crisis is in thoughtless promotion of people’s consumption instincts, nature can be saved only by moral self-restriction of man. (Mantatov V.V. The Strategy of Reason: Ecological Ethics and Sustainable development: in 2 volumes. – Ulan Ude, Buryat Publishers. V.1, 1988; V.2, 2000; Mantatov V.V. The Mirror of the Split World // The Russian philosophic society bulletin, # 4, 2002; Mantatov V.V., Dorzhigushayeva O.V. Ecological Ethics: Buddhism and the Present. – Ulan Ude, Buryat Publishers, 197; Mantatov V.V., Mantatova L.V. The Sustainable Development Ethics in Information Epoch. – Ulan Ude, 2002; Mantatova L.V. Sustainable Development: Ecology and Human Spirit. – Ulan Ude, Buryat Publishers, 1999; Mantatova L.V. Philosophic Prospects of Information Society Sustainable Development. – Ulan Ude, Buryat State University Publishers, 2002; Mantatova L.V. Development Strategy: New Civilization Values. – Ulan Ude, 2005; and others).
According to A.D. Armand, N.N. Moiseyev, V.A. Zubakov, V.G. Gorshkov, there is no hope that ecological problem can be solved with the further social technization after the scenario of “artificially supported biosphere”. 99% of all the resources of the technogenic civilization would be necessary for this system to function, which is not realistic. The only way out of this situation, V.V. Mantatov proves, is to change the character and the method of human activity on the principles of ecological ethics (See Mantatov V.V. Sustainable Development as the Revolution of Values. Ed. by V.E. Saktoyev. – Ulan Ude, East Siberian State technological university publishers, 2001. – pp. 82, 189).
Only radical change in the relations of man and nature on the principles of ecological ethics will allow mankind to avoid the fate of dinosaurs and to provide sustainable development of nature and society.
AXIOLOGY OF ECOLOGICAL ETHICS
Value is the basic component of ethics. We conclude our obligations to a thing out of its value. Ecological ethics is adopted when the inner value of natural phenomena is realized and corresponding obligations to nature are formed. Unlike anthropocentric ethics, where the value of nature is determined only towards man as a consumer, ecological ethics forms its opinions on nature without being limited by resource and consumer relations. Ecological ethics reminds us that its value is not reduced to its being for man. Any natural phenomenon is of value if it promotes integrity, diversity and beauty of nature. Earth had existed before man appeared and it would be absurd to say that only appearance of man made this or that creature valuable in the evolutionizing system of nature. Nature is the generating matrix, the source of all values. Ecological ethics, determining the nature inner value, grounds the necessity of co-evolution of society and nature. People should restrain their consuming passion and technocratic aggression towards nature to give ‘freedom’ to natural objects to develop spontaneously, without violence on the part of man. Ontological understanding of freedom expresses the feeling of worship before all the living forms and it determines the axiology of ecological ethics in the long run. To be free from ontological point of view is to understand and estimate the being of things by the method preserving and guaranteeing their inner value, no resemblance to others and independence from man. Discovery of the fact that there is preservation of nature “as such” for the sake of nature itself is the most acceptable and true way of determining man’s ontological dignity. To a certain extent ecological ethics is the broadened “ethics of non-violence” (A.A. Guseinov).
Axiology of ecological ethics comprises both natural and human values which are considered both by ecology and ethics autonomously, independently from each other. Many political discourses both on regional and global levels are connected with search of compromise between environment protection on the one hand and social progress provision on the other hand. It is clear that we cannot permit ourselves to lose both these categories of values determining the process of sustainable human development. Therefore it is necessary to correlate ecological problems and human values. Convergence of natural and human values makes up axiological nucleus of ecological ethics.
Philosophic concepts form axiology and ideology of our life. When egocentric utilitarism (or pragmatism) is the ideology, Earth becomes a resource. Hence the slogan: “Use nature, take everything from life”. When ecological ethics becomes the philosophy of life, Earth will become the object of love and care. It is necessary to emphasize that Life takes the highest position in the hierarchy of value modalities of ecological ethics. Then we, people, will realize our predestination to be “the pastors of Being” (M. Heidegger). Then we’ll be able to carry out the concept of sustainable development as a strategy of rescuing living nature and man himself from the institutes of total technocracy created by him.
