Despite the optimism of the Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, the politics of environmental sustainable development has reached an impasse. Why do issues of environmental protection continue to take a back seat to economic competition, particularly in the international realm? Once the environmental problem was widely recognised, it was held that consensus could be reached. In practice, however, the development of sustainability had often continued to merely extend earlier technocratic practices and solutions, which fail to take into consideration the specific cultural questions. This text seeks to place the question of the dynamics of environmental crisis within a socio-cultural dimension of the existing economic and political institutions. It argues for a need to find a new balance between a theoretical analysis of the debate and an appreciation of local circumstances, norms and knowledge. Politically, it implies an implicit understanding of the way in which we live together with nature.