Saving Sustainability

Rethinking Sustainability to Meet the Climate Change Challenge, Forthcoming

Albany Law School Research Paper No. 5 for 2015-2016

17 Pages Posted: 22 Jun 2015 Last revised: 25 Sep 2015

Date Written: June 17, 2015

Abstract

The concept of sustainability is struggling for its survival. Critics have argued that the concept is outdated, hopelessly vague, and too dull a tool to be useful in the climate change era. This chapter considers definitional challenges to current sustainability programs, with an eye on saving the concept of sustainability. This chapter accepts the sincerity of the critiques, at least as to what they purport to show. The critiques are rigorous and expose significant problems in many of the applications of the sustainability concept. Nonetheless, this chapter takes issue with these critiques by identifying a more functional definition of sustainability — one that suggests but does not adopt ideals, one that manages but does not dictate policy responses, and one that relies on a specific but non-reductionist picture of nature. What sustainability adds to governance is a framework for managing change.

Suggested Citation

Hirokawa, Keith H., Saving Sustainability (June 17, 2015). Rethinking Sustainability to Meet the Climate Change Challenge, Forthcoming; Albany Law School Research Paper No. 5 for 2015-2016. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2619690

Keith H. Hirokawa (Contact Author)

Albany Law School ( email )

80 New Scotland Avenue
Albany, NY 12208
United States

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