Sustainability Science for Strong Sustainability

Sustainability Science for Strong Sustainability

Tom Dedeurwaerdere

The dynamism of science has been catalytic for human prosperity in recent history. Conventional perspectives of the ivory tower model of modern science are, however, rivalled by the failure of humanity to tackle global crises of an economic, environmental and social nature. Operational solutions to these pressures have grown and exposed pitfalls of modern science to date. Sustainability Science for Strong Sustainability investigates core concepts, tools and institutional strategies of transdisciplinary sustainability science. Prominent research programs within heterodox economics, the environmental sciences and transition theory are explored through diverse case studies, revealing challenges and advancements for transdisciplinary research. In this book, the reform of modern science is facilitated by the consideration of action points to overcome the institutional barriers of putting sustainability science into practice. Researchers, students and policy practitioners will benefit from up to date knowledge on the practice of transdisciplinary research for sustainability.

Introduction

Tom Dedeurwaerdere

Subjects: environment, ecological economics, politics and public policy, environmental governance and regulation

Extract

Modern science is considered by many as one of the major drivers of the increase in human prosperity over the last three centuries (North, 2010; Mokyr, 2002). However, at the very moment that humanity fails to tackle major global crises of an economic, environmental and social nature, modern science seems incapable of providing operational solutions for overcoming these current crises. This failure of the project of modern science, as it was inherited from the enlightenment, has been analysed by many scholars in recent decades and gave a new impetus to the debate on the articulation between science and society (Arendt, 1958; Latour, 1993; Funtowicz and Ravetz, 1993). To improve upon this current state of affairs, researchers and practitioners have developed new path-breaking transformative approaches to science over the last twenty years. This book analyses the contribution of these approaches to managing the transition of human societies to strong sustainability, with a particular focus on environmental and economic sciences. Scholars and practitioners who gathered in May 2009 at a major conference organized by DG Research in Europe to discuss the meaning of sustainable development for science identified two major challenges for sustainability science (Jaeger and Tàbara, 2011; Jaeger, 2011).