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Sustainability science

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Sustainability science emerged in the 21st century as a new academic discipline.[1] This new field of science was officially introduced with a "Birth Statement" at the World Congress "Challenges of a Changing Earth 2001" in Amsterdam organized by the International Council for Science (ICSU), the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP), the International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change[2] and the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP). The field reflects a desire to give the generalities and broad-based approach of "sustainability" a stronger analytic and scientific underpinning as it "brings together scholarship and practice, global and local perspectives from north and south, and disciplines across the natural and social sciences, engineering, and medicine".[3] Ecologist William C. Clark proposes that it can be usefully thought of as "neither 'basic' nor 'applied' research but as a field defined by the problems it addresses rather than by the disciplines it employs" and that it "serves the need for advancing both knowledge and action by creating a dynamic bridge between the two".[4]

The field is focused on examining the interactions between human, environmental, and engineered systems to understand and contribute to solutions for complex challenges that threaten the future of humanity and the integrity of the life support systems of the planet, such as climate change, biodiversity loss, pollution and land and water degradation.[5]

Sustainability science, like sustainability itself, derives some impetus from the concepts of sustainable development and environmental science.[6] Sustainability science provides a critical framework for sustainability[7] while sustainability measurement provides the evidence-based quantitative data needed to guide sustainability governance.[8]

Definition[edit]

Consensual definition of sustainability science is as elusive as the definition of "sustainability" or "sustainable development". In an overview presented on its website in 2008 the Sustainability Science Program at Harvard University described the field in the following way, stressing its interdisciplinarity:

'Sustainability science' is problem-driven, interdisciplinary scholarship that seeks to facilitate the design, implementation, and evaluation of effective interventions that foster shared prosperity and reduced poverty while protecting the environment. It is defined by the problems it addresses rather than the disciplines it employs. It thus draws as needed from multiple disciplines of the natural, social, medical and engineering sciences, from the professions, and from the knowledge of practice.[9]

Susan W. Kieffer and colleagues, in 2003, suggested, more specifically, that sustainability science is:

... the cultivation, integration, and application of knowledge about Earth systems gained especially from the holistic and historical sciences (such as geology, ecology, climatology, oceanography) coordinated with knowledge about human interrelationships gained from the social sciences and humanities, in order to evaluate, mitigate, and minimize the consequences, regionally and worldwide, of human impacts on planetary systems and on societies across the globe and into the future – that is, in order that humans can be knowledgeable Earth stewards.[10]

It has been noted that the new paradigm

... must encompass different magnitudes of scales (of time, space, and function), multiple balances (dynamics), multiple actors (interests) and multiple failures (systemic faults).[11]

Others take a much broader view of sustainability science, emphasizing the need to analyze the root causes of the fundamental unsustainability of the prevailing economic system, such as the emphasis on growth as key to solving political and social problems and advancing society's well-being. In a 2012 article entitled "Sustainability Science Needs to Include Sustainable Consumption," published in Environment: Science and Policy for Sustainable Development, Halina Brown argues that sustainability science must include the study of the sociology of material consumption and the structure of consumerist society, the role of technology in aggravating the unsustainable social practices, as well as in solving the problems they create, the macroeconomic theories that presuppose economic growth as a necessary condition for advancing societal well-being, and others.[12]

Broad objectives[edit]

The case for making research and development an important component of sustainable development strategies was embraced by many international scientific organizations in the mid-1980s, promoted by the Brundtland Commission's report Our Common Future in 1987, and noted in the Agenda 21 plan that emerged from the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in 1992 and further developed at the World Summit on Sustainable Development, held in Johannesburg in 2002.

The topics of the following sub-headings indicate recurring themes that are addressed in the literature of sustainability science.[13] In 2010 a compendium of basic papers in this new discipline was published as Readings in Sustainability Science and Technology, edited by Robert Kates, with a preface by William Clark.[14] The 2012 Commentary by Halina Brown extensively expands the scope of that seminal publication.[12] This is work in progress. The 2012 Encyclopedia of Sustainability Science and Technology was created as a collaboration of over 1000 scientists to provide peer-reviewed entries covering sustainability research and policy evaluations of technology.[15]

Knowledge structuring of issues[edit]

Knowledge structuring has been identified as an essential first step in the effort to acquire a comprehensive view of sustainability issues which are both complex and interconnected. This is needed as a response to the requirements of academia, industry and government.