THE BAIKAL CODE: THE VALUE OF LAKE BAIKAL
First and foremost ecological ethics should be based on the value of “place development”, on the values which are associated with the sense of homeland which each person possesses. For the people living in the Baikal region one of the highest values is Lake Baikal. Lake Baikal is of many-sided value.
Firstly, the Baikal influences greatly the biotic regulation of planetary processes. Secondly, Lake Baikal ecosystem is characterized by great genetic diversity which can be used for making new sorts of plants and animals. Thirdly, the Baikal landscapes are valuable for recreation, sports and people’s health. Fourthly, the Baikal is a natural laboratory for scientific research. Fifthly, the beauty of Lake Baikal amazes everybody who has been there; here man gets a unique aesthetic experience which is impossible to get anywhere else. Sixthly, the Baikal natural territory keeps memory of the great civilizations of the past – it is a historical museum made by nature itself. Seventhly, the Baikal is a symbol of purity and holiness. Eighthly, the Baikal arouses religious worship in man, as well as veneration for the life of nature. Ninthly, the Baikal is a priceless wealth; only the Baikal water is estimated as much as trillions of dollars.
Long-term experience of the Baikal region nature protection activity convinces us that the growing ecological difficulties cannot be solved only by economic or technological methods, that transformation of the whole system of social relations, people’s lifestyle first of all, is necessary based on the values and principles of sustainable development. The system of sustainable development values is based on the idea that there is nothing more valuable than Life, Man and Nature. Human deed is noble when it is directed to preservation of integrity, beauty, diversity and stability of all the planet ecosystems, and it will be unnatural if everything is opposite.
The Baikal is a living being and it needs moral attitude towards it. It is necessary to develop ecological sensitivity and ecological conscience, to learn to hear nature and to feel the great spirit of Lake Baikal. It is necessary to connect the problem of the Baikal protection with the life prospect of each resident of our land, with his health and the quality of life. The Baikal will be saved by the beauty and nobleness of human deeds, by spiritual raise of human needs.
Understanding the responsibility for preservation of the Baikal biological diversity and beauty should penetrate into the decisions taken on all the levels of nature usage in the Baikal region.
No form of nature usage is acceptable without taking into consideration possible social and ecological consequences. Nature consumer should also remember about three simple truths: “nothing is given for nothing”, “everything should go somewhere” and “do not do any harm”. It is necessary to encourage any saving resources in autotrofic (closed) regime, complex processing of raw materials and development of ecologically safe and energy saving hi-tech productive works. Technological productive processes should be correlated with the regenerative ability of Lake Baikal ecosystem.
There are natural limits of transformation of nature beyond which irreversible changes of biosphere fundamental characteristics begin. It is unacceptable to destroy these limits! As applied to the Baikal region it means coordination of economic activity of all the economically productive subjects with the special regimen of nature usage determined on the Baikal natural territory by the Russian Federation law “On Lake Baikal Protection”. It is necessary to keep the lands around the Baikal outside the market and restrain the consumer attitude towards the Baikal nature, to maximize recreational usage of natural wealth.
The Baikal is our common heritage; the Baikal is our common future. That’s why to protect the Baikal is to reserve spiritual continuity, the moral connection of generations. The Baikal is a source of spiritual values of all the people’s generations. The Baikal energy supports the nation’s health throughout its whole history. Saving the Baikal is saving us ourselves. The saver will be saved – these words contain the moral essence of human being. There is no other one and there won’t be. Saving the Baikal is the matter of honour and conscience for each resident or the Baikal region.
The Baikal and the entire Baikal natural territory should become the testing ground of the international efforts cooperation aimed at solving complex problems of sustainable development in accordance with the Earth Charter. Social, cultural and natural potential of the Baikal region answer the main criteria for the candidates to be called “the target sustainable development territory of the world significance”.
SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT EDUCATION: THE MAIN PRINCIPLES
The concept of sustainable development proposed in the late 1980’s by the International Commission on Environment and Development headed by G.H. Brundtlandt was enthusiastically accepted by the world community. Up to now there is no adequate alternative, which evidently proves that this concept is informally accepted as an inspiring approach to solving the grave ecological crisis of present-day time. The universal character of the sustainable development concept, its high political status and its functions of the world community integrator together with dynamism of the concept itself cause never ceasing interest in it as the object of research and education.
