Understanding Sustainability

Sustainability References

  • To search the entire database by keyword, enter a term or terms in the "keywords" box and leave the "category" tab at the default setting of blank, then click the "search" button.
  • To search by keyword within a category, select a "category" from the drop-down menu, then enter terms in the "keywords" box, then click "search."
  • To browse within a single category, select the desired category, but leave the "keywords" box blank, then click "search."

Reference Search Results You searched for USPC

Beckerman, Wilfred. 1994. "'Sustainable Development': Is it a Useful Concept?" Environmental Values 3(3):191-209. [PDF] [summary] [abstract] [replies by Herman Daly and others (PDF)]

Beder, Sharon. 1994. "The Hidden Messages within Sustainable Development." Social Alternatives 13(2):8-12.

  • "Sustainable development represents a cooption of the term sustainability which once represented ideas of stability and equilibrium and harmony with nature. In the late 1960s and early 1970s the term was used in the context of the limits to growth debate as part of the argument against economic and population growth."
  • "In 1982 the British government began using the term sustainability to refer to sustainable economic expansion rather than the sustainable use of resources."

Callicott, J. Baird and Karen Mumford. 1997. "Ecological Sustainability as a Conservation Concept." Conservation Biology 11:32-40.

  • "As sustained yield is historically wedded to resourcism, the more recently fashioned concept of sustainable development is betrothed to neoclassical economics, although environmental and ecological economists are rising to speak out against the marriage." (p. 34)

  • "Hoping to rescue the concept of sustainable development from conflation with indefinitely sustained economic growth, Costanza and Daly (1992) carefully distinguish between economic growth and economic development. In their account, growth consists of ‘pushing more matter-energy through the economy,’ whereas development consists of ‘squeezing more human want satisfaction out of each unit of matter-energy that passes through’ (Costanza & Daly 1992:43)." (p. 34)

  • "Further, the axiom of substitutability, fundamental to neoclassical economics, makes the definition of sustainable development in the Brundtland Report—a  definition that is rapidly becoming standard—particularly ominous, from a conservation point of view." (p. 35)

Cerin, Pontus. 2003. "Sustainability Hijacked by the Sociological Wall of Self-evidence." Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management 10(4):175-185. [PDF]

Conard, Bruce R. 2013. "Some Challenges to Sustainability." Sustainability 5(8):3368-3381.

Attending to the threats discussed above, as well as to other ecological and social concerns, requires an immense effort along multiple avenues. An agenda for action would certainly include some of the following:

  • (a) There must be an international commitment very soon to stabilize CO2 in the atmosphere at 450–550 ppm. This would include a reduction of carbon emissions through international frameworks and funding strategies. Since fossil fuels as energy sources are likely to be used by humanity for a long time, there must be increased research on efficient capture and sequestration of CO2 from burning fossil fuels. Research should be increased on storage options for spent fission reactor fuels and on using fusion reactors. There should be increased attention on how to harvest energies present in ocean currents, in atmospheric winds, and in solar energy.
  • (b) Research on climate change and other planetary boundaries must be funded to better define where thresholds exist for irreversible ecological changes. This work would increase the understanding of mechanisms and kinetics of the world’s natural CO2 sinks. It would also improve models for predicting the way human parameters adversely affect ecological systems. In the issue of fresh water, more research is needed on how to effectively interact with the global weather system to provide precipitation events where they are most needed.
  • (c) There must be an international plan to reduce population growth. This should include research on and implementation of the most effective approaches for educating people on family planning worldwide.
  • (d) There must be international actions to address the widening economic inequality across the world. As these inequalities are often the seeds of civil unrest, violence, and further ecological destruction, improving the lives of people in developing regions in areas of education, health, and social welfare is an alternative to solving these issues eventually by wasteful and destructive military means.

DiLorenzo, Thomas J. 1993. "The Mirage of Sustainable Development." Futurist 27(5):14-19. [PDF]

Dovers, Stephen and Tony Norton. 1994. "Population, Environment, and Sustainability: Reconstruction the Debate." Sustainable Development 2(1):1-7. [PDF]

Edwards, Geoff. 2011. "Sustainable Growth: The pathway to prosperity … or an oxymoron?" Paper presented at the 4th Healthy Cities: Making Cities Liveable Conference, Noosa, Queensland, 27-29 July 2011. [PDF]

Ehrlich, Paul R. and John P. Holdren. 1971. "Impact of population growth." Science 171(397):1212-1217. [PDF]

Eisenstein, Charles. 2015. "Sustainable Development: Something New or More of the Same?" Resilience 25 September.

  • "Switching from chemical to herbal growth stimulants ('green' or 'sustainable' development) isn’t going to solve the problem. If development equals growth, then 'sustainable development' is an oxymoron. Poverty and ecocide are baked into the cake. It is time to transition to a world in which wealth no longer means more and more."

