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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 structuring of knowledge

The structuring of knowledge has become a challenging issue because of the segmentation and specialization of our intellectual base due to a flood of information. Currently, there are more than 3,000 papers about sustainability and sustainable development, a quantity beyond our capacity to read so as to grasp the overall structure of sustainability science. And the number of papers continues to grow exponentially. But such concerns are nothing new, and indeed they were articulated in the 1960s by De Solla Price (1963). The increase in the amount of knowledge itself is not problematic, because knowledge is the driver that advances our society and civilization. But it is also a fact that we feel overwhelmed and frustrated by the lack of a comprehensive view. It is no exaggeration to say that, these days, we are drowning in a sea of information as we look for knowledge.

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