Evident reluctance of the political and financial authorities of the countries and ecological leaders of the world to be coordinated with the present-day reality is especially paradoxical on the background of forced recognition of the market inability to solve the principal development problems at the junction of ecology and economics. The widely used notion of “market gaps” has been proposed for that phenomenon. The alternative to absolute power of the market is well known. We mean the centralized management of the limited natural resources in everybody’s interest, not only the richest layers of the society. It is the only possible prospective approach. But the ruling circles are not in a hurry to admit the necessity of inevitable nature socialization, which is quite explainable. Otherwise using natural resources will have to be paid much more than now. Natural wealth now free for business, such as natural environment assimilation potential, will have to be paid. It means losing immense profits. Unfortunately, where the question is profit, the elements of social justice and even common sense do not work effectively at all. A characteristic example from present-day ecological policy is the refusal of official Washington to ratify the Kyoto protocol. It should be admitted that ecologically inefficient traditional methods of business are firmly insured by the power of bureaucratic oligarchy and plutocracy.
What could be done in such a situation? If the representatives of business circles are not ready for free-will nature socialization, it is necessary to make them do it. Who can do it without undermining the democratic establishment of present-day society? Only the society on the whole on condition of its cardinal ecologization, i.e. if it realizes the vital significance of nature socialization. Experts think that first of all it is possible to reach it without social shocks by means of education. (See The Russian Academy of Sciences Bulletin, 2004, # 1. - p. 28).
Education strategy for sustainable development is based on the principles of, firstly, universal education of the population in the field of sustainable development and, secondly, state and society support of the course for sustainable development. The third practical principle is combination of education itself and upbringing, in other words, cultivation of “sustainable development ethics”. Finally, the fourth basic principle is purposeful integration of all modern knowledge achievements in the fields involved in working out ecologically sustainable development models of the society.
Education in the field of sustainable development is not a fashionable trend or chance, it is serious and for a long time. West considers innovations in education as an effective way to achieve the stabilization which is so desirable for it. It is possible to suppose that western society is ready for rather radical transformations in education caused by sustainable development philosophy, that it is inclined to prefer the revolution in education to very likely large-scale social shocks.
Introducing sustainable development education (as a systematic innovative project) is a unique opportunity to strengthen the system of education as a social institution, to introduce the elements of upbringing into it, to revive traditional and socialist values of education as a part of culture, renewing this sphere at the same time.
SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT EDUCATION: VALUE FOUNDATIONS
Sustainable development education should be understood as a continuous process of learning and researching problems where correct answers and solutions can change with experience accumulation. The strategy of education for sustainable development needs to be reoriented from knowledge provision to processing of problems and looking for possible solutions based on inter-subject analysis of real situations. The most important condition of sustainable development is the society’s ability to solve the problems according to long-term consequences of systematic effects. The society develops in a sustainable way if adequate measures are taken to timely solve the emerging complex problems, i.e. there is always the correct “Challenge Answer”, in A. Toinby’s terms. It is evident that solution of such problems is impossible without organizing the system of advanced education in the interests of sustainable development.
The objectives of sustainable development education include not only expansion of knowledge, experience and skills, but also forming of life positions and moral values.
Sustainable development is the revolution in values, the main course of which is change of material and consumption preferences into spiritual, ecological and ethic values and creative lifestyle. The capitalist consumption society is the main threat to annihilate life on Earth. The essence of consumption society is revealed as a passionate desire to devour, to gulp the world. Let us remember Khlestakov, Gogol’s character: “It seems I could gulp the whole world now!” Unfortunately, in the Russian society there are Gogol’s Khlestakovs and “dead souls” that live in idleness and plenty and roll in luxury.
The poet Juvenal, as if predicting the decay of the Roman Empire, wrote: “Luxury is worse than war”. Consumption as a way of life is also a war, the war against nature. Luxurious life, as the Roman Empire experience showed, leads to degeneration of the society. The biological experiment called “Rats in Paradise” confirms that. The reorientation of social values proposed by ecological ethics is aimed at overcoming consumption intentions of technogenic civilization.
