While politicians, entrepreneurs, and even school children could tell you that sustainability is an important and nearly universal value, many of them, and many of us, may struggle to define the term, let alone trace its history. What is sustainability? Is it always about the environment? What science do we need to fully grasp what it requires? What does sustainability mean for business? How can governments plan for a sustainable future?
This short, accessible book written in the signature question-and-answer format of the What Everyone Needs to Know® series tackles these and numerous other questions. Sustainability is a porous topic, which has been adapted and reshaped for developing ecological models, improving corporate responsibility, setting environmental and land-use policies, organizing educational curricula, and reimagining the goals of governance and democracy. Where other treatments of this topic tend to focus on just one application of sustainability, this primer encompasses everything from global development and welfare to social justice and climate change. With chapters that discuss sustainability in the contexts of profitable businesses, environmental risks, scientific research, and the day-to-day business of local government, it gives readers a deep understanding of one of the most essential concepts of our time.
Bringing to bear experience in natural resource conservation, agriculture, the food industry, and environmental ethics, authors Paul B. Thompson and Patricia E. Norris explain clearly what sustainability means, and why getting it right is so important for the future of our planet.
- Provides a thorough introduction to sustainability's history and its major stakeholders
- Walks the reader through key concepts that have guided policy and scholarship on sustainability
- Encompasses a diverse range of sustainability's applications, including climate change, profitable business models, social justice, and governance
- Grounded in systems thinking and written without technical jargon, emphasizes larger systems concepts over details
- Combines authors' areas of expertise to cover environmental ethics, agriculture, and economics of sustainability among other angles on the topic series