Ekins, Paul. 1989. "Beyond Growth: The Real Priorities of Sustainable Development." Environmental Conservation 16(1):5-6, 12. [introduction] [related video]

Esty, Daniel C. 2001. "A Term's Limits." Foreign Policy 126(September/October):74-75. [PDF]

Frazier, Jack G. 1997. "Sustainable Development: Modern Elixir or Sack Dress?" Environmental Conservation 24(2):182-193. [PDF]

Gatto, M. 1995. "Sustainability: Is it a Well Defined Concept?" Ecological Applications 5(4):1181-1183. [PDF]

George, Clive. 2007. "Sustainable Development and Global Governance." The Journal of Environment and Development 16(1):102-125. [abstract] [PDF]

Haq, Mahbub ul. 1977. "Toward a Just Society." Ch.18 in K. Haq (ed.), Equality of Opportunity within and Among Nations. Praeger, New York.

Harris, Jonathan M., Timothy Wise, Gallagh Kevin, Neva R. Goodwin (eds.). 2001. A Survey of Sustainable Development: Social and Economic Dimensions. Island Press, Washington, D.C.

Heyes, Anthony G. and Catherine Liston-Heyes. 1995. "Sustainable Resource Use: The Search for Meaning." Energy Policy 23(1):1-3. [PDF]

Hornborg, Alf. 2003. "Cornucopia or Zero-sum Game? The Epistemology of Sustainability." Journal of World-Systems Research 9(2):205-216. [PDF]

Hove, Hilary. 2004. "Critiquing Sustainable Development: A Meaningful Way of Mediating the Development Impasse?" Undercurrent 1(1):48-54. [PDF]

  • "First of all, upon analysis of the assumptions and underpinnings of the approach, it becomes apparent that sustainable development simply embodies a new form of the old discourse; it fails to emerge from its ethnocentric vices. Secondly, with its emphasis on sustainable growth (over other components), the approach neglects to reconcile development’s inherent contradictions and downfalls. The policy therefore fails to take into account the ways that the Western world contributes to the inferiority and subordination of poorer parts of the world. Also, the concept is much too broad and all encompassing, creating ambiguity in terms of its definition and causing a gap to occur between its rhetoric and policy initiatives. This lack of clarity also results in a varied range of policy choices, often contradictory and incoherent." (p. 49)

Jickling, Bob. 1992. "Why I don’t want my children educated for sustainable development." Journal of Environmental Education 23(4):5-8. 

  • "However, having argued that we should not educate for sustainable development, it is quite a different matter to teach students about this concept. I would like my children to know about the arguments which support it and attempt to clarify it. But, I would also like them to know that sustainable development is being criticized, and I want them to be able to evaluate that criticism and participate in it if they perceive a need. I want them to realize that there is a debate going on between a variety of stances, between adherents of an ecocentric worldview and those who adhere to an anthropocentric worldview. I want my children to be able to participate intelligently in that debate. To do so they will need to be taught that these various positions also constitute logical arguments of greater or less merit, and they will need to be taught to use philosophical techniques to aid their understanding and evaluation of them. They will need to be well educated to do this."

Kemp, René and Pim Martens. 2007. "Sustainable Development: How to Manage Something that Is Subjective and Never Can Be Achieved?" Sustainability: Science, Practice, & Policy 3(2).  [PDF]

Korten, David C. 1996. "Sustainable Development: Conventional Versus Emergent Alternative Wisdom." Paper prepared for the Office of Technology Assessment, U.S. Congress, by the People Centered Development Forum, New York.

Lélé, Sharachandra and Richard B. Norgaard. 1996. "Sustainability and the Scientist's Burden." Conservation Biology 10(2):354-365. [PDF] [summary]

Lélé, Sharachandra. 1991. "Sustainable Development: A Critical Review." World Development 19(6):607-621. [PDF]

Lélé, Sharachandra. 2013. "Rethinking sustainable development." Current History November:311-316.

Luke, Timothy W. 2005. "Neither Sustainable nor Development: Reconsidering Sustainability in Development." Sustainable Development 13(4):228-238. [PDF]

Luke, Timothy W. 2006. "The System of Sustainable Degradation." Capitalism Nature Socialism 17(1).  [PDF

Miller, Morris. 1990. "Can Development be Sustainable?" Development 3/4:28-37.

