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The End of Sustainability

Melinda Harm Benson, University of New Mexico
Robin Kundis Craig, University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law


ENVIRONMENTAL LAW & POLICY eJOURNAL

"The End of Sustainability" Free Download
Society and Natural Resources, 1-6, 2014, DOI: 10.1080/08941920.2014.901467
University of Utah College of Law Research Paper No. 83

MELINDA HARM BENSON, University of New Mexico
Email:
ROBIN KUNDIS CRAIG, University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law
Email:

It is time to move past the concept of sustainability. The realities of the Anthropocene warrant this conclusion. They include unprecedented and irreversible rates of human induced biodiversity loss, exponential increases in per-capita resource consumption, and global climate change. These factors combine to create an increasing likelihood of rapid, nonlinear, social and ecological regime changes. The recent failure of the Rio 20 provides an opportunity to collectively reexamine — and ultimately move past — the concept of sustainability as an environmental goal. We must face the impossibility of defining — let alone pursuing — a goal of ‘‘sustainability’’ in a world characterized by such extreme complexity, radical uncertainty and lack of stationarity. After briefly examining sustainability’s failure, we propose resilience thinking as one possible new orientation and point to the challenges associated with translating resilience theory into policy application.

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ENVIRONMENTAL & NATURAL RESOURCES LAW EJOURNALS

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Northwestern University - School of Law, Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management, European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)
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