Ecological ethics formation is similar to Copernicus revolution in science in its social outcome. Ecological ethics system of values is based on the fact that prosperity of life on Earth is the highest value and objective. Human deed is noble if it is aimed at preservation of integrity, beauty, diversity and stability of all the planet’s ecosystems, but it will be unnatural if everything is opposite. Ecological ethics’ demand is to estimate and view nature rather as the subject of co-evolution than an object for conquering. The value of nature does not depend on its being useful for man and society. Something which nature is in its self-valuable being is not exhausted with its existence as an object of human activity. The demand of co-evolution of man and nature, symbiotic empathy towards the environment is the main imperative of ecological ethics.
There is a question: how can the society’s sustainable development and its vital force be supported? How can one oppose the element of hungry and deadening attitude towards the world? First of all, it can be done by means of education for sustainable development, as a result of forming an active civic society, non-violence movement of protest. It is because of such movements, as the historical experience shows, that “circulation of elites” was provided and renovation of the society creative potential takes place.
The systematic solution of the sustainable development problem in Russia is quite evident – it is necessary to cancel legally the oligarchic capitalism regimen together with the corrupted state power bodies. A society cannot be sustainable and cannot exist for a long time if the laws tend to create quick accumulation of enormous riches in the hands of the few, leaving a big part of the population in poverty.
By the way, the Economic Commission Strategy in the field of sustainable development education adopted at the summit in 2005 says: “Consideration of ethic aspects including the problems of equality, solidarity and interrelation of the present-day and future generations, as well as relations of man and nature, poverty and richness, is in the centre of attention of the sustainable development concept, and, therefore, is of vital importance for sustainable development education”.
The historical experience gives evidence that the changes which had seemed impossible were surprisingly fast when people realized the inadequacy of value standards of the ruling elite and could clearly see the alternative future.
The concept of the Russian federation transition to sustainable development connects our common future with forming of “noosphere, the sphere of reason predicted by V.I. Vernadsky, when spiritual values and knowledge of Man living in harmony with the environment will become the measure of national and individual riches”. But it is possible only if an efficient sustainable development education system is created.
THE BAIKAL REGION AS A MODEL TARGET TERRITORY OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT OF THE WORLD SIGNIFICANCE
The Baikal region occupies the territory of the east of Siberia and the northern part of Mongolia. Its total area is over 1 million sq. km. The nucleus of the Baikal region is the Baikal natural territory. The area of Lake Baikal water surface is 31,500 sq. km.
The Russian part of the territory is distributed among the Russian Federation subjects as follows: the Republic of Buryatia – 72%, the Chita region – 21%, the Irkutsk region – 6%. The Baikal natural territory includes “the atmospheric influence zone”, the territory outside Lake Baikal watershed at the distance of 200 km westwards and north-westwards.
The Baikal region has been selected as the world model-target sustainable development territory because of the following reasons:
1. The Baikal region is at the crossroads of the most important geopolitical world axes: the world of Christianity – the world of Buddhism, Russia – China, Russia – the Asian-Pacific region, West – East. The region was the geographic homeland of numerous migration explosions which influenced the residents of the whole Eurasian continent; there a specific structure has formed which is characterized by interrelation of the western and oriental civilizations, by peaceful cohabitation of different ethnic groups; it was there that historic synthesis of different traditions and lifestyles was shaped, cultural trends of Europe and Asia crystallized themselves, there ecological and spiritual values of Buddhism were rooted. The Baikal region is a treasury of Central Asian material and spiritual culture. On its territory there were the states of the Hunns and the Mongolians, the caganates of the Churchans, the Turks, the Uigurs and the Kidans that had had broad international links both with the West and with the East. In the context of the global problems Buryatia takes an important place as the eastern gates of Russia.
2. The Baikal region and the republic of Buryatia in particular can be considered as a micro model of ecological civilization the sources of which are in the ancient Central Asian culture. It is deeply rooted in the ethnic and cultural traditions of the local people. Throughout many centuries of living in the severe Transbaikal land conditions the Buryats worked out a harmonious system of ecological outlook and strictly determined the place of man in the world order. Traditions and rites secured these systems, and worship of nature was transmitted from generation to generation. Practically all the residents of the Transbaikal land worshipped Lake Baikal and water, making a cult out of it. The human way of thinking which had been formed for centuries determined clearly what can and what cannot be done. These restrictions were ecologically grounded; they originate from the idea of cosmic unity of man and nature. Rebirth of the local population’s ecological and cultural traditions is the most important prerequisite of the Baikal region sustainable ecological development.
