Foundations for Sustainability - Chapter 9: Sustainability: A Goal for All

Elsevier, Foundations for Sustainability, A Coherent Framework of Life-Environment Relations, 2019, Pages 231-247
Daniel A. Fiscus and Brian D. Fath

We started this book with the goal to describe science reform efforts to help solve the sustainability crisis. Remember—some change will be required, as, by definition, an unsustainable system cannot continue along its current ways. Whether the change is planned and orderly or forced and chaotic depends on the level of anticipation and effort to be proactive. Our working assumption and intuitive insight from a combined 50 years of research and applications in systems and network ecology was that the existing science paradigm and analytical methods based on it have not worked. Thus, from that starting point, in order to address the crisis, we did the opposite of analysis—we enlarged the problem context rather than picking out a reduced subset of the system-of-systems complexity to tackle in isolation. We hope this final chapter serves to inspire optimism that the reformed scientific foundations we have presented hold true potential to catalyze lasting and systemic change for human–environment sustainability.