4 Pages Posted: 1 Sep 2012
Date Written: August 31, 2012
This short essay for the Environmental Law Collaborative explores the relationship between climate change as a physical reality and sustainability as a goal of law and policy. It argues that climate change's impacts on the basic physical, chemical, and biological processes of Earth vitiate sustainability as a meaningful goal at anything other than the most general of levels. Sustainability in this context is a form of dead-end nostalgic conservatism; what climate change demands instead is adaptability to change and resilience in the face of potential loss of functionality -- ecological, social, cultural, and economic.
Keywords: climate change, sustainability, resilience, adaptation, adaptability
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