3. The Baikal region possesses an enormous potential of ecological wealth and services. They are ecological tourism, excursion and informative, economic hunting, medicinal and other resources and natural recreation potential on the whole. According to the data of the Siberian branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the total recreation capacity of the Baikal coastal line is 1.2 million people a year. From the point of view of the sustainable development prospects exceptional interest is aroused by the big massive of natural environment non-developed by man. In the conditions of ecological crisis the value of virgin nature as the factor of biospheric processes stabilization will be continuously growing. Nowadays the system of protected territories in the Baikal region includes 5 nature reserves (including 2 biospheric ones), 3 national parks and 22 game reserves. To great extent The Baikal has preserved the clarity of its waters thanks to low population density of its watershed. Only 2 million people live on the enormous territory. In this respect the Baikal region (with its optimal population quantity) has favourable demographic prerequisites for sustainable development.
4. The Baikal region attracts attention of the world community with its uniqueness and biological diversity. The Baikal region natural conditions, its geographic structure, the relief, the climate, the soils, the landscapes are uniquely various. Well-expressed mosaic structure of the plant world (2,500 species of flora) and landscapes in the Baikal cavity create favourable conditions for co-existence of different animal communities. Preservation of the Baikal region biological diversity is the most important factor of the world community sustainable ecological development.
5. One of the unique phenomena of the Baikal region known all over the world is the system of Cainozoic rift cavities together with Lake Baikal. The capacity of ground sediments in some places is 10 km. in the ground sediments of the lake information is ‘coded’ telling about the climatic changes and geological history of the continent for 25-30 million years. 20% of the planet’s fresh water is accumulated in the Baikal. To Preserve the Baikal for the present and future generations as the world significant source of fresh drinking water and as a natural landmark with inimitable landscapes and unique diverse fauna and flora is the historic mission of the Russian people. But the Baikal cannot be saved either by the population’s mass ecological activities or by the powers’ separate nature protection activities. The only condition of the Baikal preserving is ecologically safe development of the whole region including the Mongolian part, too, with efficient assistance of the world community.
Mantatov V.V. The Baikal region on the Way to Sustainable Development:
the Problems and the Prospects / V.V. Mantatov. – 1 page folded in 4: ill. – Ulan Ude, 2005
THE CONCEPT OF FORMING THE SUSTAINABLE ECONOMICS OF THE REPUBLIC OF BURYATIA
The Republic of Buryatia Ministry of Economic Development and Foreign Relations has worked out the Concept of forming the sustainable economics of the Republic of Buryatia. The foundation of the Concept is made up of the reports by L.V. Potapov and V.V. Mantatov at the World summit on sustainable development (Johannesburg, August 2002) and the national Russian Federation Ecological forum (Moscow, August 2003).
(The text is given by Potapov L.V. The Concept of Sustainable Regional Economics / L.V. Potapov, V.V. Mantatov // Buryatia. – 2003. –S ept. 26. – p. 3).
Sustainable development is such a type of development which allows to reach harmony of man and nature and justice in social relations is provided including that in regard to the future generations. According to the poll in transnational corporations held by the UNO experts, the question “What is sustainable development?” was answered by 86% of the respondents about complex solution of social, economic and ecological problems; 96% of respondents think that sustainable development needs partnership relations of the government, private sector and civil society.
At the World Summit on sustainable development (Johannesburg, 2002) the UNO countries’ heads agreed that the idea of sustainable development can be realized only after constructing new ethics, new economics and new civilization. We highlight that fact because the idea of sustainable development is very often represented in a simplified way, as a requirement that some parameters of modern society model should grow in quantity. “We should overcome the fragmented approach to sustainable development which implies partial solution of problems and realization of separate pilot programmes”, the Johannesburg World Summit General Secretary N. Dessayi writes. “We must think and act in broad scale – and then we’ll be able to get the economic, social and ecological feedback which is promised by sustainable development”.
