Sustainable development is notoriously difficult to grasp for students and professionals. Multidimensional, encompassing social, ecological and economic theories, policies and practice, it can be a maze of complexity and contradiction.
This powerful new textbook, by a topic instructor in the field, is the first to unravel sustainable development and provide readers with a deep understanding so often missing from other texts. The book adopts a multi-perspective approach designed specifically to allow access to the topic from a wide range of educational and professional backgrounds and to develop understanding of a diversity of approaches and traditions at different levels. It features multiple entry points, explains jargon and explores controversies. It also provides wide-ranging boxed examples from the local to the global, extra readings and online material for course leaders, motivated students and self-learners.
"A significant achievement in addressing a complex contemporary issue in such a clear and optimistic way. Will it make a difference to our understanding? I think it will."
- Stephen Martin, Visiting Professor, Center for Complexity and Change, The Open University
"This is an immensely important book that brings into a cohesive and dialogic whole, the multiple strands that do – or should – feed into understandings of sustainable development. It draws upon worldviews and perspectives often marginalized or ignored in the adrenaline rush to make sustainability a living reality. A 'must read' for both those new to and those steeped in the field."
- David Selby, Director, Centre for Sustainable Futures, University of Plymouth
"Presents a comprehensive account of the sustainability territory, successfully integrating ideas from science, philosophy, sociology and cultural studies in its explication of key topics within this field. It will prove invaluable for those of us from a range of disciplines and perspectives who are trying to make sense of what 'sustainability' means, and what actions we might take to realize it within our communities, organizations and homes."
- Donna Ladkin, Senior Lecturer in Organizational Learning and Leadership at Cranfield University School of Management
"Understanding Sustainable Development is a major work and it largely achieves a very difficult task. It comes closer than most to that elusive ideal: the comprehensive book on a broadly based interpretation of sustainable development!"
- Julian Agyeman, Associate Professor and Chair, Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning, Tufts University
"Scientists, engineers, technologists, mathematicians, and economists will find the text useful to see how their efforts have been interpreted by others."
- Experimental Agriculture
"I found it an excellent refresher and reminder of basic concepts, issues and historical background [...] I enjoyed this book and I continue to dip into it"
- AJH, Eagle Bulletin, 2009
- Globalization and the Global Policy Context - Key Debates, Agreements and Issues
- World Views and Ethical Values
- Cultural and Contested Understandings of Human Impacts on the Global Environment
- Social Capital and Environmental Justice
- Sustainable Development, Politics and Agency
- Beyond the Imperatives of Economic Growth
- Envisioning and Fashioning the Sustainable Society
- Sustainability Indicators and Ecological Footprinting
- Communicating the Experience of Sustainability
- Managing and Leading the Sustainability Process
- Further readings, Exercises, Index
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John Blewitt is Director of Professional Development and Innovation, School of Education and Lifelong Learning, University of Exeter, UK, author of The Ecology of Learning (2006) and co-editor of The Sustainability Curriculum (2004).