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Pursuing Sustainability:
A Guide to the Science and Practice
Pamela Matson, William C. Clark & Krister Andersson

Hardcover | 2016 | $35.00 | £24.95 | ISBN: 9780691157610
248 pp. | 6 x 9 | 7 halftones. 17 line illus. 4 tables.
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Comprehensive List of Endorsements

Pursuing Sustainability, Pamela Matson

Pursuing Sustainability: How Do We Make Progress?

Sustainability is a global imperative and a scientific challenge like no other. This concise guide provides students and practitioners with a strategic framework for linking knowledge with action in the pursuit of sustainable development, and serves as an invaluable companion to more narrowly focused courses dealing with sustainability in particular sectors such as energy, food, water, and housing, or in particular regions of the world.

Written by leading experts, Pursuing Sustainability shows how more inclusive and interdisciplinary approaches and systems perspectives can help you achieve your sustainability objectives. It stresses the need for understanding how capital assets are linked to sustainability goals through the complex adaptive dynamics of social-environmental systems, how committed people can use governance processes to alter those dynamics, and how successful interventions can be shaped through collaborations among researchers and practitioners on the ground.

The ideal textbook for undergraduate and graduate students and an invaluable resource for anyone working in this fast-growing field, Pursuing Sustainability also features case studies, a glossary, and suggestions for further reading.

  • Provides a strategic framework for linking knowledge with action
  • Draws on the latest cutting-edge science and practices
  • Serves as the ideal companion text to more narrowly focused courses
  • Utilizes interdisciplinary approaches and systems perspectives
  • Illustrates concepts with a core set of case studies used throughout the book
  • Written by world authorities on sustainability
  • An online illustration package is available to professors

Pamela Matson is dean of the School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences and the Goldman Professor of Environmental Studies at Stanford University. William C. Clark is the Harvey Brooks Professor of International Science, Public Policy, and Human Development at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. Krister Andersson is professor of political science at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Endorsements:

"If we are to make peace with nature, the effort will have to come from us all. This very moving book is the finest introduction to the subject I have seen. It does not avoid technicalities, but can be read with equal benefit by the young and the old with no prior knowledge of the complexities we face."--Sir Partha Dasgupta, Frank Ramsey Professor Emeritus of Economics, University of Cambridge

"Sustainability can seem like a faraway, nebulous dream. Through a clear framework, iconic case studies, and a beautiful, accessible style, Pursuing Sustainability brings this dream to life. A must-read for anyone concerned about the future health of our planet."--Gretchen C. Daily, cofounder of the Natural Capital Project and author of The Power of Trees

"Finally, a beautiful small book bringing together the thinking and practice behind sustainability science in an easily accessible and comprehensive manner, making it clear that this critical field of study for humanity provides an overarching framework for many different areas and competencies dealing with the sustainability challenge. Strongly recommended."--Carl Folke, founder of the Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University, and director of the Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics, Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences

"This is a beautiful, lucid, and desperately needed book about the sustainability challenge. The authors accomplish a mission impossible: providing deep analyses of complex adaptive social-environmental systems while using simple terms and compelling metaphors to expose the crucial steps we need to take for long-term inclusive well-being. A must-read for practitioners and scholars alike."--Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, founder and director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research

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Table of Contents:

Preface vii
Acknowledgments ix
CHAPTER 1 Pursuing Sustainability: An Introduction 1
CHAPTER 2 A Framework for Sustainability Analysis: Linking Ultimate Goals with Their Underlying Determinants 14
CHAPTER 3 Dynamics of Social-Environmental Systems 52
CHAPTER 4 Governance in Social-Environmental Systems 83
CHAPTER 5 Linking Knowledge with Action 105
CHAPTER 6 Next Steps: Contributing to a Sustainability Transition 129
Appendix A Case Studies in Sustainability 143
Appendix B Glossary of Terms, Acronyms, and Additional Resources 187
Notes 211
Index 225

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