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Sustainability Science

A Multidisciplinary Approach

image of Sustainability Science
Sustainability science is an academic discipline that emerged in response to threats to the sustainability of the global environment. Its purpose is to help build a sustainable society by developing solutions to climate change, the exhaustion of resources, ecological destruction and other environmental crises that threaten the future of humanity. Sustainability science seeks comprehensive, integrated solutions to complex problems and a restructuring of education and research that spans multiple disciplines. It demands the development of policies that protect the natural and cultural diversity of different regions and promotes the physical and economic health of their inhabitants. This volume offers approaches to the development of a transdisciplinary perspective that embraces natural, social and human sciences in the quest for a sustainable society. It also strives for a global perspective while incorporating the wisdom and experience of local societies.

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The human dimension in sustainability science

It was only about 20 years ago that people first developed an awareness of sustainability as a major issue. But times change rapidly, and people are now widely aware of this as the most pressing problem facing global society. In terms of sustainability-related phenomena, experts point to various global environmental problems such as global warming and contamination of water and soil, but many political and economic problems, such as regional conflicts and the North/South divide, are also involved in sustainability. To address such issues, the cutting-edge achievements of both the natural and the social sciences should naturally be mobilized. But the humanities also have a role to play in examining the thought, cultures and ways of seeing and thinking that underlie these problems, as well as in identifying problems still on the horizon, conceptualizing a desirable state of human existence and global society, and offering a direction towards solutions.

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