Coordination of data[edit]

The key research and data for sustainability are sourced from many scientific disciplines, topics and organisations. A major part of knowledge structuring will entail building up the tools that provide an "overview" of what is known. Sustainability science can construct and coordinate a framework within which the vast amount of data can be easily accessed.

Interdisciplinary approaches[edit]

The attempt, by sustainability science, to understand the integrated "whole" of planetary and human systems requires cooperation between scientific, social and economic disciplines, public and private sectors, academia and government. In short it requires a massive global cooperative effort and one major task of sustainability science is to assist integrated cross-disciplinary coordination.


Contents[edit]

Geoscience[edit]

Geoscience is the study of the Earth and all fields of Earth sciences. Geoscience is a broad term that includes various disciplines such as: geology, hydrology, geological engineering, volcanology, and environmental geology.


Geology and Sustainable Development Goals[edit]

Geologists are very crucial to the sustainability movement. They hold a special knowledge and deep understanding of how Earth recycles and maintains the sustainability of itself[16]. To gain a better understanding of how sustainability and geology are closely related, there is the definition: the notable changes in geologic processes that land between how Earth was before humans existed and currently exist[17]. Therefore, the relationship between these two sciences is not a new idea but also an old concept[18]. They are very similar in that they have many limitations due to gradual changes. However, there is an issue between this relationship. Geologists don’t always find themselves centered with sustainable thoughts. One of the reasons for this is that many geologists can’t agree on the issue with the Anthropocene Epoch debate[19] which focuses on how humans can adapt to the environmental changes in comparison to how these changes are neglected.[20] Regardless of Geologists not always finding themselves centered with this thinking, society has made an effort to link the two by creating Sustainable Development Goals. These goals however, do not overlap with many of the jobs that geologists perform.

Geology is a science that is critical in understanding many of modern societies environmental challenges[21]. This science is important to understand because it has a major role to play in deciding if humans can live sustainably on Earth. Having a lot to do with energy, water, climate change, and natural hazards, geology can be used to interpret and solve a wide variety of problems[22]. However, few geologists make any contributions towards a more sustainable future[23]. Many geologists end up working for oil and gas or mining companies which are typically not focused on sustainability. In order to be more sustainably minded, geologists must collaborate with many and all types of Earth sciences. For example, if geologists collaborated with sciences like ecology, zoology, physical geography, biology, and environmental sciences as[24] well as engineers they could gain a better understanding of the impact their work could have on the environment[25]. By working with more fields of study and broadening their knowledge of the environment geologists and their work could be more environmentally conscious.

To ensure that sustainability and geology can maintain their relationship, it is essential that schools globally make an effort to add geology into curriculum [26]. and society incorporates the international development goals[27]. A misconception many people have is that geology is the study of rocks however it is much more complex. Geology is the study of the Earth, how Earth works, and what it means for life on Earth[28]. Understanding the Earth and its natural processes opens many doors for understanding how humans affect the Earth and ways to protect it. In order to allow more people to understand this field of study, more schools must begin to advertise this known information. When more people hold this knowledge, it will then be easier to incorporate the international development goals and continue to better the Earth

Journals[edit]

List of sustainability science programs[edit]

In recent years, more and more university degree programs have developed formal curricula which address issues of sustainability science and global change:

Undergraduate programmes in sustainability science[edit]