Sustainable development is a revolution in values, i.e. the change of the society’s outlook paradigm. Reappraisal of values presupposes, in particular, spiritual and creative lifestyle instead of consuming attitude towards the world. It is proved that energetic capacity of social production and, in the long run, entropy of the environment will be sinking in the course of the people’s spiritual growth. Nowadays not only philosophers but also technocrats say more and more often that only considerable cultural progress and spiritual development (moral law) will help avoid the destructive development dynamics and ecological catastrophe.
The originator of the noosphere theory V.I. Vernadsky wrote: “Human personality determines everything”. According to the data of the World Bank research the human capital makes up 64% of a country’s development potential, the natural capital makes up 24% and the physical capital makes up 16%. Human potential becomes the main resource of the new (sustainable) economics in the information epoch. Sustainable development of the society depends not only on the physical factors of economic growth but also on the degree of the people’s spiritual and intellectual development. As the western scientists’ research show it is possible to double the national wealth because of human potential development on the condition of natural resources consumption double reducing.
The concept of sustainable economics represents a principally new approach to nature usage including two important aspects: low wastes production (and wasteless production) and reusing (and recycling) of resources. Sustainable economics is oriented at the resources saving and maximum utilization of production and household wastes. To reach these objectives the priority development of hi-tech industries is necessary, as well as introduction of high (resource saving, ecologically safe) technologies into production.
As far as the main means of creating sustainable economics is “high technology”, the foundation of it is “high culture”. Sustainable economics is based on cultural traditions and moral values. “It is quite obvious”, the President of the Russian Academy of Sciences O.L. Kuznetsov writes, “that the real problems of sustainable development provision can be solved only on the base of high spiritual level of the society. All other things are instruments”.
There is a direct connection between the culture of the regional society and economic growth. Economics is determined by social and cultural conditions and as if “installed” into the local ecosystem. The sustainable development concept considers economics in its broad social, cultural and ecological context.
Let’s go further. It is impossible to create sustainable economics without transforming the market. The nucleus of sustainable economics is made up with the ethically oriented market, i.e. the market the prices of which reflect the social and economic expenditures. Economic growth priorities are being changed. The highest priorities of sustainable economics are Man and Nature. The index of human potential development is calculated on the base of three indicators: a) longevity measured as the expected life duration by birth; b) the achieved level of education measured as a combination of the index of adult population literacy and the quota of the citizens at the age under 24 studying at education institutions; c) living standards measured on the base of the real gross domestic product per capita.
As for ecological indicators of sustainable economics, they are calculated on the base of ecological efficiency principle. The later characterizes such economic system under which ecological management provides growth of surplus value together with reducing the resources consumption and together with reducing wastes and pollution. To make the parameters of the ecological component of sustainable economics indicators similar to efficiency coefficient are used, such as consumption of power per production unit, wastes production per capita and per production unit etc.
In the Republic of Buryatia degradation of technological production system is going on. In such conditions even moderate economic development leads to the environment destruction. Poaching and natural resources profiteering occur everywhere. The natural usage control is weakened; the standards determining maximum permissible influence on the environment are not followed by some works of the republic. Ecological mechanisms of rational nature usage are not regulated. The press of “wild capitalism” on the Baikal nature is growing. The population employment problems become critical. Catastrophic state of the population’s health is caused by worsening social and ecological life conditions.
The Republic of Buryatia possesses all the necessary natural prerequisites for sustainable development. However, the Buryat society is in the middle of anthropological crisis now. The process of physical and spiritual pauperization is going on. Until the people’s needs for the most necessary things are not satisfied, it is impossible to prevent nature destruction. The environment cannot be made better under the conditions of poverty. But the poverty cannot be destroyed without sustainable development of economics, without advanced development of science and technology.
The experience of nature protection activity showed that purely ecological approach to the Baikal problem solution has exhausted itself. The mistake was in the fact that the nature protection problems were being solved without social context or the local population’s vital problems being taken into consideration. A new approach to the Baikal problem is necessary which is connected with economics transformation based on “high technologies”, with lifestyle and behaviour changes and revival of spiritual and just social relations.
THE REPUBLIC OF BURYATIA SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY
It is common knowledge that strategy is a system of conceptually grounded priorities and decisions, the consistent realization of which allows to reach broad-scale and long-term objective.
