Since the UNCED meeting in Rio, Western governments are obliged to develop and institute new policies for sustainable development. Of the Western delegates to that meeting, the Netherlands had one of the most far-sighted development programmes ever devised by a Western government.
Different Worlds offers a critique of that policy, from the perspective of North-South environmentalism.
Chapters 1 to 4 describe the Dutch policy on sustainable development. Chapters 5 and 6 address the relation between agriculture, the debt problem and the environment. Chapter 7 looks at the nature of sustainable development, the role of women, and the effect of the market economy.
The author offers a detailed critique of the dominant patterns of development, seen through the eyes of the many recipients of aid whose stories are told here; compares official government positions on aid and economics with those of the development lobby and aid agencies; examines the contribution to the development debate by people from the environmental, development, women's and peace movements; and perceives the major destructive force in the world today to be the overriding power of the Western culture and economy, destroying the diversity on which the survival of this planet and its people depends.