Course University Location Country Continent
Bachelor of Applied Science (Sustainable Science) Universiti Malaysia Kelantan Jeli, Kelantan Malaysia Asia
B.A. or B.S. Sustainability Arizona State University Phoenix, Arizona  United States North America
B.S. Ecosystem Science and Sustainability Colorado State University Fort Collins, CO  United States North America
B.S. Sustainability Studies Florida Institute of Technology Melbourne, Florida  United States North America
B.S. or B.S/M.S. Sustainability Science Montclair State University Montclair, New Jersey  United States North America
B.Sc. Environmental Sciences Leuphana University of Lüneburg Lüneburg, Lower Saxony  Germany Europe
B.Sc. Environmental and Sustainability Studies Leuphana University of Lüneburg Lüneburg, Lower Saxony  Germany Europe
B.Sc. Environment & Sustainability Keele University Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire  United Kingdom Europe
B.Sc. Sustainability Science Solent University Southampton, Hampshire  United Kingdom Europe
M.Sci. Sustainability Science Solent University Southampton, Hampshire  United Kingdom Europe
B.Sc. Global Sustainability Science Utrecht University Utrecht, Utrecht Province  Netherlands Europe

Graduate degree programmes in sustainability science[edit]

Course University Location Country Continent
MS/MA/MSUS/EMSL/MSL/PhD. Sustainability (with or without Energy/Complex Adaptive Systems concentration) [38] Arizona State University - School of Sustainability Tempe, Arizona  United States North America
M.Sc. Regenerative Studies [39] California State Polytechnic University - Pomona Pomona, California  United States North America
M.Sc. Sustainability Science [40] Columbia University New York, New York  United States North America
PhD, M.Sc. Ecosystem Sustainability Colorado State University Fort Collins, Colorado  United States North America
M.Sc. Sustainability Science Montclair State University Montclair, New Jersey  United States North America
M.S. Natural Resources & Environment University of Michigan School for Environment and Sustainability [41] Ann Arbor, Michigan  United States North America
M.L.A Landscape Architecture University of Michigan School for Environment and Sustainability [42] Ann Arbor, Michigan  United States North America
Ph.D. Resource Ecology Management and Resource Policy and Behavior University of Michigan School for Environment and Sustainability [43] Ann Arbor, Michigan  United States North America
PhD (Sustainability Science) Universiti Malaysia Kelantan Jeli, Kelantan Malaysia Asia
M.Sc (Sustainability Science) Universiti Malaysia Kelantan Jeli, Kelantan Malaysia Asia
M.Sc (Dual Degree Programme in Innovation, Human Development and Sustainability) University of Geneva / Geneva-Tsinghua Initiative Geneva, Switzerland and Beijing, China Switzerland and China Europe and Asia
M.S. Sustainability: Science and Society Brock University St. Catharines, Ontario  Canada North America
M.Sc. Sustainability Science Leuphana University of Lüneburg Lüneburg, Lower Saxony  Germany Europe
M.Sc. in Sustainability Management Program University of Toronto Mississauga Mississauga, Ontario  Canada North America
M.B.A Sustainability Management Leuphana University of Lüneburg Lüneburg, Lower Saxony  Germany Europe
M.Phil. Engineering for Sustainable Development University of Cambridge Cambridge, Cambridgeshire  United Kingdom Europe
M.Sc. Sustainability University of Southampton Southampton, Hampshire  United Kingdom Europe
M.Sc. Environmental Sustainability & Green Technology Keele University Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire  United Kingdom Europe
M.Sc. Environmental Technology Imperial College London Kensington, London  United Kingdom Europe
M.Sc. Sustainability Science and Solutions Lappeenranta University of Technology Lappeenranta, South Karelia  Finland Europe
M.Sc. Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science Lund University Lund, Scania Sweden Europe
M.Sc. Social-Ecological Resilience for Sustainable Development Stockholm University Stockholm, Stockholm  Sweden Europe
PhD Sustainability Science Stockholm University Stockholm, Stockholm  Sweden Europe
Master of Environment and Sustainability Monash University Melbourne, Victoria  Australia Oceania
M.Sc. Sustainability Science and Policy Maastricht University Maastricht, Limburg  Netherlands Europe
M.Sc. Sustainability University of Sao Paulo Sao Paulo  Brazil South America
Ph.D. Sustainability University of Sao Paulo Sao Paulo  Brazil South America
Ph.D. Sustainability Science Lund University Lund, Scania Province  Sweden Europe
M.Sc. Environmental Studies & Sustainability Science Lund University Lund, Scania Province  Sweden Europe
M.Sc. Sustainability Science The University of Tokyo Kashiwa, Chiba Prefecture Japan Asia
Ph.D. Sustainability Science The University of Tokyo Kashiwa, Chiba Prefecture Japan Asia