The strategic objective of the Republic of Buryatia development is to construct the information society with sustainable development. It is the society of scientific knowledge and high technologies able to provide the conditions to form educated and cultured citizens who can carry out a complex of social functions of their time; it is the society understanding the necessity of rational self-restriction of energetic and material expenses for the sake of future generations; it is the society providing man’s security and recognizing the necessity to take care of human dignity of all its members; it is a noospheric society where the measure of the national and individual wealth will be the spiritual values and knowledge of man living in harmony with the environment. Achieving this large-scale long-term objective presupposes systematic solution of social, ecological and economic problems of sustainable development. The highest priority of the republic Strategy of development is Man and first of all rise of living standards and the quality of life. As for the physical capital, the Strategy is aimed at balanced economic growth (with doubling of the gross regional product by 2010).
The Strategy presupposes deep structural reorganization of the regional economics on the basis of re-equipment of productive works with resource saving, ecologically clean and high technologies, on the basis of reducing the works damaging the environment most of all; the development of production oriented primarily on recycled resources; the development of informatization and new economic production; the development of small business, the tourism sphere and using the republic of Buryatia recreation resources.
The Strategy presupposes rational usage of the richest natural resources of Buryatia which are of the national significance. Thus, Buryatia possesses 31.9% of the Russian stock of zinc, 24% of lead, 27% of tungsten, 37% of molybdenum ores etc. the natural capital has been estimated and its role in the process of transition of the Republic of Buryatia towards sustainable development. The gross cost of prospected and estimated stores of Buryatia minerals is $135 milliard.
The Strategy ecological objective is to preserve Lake Baikal ecosystem for the present and future generations. We think that it is the general problem of the Republic of Buryatia development. In connection with this there is a problem facing us: how can we transform “the Baikal problem” from the limiting factor into the powerful impulse for our region sustainable development? One of the ways to solve this problem is organizing a special economic zone of the tourist-recreation type.
The world summit on sustainable development in Johannesburg in August-September 2002 proposed an innovation mechanism of realizing the strategy of sustainable development in the form of “strategic partnerships” of the governments, big business (corporations) and social organizations. We think it to be advisable to work out a complex project of organizing “The world significant Baikal model-target territory of sustainable development” (authorized by the UNO) as such a “partnership initiative”. It is known that the idea of such project was first proposed by Academician V.A. Koptyug in 1993.
On October 22, 2002 an agreement was signed in Moscow on cooperation of the Republic of Buryatia Government and the Russian UNO Assistance Association to carry out this project on international level after the UNO course. The 37th Plenary Assembly of the UNO Associations World Federation (Barcelona, May 11, 2003) adopted the resolution: “To support the Russian Federation UNO Assistance Association proposal initiated by the Buryatia regional section of the Russian Federation UNO Assistance Association and East Siberian technological university sustainable development institute – to recognize Lake Baikal and the Baikal natural territory as a target territory of sustainable development of the world significance within the UNO programmes on sustainable development. Taking into consideration the fact that Lake Baikal contains 20% of the fresh water world stock, take under protection Lake Baikal and the adjacent territory.”
The Baikal natural territory is the most suitable territory for the social experiment in realization of the sustainable development objectives on the global and regional levels. The Baikal natural territory is a strategic important region both in geoecological and geopolitical aspects. There “the world culture” has deep historical roots and great prospects. The Baikal natural territory has a sufficient reserve of ecological sustainability. There big territories are preserved which are practically not touched with economic activity; there ethnocultural traditions of indigenous people are preserved, relevant to sustainable development ethics; there are no signs of over-consumption, no signs of over-population – the main destabilizing development factors. There a great experience of international cooperation is accumulated. The Baikal territory takes a special place in the world space as the centre of biospheric stabilization. Some economists propose the idea of transferring the inter-continental centre of world economics to the region of Lake Baikal.
Taking into consideration these and other circumstances, we propose to organize in Ulan Ude the Baikal forum on sustainable development authorized by the UNO (UNEP, UNESCO, Commission on sustainable development and others) with participation of representatives of Russian and international business. Guided by the World summit in Johannesburg recommendations we should present the corresponding application to the UNO to organize partnership of the Russian Federation Baikal subjects administrations, big corporations and international social organizations.
