Post-Sustainability: Tragedy and Transformation, 1st Edition (e-Book) book cover


Tragedy and Transformation, 1st Edition

Edited by John Foster


196 pages

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The sustainability discourse and policy paradigm have failed to deliver. In particular, they have failed to avert the dangerously disruptive climate change which is now inevitable. So, if there is still a case for some transformed or revitalised version of sustainability, that case must now surely be made in full acknowledgment of deep-seated paradigm-failure to date. But if we really take ourselves to be living in a post-sustainable world, the issue of ‘what next?’ must be faced, and the hard questions no longer shirked. What options for political and personal action will remain open on a tragically degraded planet? How will economic and community life, political and social leadership and education be different in such a world? What will the geopolitics (of crisis, migration and conflict) look like? Where does widespread denial come from, how might it be overcome, and are there any grounds for hope that don’t rest on it?

The urgent challenge now is to confront such questions honestly. This collection of essays by thinkers from a diversity of fields including politics, philosophy, sociology, education and religion, makes a start.

This book was originally published as a special issue of Global Discourse.

Table of Contents


John Foster

1. Paris: optimism, pessimism and realism

Brian Heatley

2. Transformation, adaptation and universalism: reply to Heatley

Nadine Andrews

3. After Development

Mike Hannis

4. Reply to Hannis

Lawrence Wilde

5. Post-Capitalism, Post-Growth, Post-Consumerism

Ingolfur Bluhdorn

6. There never was a categorical imperative: reply to Blühdorn

Daniel Hausknost

7. On the obsolescence of human beings in sustainable development

Ulrike Ehgartner, Patrick Gould and Marc Hudson

8. Apocalyptically blinded : reply to Ehgartner et al.

Nina Isabella Moeller and J. Martin Pedersen

9. Beyond sustainability: hope in a spiritual revolution?

Rachel Bathurst

10. Reply to Bathurst

Rachel Muers

11. Environmental education after sustainability: hope in the midst of tragedy

Panu Pihkala

12. Reply to Pihkala

Katie Carr

13. Education after sustainability

Steve Gough

14. Learning and education after sustainability: reply to Gough

William Scott

15. On preparing for the great gift of community that climate disasters can give us

Rupert Read

16. Caring for the future? – a response to Rupert Read

John Foster

17. On letting go

John Foster

18. The future: compassion, complacency or contempt? : reply to Foster

Rupert Read

About the Editor

John Foster is a freelance writer and philosophy teacher, and an associate lecturer in the department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion at Lancaster University, UK. His relevant publications include Valuing Nature? (ed.) (Routledge, 1997), The Sustainability Mirage (Earthscan, 2008), and After Sustainability: Denial, Hope, Retrieval (Earthscan/Routledge, 2015).

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Development / Sustainable Development