Handbook on Growth and Sustainability
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Handbook on Growth and Sustainability

Edited by Peter A. Victor and Brett Dolter

This Handbook assembles original contributions from influential authors such as Herman Daly, Paul Ekins, Marina Fischer-Kowalski, Jeroen van den Bergh, William E. Rees and Tim Jackson who have helped to define our understanding of growth and sustainability. The Handbook also presents new contributions on topics such as degrowth, the debt-based financial system, cultural change, energy return on investment, shorter working hours and employment, and innovation and technology. Explorations of these issues can deepen our understanding of whether growth is sustainable and, in turn, whether a move away from growth can be sustained. With issues such as climate change looming large, our understanding of growth and sustainability is critical. This Handbook offers a broad range of perspectives that can help the reader to decide: Growth? Sustainability? Both? Or neither?
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Chapter 3: Sustainable development, limits and growth: reflections on the conundrum

James Meadowcroft


This chapter explores the linkages among sustainable development, limits and growth. It argues that sustainable development requires a shift in the societal development trajectory to pay attention both to environmental limits and to global equity. Only by appreciating the intimate linkages between environment and development will it be possible to open a pathway towards continued social advance while respecting the boundaries of local, regional and global ecosystems. Economic growth can contribute to sustainable development, but all ‘growth’ does not represent real social advance. In particular, growth in physical pressures threatening global biodiversity and climate change must be brought under control.

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