Pablo Gutman is Senior Policy Advisor with the Macroeconomics Program Office of WWF (WWF-MPO). For over thirty years, he has lectured, consulted, and conducted research on environment and development throughout Latin America, working with international and local agencies, academic institutions, businesses, and NGOs. He has worked with the World Commission of Dams, led the first management plan for the Panama Canal watershed, and been a member of the Global Scenario Group and of Argentina’s National Council of Scientific Research. He has also consulted for the World Bank and directed the Center for Urban and Regional Studies in Buenos Aires. He is a graduate in Economics from the University of Buenos Aires and in Environmental Economics from the University of London.
The planetary phase of history has begun, but the future shape of global society remains profoundly uncertain. Though perhaps improbable, a shift toward a planetary civilization of enriched lives, human solidarity, and environmental sustainability is still possible. This treatise examines the historic roots of this fateful crossroads, analyzes alternative scenarios that can emerge from contemporary forces and contradictions, and points to strategies and choices for advancing a Great Transition. It synthesizes the insights of the Global Scenario Group, convened in 1995 by the Tellus Institute and Stockholm Environment Institute to explore the requirements for a sustainable and desirable future.
This paper analyzes the prospects for sustainability within the confines of Conventional Worlds scenarios. The shift to more sustainable forms of development must at least begin at this level, although we will likely need more fundamental social changes to complete the transition to a sustainable global society. The paper introduces social and environmental targets as well as strategic policies for reaching them. It shows both the great potential for progress and the daunting challenges within a growth-driven development paradigm.