Sustainability Principles and Practice: 2nd Edition (Hardback) book cover

Sustainability Principles and Practice

2nd Edition

By Margaret Robertson


398 pages

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pub: 2017-03-16
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This new and expanded edition builds upon the first edition’s accessible and comprehensive overview of the interdisciplinary field of sustainability. The focus is on furnishing solutions and equipping the student with both conceptual understanding and technical skills for the workplace.

Each chapter explores one aspect of the field, first introducing concepts and presenting issues, then supplying tools for working toward solutions. Techniques for management and measurement as well as case studies from around the world are provided. The second edition includes a complete update of the text, with increased coverage of major topics including the Anthropocene; complexity; resilience; environmental ethics; governance; the IPCC’s latest findings on climate change; Sustainable Development Goals; and new thinking on native species and novel ecosystems.

Chapters include further reading and discussion questions. The book is supported by a companion website with links, detailed reading lists, glossary, and additional case studies, together with projects, research problems, and group activities, all of which focus on real-world problem solving of sustainability issues.

The textbook is designed to be used by undergraduate college and university students in sustainability degree programs and other programs in which sustainability is taught.


Achieving sustainability is the single most important challenge facing humanity, and yet few people realize it. If every student read this text the chances of civilization averting a collapse would be substantially improved.

Paul Ehrlich, Stanford University, USA

This book provides much needed and relevant information on the theory and practice of sustainability. It is comprehensive and useful with practical applications in a wide range of human endeavors.

Stephen R. Kellert, Yale University, USA

Everyone thinks they know what sustainability is, but few people truly understand it--and fewer still can explain it well. Robertson cuts through the greenwash and the clichés with a top-notch exploration of the topic in all its complexities. It's an enjoyable read that's both thoroughly grounded in science and steeped in wonder at our fascinating, fragile planet.

Daniel Lerch, Post Carbon Institute, USA

This book provides a comprehensive overview of the state of our earth systems and what we can do to positively impact change. The book can be used for both undergraduate and graduate education, and across a variety of disciplines. I learned something new at every turn of the page.

Kevin Dooley, Arizona State University, USA

Margaret Robertson has produced the closest thing yet to a comprehensive textbook on what is a crucial subject. The book provides a grounding in the key challenges while also communicating the potential solutions in a clear and positive fashion. It is equipped to become an essential go-to text for both students of sustainability and those working in the field.

James Evans, University of Manchester, UK

Table of Contents

Part 1 Context 1. What Is Sustainability? 2. A Brief History of Sustainability 3. The Biosphere 4. The Human Sphere. Part 2 Issues and Solutions 5. Climate 6. Water 7. Ecosystems and Habitat 8. Pollution 9. Energy 10. Green Buildings and Sites 11. Livable Cities 12. Food 13. Products 14. Waste and Recycling Part 3 Becoming an Agent for Change 15. Working in Organizations Big and Small 16. Education 17. Working as Agents for Change

About the Author

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.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Development / Economic Development
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Development / Sustainable Development
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Environmental Economics
NATURE / Ecology
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / Environmental Policy