The Dictionary of Sustainability provides clear and accurate definitions of the extensive vocabulary that has developed in this emerging and interdisciplinary field, saving considerable time from searching through the massive quantity of information of differing degrees of quality that is available through the Internet. Providing authoritative definitions of standard terms used by scholars and practitioners it provides a clear and thorough conceptual framework and ensures those delving into topics for the first time, or returning to them, can quickly find what they need. It also contains careful use of cross-references, and includes several expanded entries to provide readers with nuanced understanding of important topics.
The dictionary will be essential reading for all students studying sustainability topics, as well as a handy reference for practitioners wanting to make a sustainable difference in the workplace.
Margaret Robertson is a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) and teaches at Lane Community College in Eugene, Oregon, USA where she coordinates the Sustainability degree program. She is the author of Sustainability Principles and Practice (Routledge, 2017).
Featured Author Profiles
I have been an academic and practicing professional in the sustainability field for many decades and started using many of the words in this dictionary before we truly knew they were part of the sustainability lexicon. Now we have a discipline and a profession it Is time to systematize our work and this Dictionary of Sustainability will be standard for everyone’s desk.
Peter Newman, Curtin University, Australia
The field of sustainability is new and highly interdisciplinary, creating a challenge for both newcomers and experts to understand the wealth of terms and concepts in the field. The Dictionary of Sustainability is an invaluable reference tool for practitioners and scholars working in sustainability. A lot of thought has gone into how to create precise definitions that can bring shared meaning to the field.
Kevin Dooley, Arizona State University, USA
The lexicon of sustainability expands beyond nearly everyone's background and training. Progress in sustainability research and practice demands the careful and correct use of terms that are so often misused or misunderstood. Robertson’s timely dictionary facilitates clear communication amongst students and practitioners of sustainability science.
Lee Kump, Pennsylvania State University, USA
The expanding literature on sustainability is bedevilled by dissonance around what it means, compounded by confusion over the many words used to describe it and explain how it is applied. This very timely dictionary provides clear and concise descriptions of the thousands of words that in some way refer to sustainability; a valuable resource for all involved to have at hand.
Brian Walker, CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences, Australia
Sustainability is a vivid and troubling term and refers to a contemporary bricolage of ideas and concepts. In this kind of muddle we need sense making and help in our sense making. We need to be clear on our language above all if we are to push back against all forms of confusion. This dictionary gathers the language and explains the terms which the sustainability community uses. In reaching out to the wider world we need to be clear. Here is help on the way.
Simon Bell, Open University, UK
Hello. Do you speak Sustainability? Are you fluent—or struggling to find the words? Don’t fret! Margaret Robertson’s dictionary decodes the lingo—at a time when this rapidly evolving agenda increasingly cross-connects with all languages (including Architecture, Business, Chemistry, Engineering and Politics) and all aspects of life, human or non-human.
John Elkington, Volans, UK
These days every thinking person follows a wide range of environmental issues, each issue entailing its own vocabulary. Hence the usefulness of this concise reference book. Keep it on your computer desk; you’ll find yourself consulting it often—and learning an amazing number of useful terms.
Richard Heinberg, Post Carbon Institute, USA
Building a more sustainable world requires that we have a common understanding and language for what this means. The Dictionary of Sustainability is an invaluable book to help us navigate this critical journey.
Sandra Postel, Global Water Policy Project, USA
Words and phrases that describe an endeavor are crucial for establishing common understanding from which progressive thoughts and actions can emerge. All the more so for sustainability, a complex body of knowledge with a vast array of terms, many of which have multiple and often confusing meanings. Robertson’s Dictionary of Sustainability is a long overdue reference work, certain to enlighten as well as provide needed uniformity.
Thomas L. Theis, University of Illinois at Chicago, USA
Informed conversation about sustainability requires a shared vocabulary. This noble work provides the concisely defined words and thus the concepts so vital to a progressive, desirable future.'This is an astonishingly comprehensive work of reference that truly pays no heed to disciplinary boundaries.' James Evans, Professor in Human Geography, University of Manchester, UK
Tyler Volk, New York University, USA
'Sustainability’s strength is the clarity of its goal: maintain civilization indefinitely given Earth’s biophysical constraints. Its weakness is that achieving this goal requires many different kinds of scientific, professional, and cultural knowledge that no one person can possibly master. This dictionary is an essential reference for navigating the complex, interdisciplinary world of sustainability—whether you’re a first-year student or an experienced specialist.' Daniel Lerch, Publications Director, Post Carbon Institute, USA