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kates, R.; Clark, W.; Corell, R.; Hall, J.; Jaeger, C.; et al. (2001). "Sustainability science". Science. 292 (5517): 641–642. doi:10.1126/science.1059386. PMID 11330321.
  2. ^ http://www.ihdp.unu.edu/ Archived 10 December 2010 at the Wayback Machine IHDP of the United Nations University
  3. ^ Clark, W.C., & Dickson, N. M. 2003. Sustainability science: The emerging research program. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 100(14): 8059–8061.
  4. ^ Clark, W.C. 2007. "Sustainability Science: A room of its own". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 104: 1737–1738; published online 6 February 2007, 10.1073/pnas.0611291104
  5. ^ "Sustainability Science". Task Force on Conceptual Foundations. Earth System Governance Project. earthsystemgovernance.net. Retrieved 2017-07-16.
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  8. ^ "Sustainability Accounting in UK Local Government". The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. Archived from the original on 11 April 2008. Retrieved 18 June 2008.
  9. ^ "Overview". Sustainable Science Program. Harvard University. Archived from the original on 19 November 2008. Retrieved 16 July 2017.
  10. ^ Kieffer, S.W., Barton, P., Palmer, A.R., Reitan, P.H., & Zen, E. 2003. "Megascale events: Natural disasters and human behavior". Geological Society of America Abstracts with programs: 432.
  11. ^ Reitan, P. 2005. Sustainability science – and what’s needed beyond science. Sustainability: Science, Practice, & Policy 1(1):77-80. /vol1iss1/communityessay.reitan.html Archived 2007-01-24 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ a b Brown, Halina Szejnwald (24 January 2012). "Sustainability Science Needs to Include Sustainable Consumption". Environment: Science and Policy for Sustainable Development. 54 (1): 20–25. doi:10.1080/00139157.2012.639598.
  13. ^ Kauffmann, Joanne 2009. Advancing sustainability science: report on the International Conference on Sustainability Science (ICSS) 2009. Sustainability Science 4: 233–242.
  14. ^ Kates, Robert W., ed. (2010). Readings in Sustainability Science and Technology. CID Working Paper No. 213. Center for International Development, Harvard University. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University, December 2010. Abstract and PDF file available on the Harvard Kennedy School website; retrieved 2017-07-16.
  15. ^ Meyers, R. (2012). Encyclopedia of sustainability science and technology. New York: Springer.
  16. ^ Mora, Germán (December 2013). "The Need for Geologists in Sustainable Development". The Geological Society of America. 23 (12): 26–27. doi:10.1130/GSATG185GW.1. Retrieved 13 May 2020.
  17. ^ Savina, Mary. "Geology and Sustainability" (PDF). Retrieved 13 May 2020.
  18. ^ Metzger, Ellen; Blockstein, David; Callahan, Caitlin (May 2017). "Interdisciplinary Teaching and Sustainability: An Introduction". Geoscience Education. 65 (2): 81–85. Bibcode:2017JGeEd..65...81M. doi:10.5408/1089.9995-65.2.81. Retrieved 13 May 2020.
  19. ^ Stewart, Iain; Gill, Joel (April 2017). "Social Geology - Integrating Sustainability Concepts into Earth Sciences". Proceedings of the Geologists' Association. 128 (2): 165–172. doi:10.1016/j.pgeola.2017.01.002. Retrieved 13 May 2020.
  20. ^ Hickmann, Thomas; Partzsch, Lena; Pattberg, Philipp; Weiland, Sabine (3 September 2018). The Anthropocene Debate and Political Science. New Yrok: Routledge. pp. 1–278. ISBN 978-0-8153-8614-8. Retrieved 13 May 2020.
  21. ^ Gosselin, David; Manduca, Cathy; Bralower, Tim; Mogk, David (18 June 2013). "Transforming the Teaching of Geoscience and Sustainability". Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union. 94 (25): 221–222. Bibcode:2013EOSTr..94..221G. doi:10.1002/2013EO250002.
