Challenges to Sustainable Development and the role of Religions and Value-Based Approaches

Nawal El-Gack

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    The dominant development paradigms tend to focus on wealth, production and consumption. They rely solely on science and technology to resolve challenges related to development and environmental conservation while dismissing local knowledge. Indigenous values, traditions and moral responsibilities concerning the preservation of the earth’s resources are not fully accommodated in sustainable development strategies. In practice the roles, strengths, and essence of traditional knowledge are excluded from development interventions. Religion and beliefs, in particular, significantly influence billions of lives, in providing a respectful code of conduct and advice. If traditional knowledge and spiritual values are neglected, advanced technologies and discoveries alone will not ensure the sustainability of the earth’s resources. In this regard, this paper addresses some challenges to sustainable development, specifically, the excessive use of resources and the impact of conflict and war on development. In addressing these issues the paper will devote attention to Islamic teachings, which refer explicitly to natural resources and how mankind should utilize and protect these during peace and war. The paper provides suggestions on how religions and indigenous values can contribute to resolving current environmental problems.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)29-37
    Number of pages9
    JournalInternational Journal of Sustainable Development
    Issue number8
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


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