Mitcham, Carl. 1995. "The Concept of Sustainable Development: Its Origins and Ambivalence." Technology in Society 17(3):311-326. [PDF]

Newton, Julianne Lutz and Eric T. Freyfogle. 2004. "Sustainability: A Dissent." Conservation Biology 19:23-32. [PDF] [qritique by Paehlke (PDF)]

Nordhaus, William D. 1998. "Reflections on the Concept of Sustainable Economic Growth." Cowles Foundation Paper #951, Yale University, New Haven. [PDF

Pearce, David W. 1988. "Economics, Equity and Sustainable Development." Futures 20(6):595-602. [abstract]

Phillis, Yannis A. and Luc A. Andriantiatsaholiniaina. 2001. "Sustainability: An Ill-defined Concept and Its Assessment Using Fuzzy Logic." Ecological Economics 37(3):435-456.

Prugh, Thomas and Erik Assadourian. 2003. "What is Sustainability Anyway?" Worldwatch Magazine September/October:10-21.

Redclift, Michael. 1987. Sustainable Development: Exploring the Contradictions. Methuen, New York.

  • Mainstream sustainability is susceptible to cooptation by the status quo.

Redclift, Michael. 1991. "The Multiple Dimensions of Sustainable Development." Geography 70(1):36-42. [summary

Redclift, Michael. 2005. "Sustainable Development (1987-2005): An Oxymoron Comes of Age." Sustainable Development 13(4):212-227. [PDF]

Sachs, Wolfgang. 1991. "Environment and Development: The Story of a Dangerous Liaison." The Ecologist 21(6):252-257. [summary]

  • Sachs argues that the status quo approach to development--continued economic growth--remains the dominant paradigm, and consequently that the other dimensions including the environment are subservient to economic growth.

Sachs, Wolfgang. 1997. "No Sustainability without Development." Aisling Magazine.

Smyth, Luke. 2011. "Anthropological Critiques of Sustainable Development." Cross-Sections: The Bruce Hall Academic Journal (Australian National University) 7:77-86. [PDF

Sneddon, Chris, Richard B. Howarth, and Richard B. Norgaard. 2006. "Sustainable development in a post-Brundtland world." Ecological Economics 57(2):253-268.

  • "Embracing pluralism provides a way out of the ideological and epistemological straightjackets that deter more cohesive and politically effective interpretations of SD. Using pluralism as a starting point for the analysis and normative construction of sustainable development, we pay particular attention to how an amalgam of ideas from recent work in ecological economics, political ecology and the 'development as freedom' literature might advance the SD debate beyond its post-Brundtland quagmire. Enhanced levels of ecological degradation, vast inequalities in economic opportunities both within and across societies, and a fractured set of institutional arrangements for global environmental governance all represent seemingly insurmountable obstacles to a move towards sustainability. While these obstacles are significant, we suggest how they might be overcome through a reinvigorated set of notions and practices associated with sustainable development, one that explicitly examines the linkages between sustainability policies and sustainability politics." (p. 253)

Sneddon, Christopher S. 2000. "Sustainability in Ecological Economics, Ecology and Livelihoods: A Review." Progress in Human Geography 24(4):521-549. [abstract] [PDF]

Stephen Dovers and Tony Norton. 1994. "Population, environment and sustainability: reconstructing the debate." Sustainable Development 2. [PDF]

Sunderlin, William D. 1995. "Managerialism and the Conceptual Limits of Sustainable Development." Society and Natural Resources 8(6):481-492. [abstract] [summary]

  • Concludes that competing paradigms, that include neoliberal interests, leave little prospect for establishing a unified concept of sustainable development.

Tisdell, Clement Allan. 1988. "Sustainable Development: Differing Perspectives of Ecologists and Economists, and Relevance to LDCs." World Development 16(3):373-384. [abstract] [PDF]

Trainer, Ted. 1990. "A rejection of the Brundtland Report." IFAD Dossier 77(May/June):71-84.

  • Abstract. "The paper examines the Brundtland Report, Our common future, submitted to the World Commission on Environment and Development. The discussions of particular problems on the environment, energy, resources, industry and development contained in the report are examined. It is argued that the Brundtland Report is a regressive document which reinforces the belief that growth and affluence are necessary to solve problems related to the environment. Although it offers a valuable documentation on these problems, the report fails to identify the fundamental causes of the problems and as a result it puts forward solutions which are the direct opposite of those required. It is a conventional statement that argues for continuation of the same basic values, systems and strategies, which are the very roots of the problems to which the report was intending to offer solutions." (p. 71)

Willers, Bill. 1994. "Sustainable Development: A New World Deception." Conservation Biology 8(4):1146-1148. [PDF]

Williams, Marc. 1998. "Aid, Sustainable Development, and the Environmental Crisis." International Journal of Peace Studies 3(2).

Worster, Donald. 1993. "The Shaky Ground of Sustainability." Pages 132-145 in Wolfgang Sachs (ed.), Global Ecology: A New Arena of Political Conflict. Zed Books, London. [PDF]

Log In