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Global Possible

Resources, development and the new century

A broad overview of the state of the world's threatened resources that draws evidence from experiences in many countries to propose realistic and politically practical corrective measures.

Executive Summary

The Global Possible project was the first undertaking of the World Resources Institute (WRI). In May of 1984, WRI staged an international meeting at Wye, Maryland, to take a fresh look at global resource and population problems and opportunities. Wye, a converted farmstead in the beautiful flatlands that gird the Cheasapeake estuary, may not have become another Yalta or Bretton Woods, but something important did happen there.

For the seventy-five experts and leaders from twenty countries who participated, the Global Possible Conference demonstrated that there are a host of feasible and often tested solutions to the environmental and resource issues comprising some of the most important challenges facing societies in the decades ahead.

In the process, the conference produced an unusually broad assessment of global-scale resource, population, and environmental problems and the policy shifts and initiatives to address them.

This book contains the outcome -- principally the papers commissioned for the Global Possible Conference, revised in view of the expert working sessions that took place there. Its chapters not only represent analyses by some of the leading authorities in the fields of natural resources and population, they also impart an interdisciplinary view that reveals more than the sum of its parts.

Perhaps more important, this book gives grounds for informed optimism about how the world's governments, businesses, and citizens can make headway against an array of difficult environmental challenges that, if unaddressed, threaten not only the quality of life but also prospects for sustainable development and the political stability of societies.

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