Christopher Columbus' situation and the challenge of understanding today's global environmental issues
This paper highlights the process of selecting a long term research agenda in the environmental-development field. What are the criteria to be used for the understanding of what is important in our phase of history? In order to dwell on this process somewhat from the outside, the entry-point chosen is Columbus' world and challenges 500 years ago. In his time the problem was not environmental issues; however, at a more general level an analysis of the interplay between what is supposed to be known, the ideological connotations, the political ambitions, and the economical and technical capacities, provide interesting parallels to our time.
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