Humanity faces immense hurdles as it struggles to define the path toward a sustainable future. The multiple components of sustainability, all of which demand attention, make understanding the very concept of sustainability itself a challenge. Information about whether global agriculture can be made sustainable, for example, or calculations of the global need for water are useless unless we understand how these issues connect to each other and to other components of sustainability. In this book, experts engage in an extended dialogue concerning these linkages, arguing for a comprehensive view of sustainability. They emphasize the constraints imposed by the relationships among the components—for example, how the need for clean, easily accessible water intersects with the need for the energy required to provide it—and distinguish those constraints that may pose severe limitations on humanity's future from those of less concern. The book also highlights areas for future research and debate.
Linkages of Sustainability urges a transformation in the way we view sustainability—a transformation that is necessary if we are to plan responsibly for a more sustainable world.
Strüngmann Forum Reports
About the Editors
Thomas E. Graedel is Clifton R. Musser Professor of Industrial Ecology, Professor of Chemical Engineering, Professor of Geology and Geophysics, and Director of the Center for Industrial Ecology at Yale University. He is the author of Streamlined Life-Cycle Assessment and lead author or coauthor of a number of other books.
Ester van der Voet is Associate Professor of Industrial Ecology in the Institute for Environmental Sciences at the University of Leiden. She is the coeditor of Heavy Metals: A Problem Solved?.
"This volume provides a startling perspective on how the complex interdependencies among basic resources of land, water, energy, and materials could constrain development over the next decades. It sketches exciting extensions to current research programs in sustainability science that would enable us better to map, quantify, and relax those constraints."
William C. Clark, Harvey Brooks Professor of International Science, Public Policy, and Human Development, Harvard University, coeditor of Global Environmental Assessments
"This book brings together two emerging themes in sustainability science: the notion that there may be a 'safe operating space for humanity' and the idea that sustainability issues are inter-related with one another. For instance, bio-energy production has potential impacts on food prices and biodiversity. An eminent group of researchers asks: what are the limits on mineral, water, and energy use at different scales, and how are these limits linked to each other? They argue that creating a pathway to sustainability in the use of resources requires attention to linkages between their stocks and flows and how people are influencing these. This book is a novel and comprehensive survey of global sustainability issues which I highly recommend."
Frans Berkhout, Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM), VU University Amsterdam