  22. ^ Gosselin, David; Manduca, Cathy; Bralower, Tim; Mogk, David (18 June 2013). "Transforming the Teaching of Geoscience and Sustainability". Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union. 94 (25): 221–222. Bibcode:2013EOSTr..94..221G. doi:10.1002/2013EO250002.
  23. ^ Stewart, Iain; Gill, Joel (April 2017). "Social Geology - Integrating Sustainability Concepts into Earth Sciences". Proceedings of the Geologists' Association. 128 (2): 165–172. doi:10.1016/j.pgeola.2017.01.002. Retrieved 13 May 2020.
  24. ^ Schlosser, P; Pfirman, S (2012). "Earth Science for Sustainability". Nature Geoscience. 5 (9): 587–588. Bibcode:2012NatGe...5..587S. doi:10.1038/ngeo1567. Retrieved 13 May 2020.
  25. ^ Stewart, Iain; Gill, Joel (April 2017). "Social Geology - Integrating Sustainability Concepts into Earth Sciences". Proceedings of the Geologists' Association. 128 (2): 165–172. doi:10.1016/j.pgeola.2017.01.002. Retrieved 13 May 2020.
  26. ^ Stewart, Iain (31 March 2016). "Sustainable Geoscience". Nature Geoscience. 9 (4): 262. Bibcode:2016NatGe...9..262S. doi:10.1038/ngeo2678. Retrieved 13 May 2020.
  27. ^ Gill, Joel (1 March 2017). "Geology and the Sustainable Development Goals". International Union of Geological Sciences. 40 (1): 70–76. doi:10.18814/epiiugs/2017/v40i1/017010. Retrieved 13 May 2020.
  28. ^ Stewart, Iain (31 March 2016). "Sustainable Geoscience". Nature Geoscience. 9 (4): 262. Bibcode:2016NatGe...9..262S. doi:10.1038/ngeo2678. Retrieved 13 May 2020.
  29. ^ Consilience. Accessed: 19 May 2018.
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  33. ^ [2] The journal Sustainability Science
  34. ^ Sustainability: science, practice, policy journal
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  37. ^ "GAIA". Oekom.de. Archived from the original on 20 May 2014. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
  38. ^ "Graduate degrees and programs".
  39. ^ "MSRS Master of Science in Regenerative Studies | Lyle Center for Regenerative Studies | College of Environmental Design - Cal Poly Pomona".
  40. ^ "MS Master of Science in Sustainability Science | Earth Institute | School of Professional Studies - Columbia University".
  41. ^ "Master of Science | Environment + Sustainability | University of Michigan SEAS".
  42. ^ "Master of Landscape Architecture | Environment + Sustainability | University of Michigan SEAS".
  43. ^ "PHD | Environment + Sustainability | University of Michigan SEAS".

Further reading[edit]

  • Bernd Kasemir, Jill Jager, Carlo C. Jaeger, and Matthew T. Gardner (eds) (2003). Public participation in sustainability science, a handbook. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. ISBN 978-0-521-52144-4
  • Kajikawa Yuya (2008), "Research core and framework of sustainability science", Sustainability Science, n° 3, pp. 215–239, Springer DOI 10.1007/s11625-008-0053-1
  • Kates, Robert W., ed. (2010). Readings in Sustainability Science and Technology. CID Working Paper No. 213. Center for International Development, Harvard University. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University, December 2010. Abstract and PDF file available on the Harvard Kennedy School website
  • Jackson, T. (2009), "Prosperity Without Growth: Economics for a Final Planet." London: Earthscan
  • Brown, Halina Szejnwald (2012). "Sustainability Science Needs to Include Sustainable Consumption". Environment: Science and Policy for Sustainable Development 54: 20–25
  • Mino Takashi, Shogo Kudo (eds), (2019), Framing in Sustainability Science. Singapore: Springer. ISBN 978-981-13-9061-6.


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