In our opinion, the biggest obstacle in the course of the Baikal region transition to sustainable development is lack of financial resources to provide Lake Baikal protection. It concerns the Republic of Buryatia which is occupied by 80 % of Lake Baikal watershed. Because of financial products deficit the objects of nature protection construction are reduced, ecologically safe technologies are hardly introduced into productive activity. Ulan Ude takes one of the leading places among the most polluted cities in Russia.
Macroeconomic research Institute of the Russian Federation Ministry of economic development and trade did the work of defining the additional loading on the Republic of Buryatia economics in connection with the necessity to carry out the nature protection activities in Lake Baikal basin: they are estimated as 6.9 milliard rubles in 2003. Transfers from the federal budget do not reimburse the annually growing losses for Buryatia which are connected with the special economic regimen on the Baikal natural territory.
The total sum of accumulated non-compensated losses of Buryatia has made up 16.6 milliard rubles since the adoption of the Federal law on Lake Baikal, which makes up 42% of the gross regional product. The growth of ecological expenses leads to decrease of the works’ financial potential; in its turn, decrease of investment and financial resources deprives the republic of the opportunity to overcome the signs of backwardness (state subsided region). By the integral indicator of the level of social-economic development the Republic of Buryatia is a region with low level of development. Nowadays more than half of the republic’s population live in poverty. So the social development of our republic depends directly on “the Baikal problem” solution.
Everything is interrelated in this world: the environment cannot be made better in poverty, and poverty cannot be eliminated without organizing a stable financial system. It is no mere chance that the World summit on sustainable development in Johannesburg admitted the role of financial mobilization as the principal step to be taken to make the 21st century the century of sustainable development. There are financial resources for transition to sustainable development in the world: only 0.05% international taxes on currency operations could give over $150 milliard a year. Now excessive financial profiteering make up 95% of the total amount of currency operations. Operations at financial markets 70 times exceed goods and services trade. Only 2-3% of everyday money circulation are used for paying the accounts, the rest are financial bargains. The UNO experts think that it is necessary to direst this flow into the mainstream of sustainable development.
The reality is that politics and finance represent an integrated unity nowadays. To get financial support for Lake Baikal protection from the world community, it is necessary to present geopolitical foundation for sustainable development of the Baikal region as the territory of world significance. The question is that we can use the factor of globalization for the solution of “the Baikal problem”. The declarations of World summits on environment and sustainable development (Rio de Janeiro, Johannesburg) envisage compensation for the regions with rich ecological potential for their refusal from economic use of the natural capital. In accordance with these declarations we think it desirable to organize the World Fund of the Baikal natural territory sustainable development. The second way to solve the problem of financing the region sustainable development can be introduction of special taxation regimen on the Baikal natural territory. The essential elements of that regimen should be : stimulating ecological businesses with preferential taxation; organizing the state bank of natural resources with the right to issue securities guaranteed by the region natural resources; forming ecological services market; introduction of the rent taxation system, as well as the “tax - security” system.
- preferential taxation of the works producing ecologically clean products and using non-traditional power sources;
- giving additional preferences and guarantees to the investors into “the Baikal project of sustainable development” including the capitals amnesty which have been exported abroad in the recent 10 years; giving preference credits and low-percentage loans to the works and firms for developing low-waste production and organizing nature protection industry;
- working out the normative basis of the territory sustainable development (federal and regional laws: “On the Republic of Buryatia Transition to Sustainable Development”, “On Rent Payments”, “On the Security”, “On Wastes”, “The Baikal Charter” and others).
- organizing specialized banks and trust funds using the mechanism of re-orienting some foreign debts of Russia to western countries towards protection of Lake Baikal, the World heritage site.
The main condition of sustainable development is man’s spiritual and creative potential. As ancient men of wisdom said, “All the beginnings and all the ends are in man”. No reforms, no development is possible in a spiritless immoral society. Unfortunately, social research of human potential fix the tendency of lower cultural and moral level of people, the facts of social irresponsibility and group egotism of state power and business representatives.
The UNO Secretary General Kofi Annan declared from the high tribune at the World summit in Johannesburg: “All the hopes of mankind are embodied in one word, and this word is responsibility!” The question is if we can understand the growing role and responsibility of each person.