A single global culture and a unique set of world institutional arrangements, based on an ever-increasing consumption of natural resources and environmental pollution is not sustainable nor can be sustained. In this paper some key ideological and moral components of the urgently required changes towards a culture of sustainability are examined, together with the implications, difficulties and requirements for its embodiment both in individual practices and in social institutions. In particular, it is argued that the values and attitudes which promote the protection and integration of diversity - both cultural and biological - and restrain the current trends in natural resource consumption and environmental pollution are to be developed by the citizenry if global societies are to survive. In the domains of political participation, rational dialogue and civic virtue, sustainability is akin to the inherited republican ideals of liberty, equality and fraternity. Sustainability must now become an indispensable fourth moral pillar in the structuration of society and, in particular, in the coming world republican polity, which will necessarily take account of the diversity of cultures and institutions. It is shown that, otherwise, the now developing unsustainable global society would otherwise cease to exist.
- Cultural and biological diversity
- Ecological austerity
- Environmental sociology
- Global sustainability culture and institutions
- Moral structure of society