Ecological sustainability in a developing country such as South Africa? A philosophical and ethical inquiry.
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Although South Africa has adopted the notion of ecologically sustainable development not only as a human right entrenched in its Constitution, but also as one of its major policy objectives, there are major practical, conceptual, and ethical stumbling blocks impeding the achievement of this goal. In this article we investigate the conceptual and some of the ethical problems, including apparent conflicts with other pressing goals such as the alleviation of poverty. We conclude that the concept of ecologically sustainable development has a substantive core, and that radical reforms of human systems allow this right and goal to be reconciled with other human needs.