1st Edition

The World We'll Leave Behind Grasping the Sustainability Challenge

By William Scott, Paul Vare Copyright 2018
    254 Pages
    by Routledge

    254 Pages
    by Routledge

    It is now clear that human activity has influenced how the biosphere supports life on Earth, and given rise to a set of connected environmental and social problems. In response to the challenge that these problems present, a series of international conferences and summits led to discussions of sustainable development and the core dilemma of our time: How can we all live well, now and in the future, without compromising the ability of the planet to enable us all to live well?

    This book identifies the main issues and challenges we now face; it explains the ideas that underpin them and their interconnection, and discusses a range of strategies through which they might be addressed and possibly resolved. These cover things that governments might do, what businesses and large organisations can contribute, and the scope for individuals, families and communities to get involved. This book is for everyone who cares about such challenges, and wants to know more about them.

    List of figures

    List of tables


    Section 1: Issues

    1. Global warming and climate change

    2. Inequality

    3. Species loss

    4. Human population

    5. Acidifying the oceans

    6. Electricity generation

    7. Genetic modification

    8. Clean water for all

    9. Gender disparity

    10. Natural resource depletion

    11. Migration

    12. Air pollution

    13. Elephants, rhinos and donkeys

    14. Environmental justice

    15. Economic growth

    16. Water pollution

    17. Eating meat

    18. Weather and climate

    19. Ozone and CFCs

    20. Biocentrism

    Section 2: Concepts

    21. The Anthropocene

    22. Nature

    23. Gaia

    24. Biodiversity

    25. Conservation

    26. Charismatic megafauna

    27. The greenhouse effect

    28. Valuing the environment

    29. Sustainable development

    30. Development

    31. The four capitals

    32. Harmony

    33. Systems and systems thinking

    34. Frames and framing

    35. Resilience

    36. Complexity

    37. Globalisation

    38. Neoliberalism

    Section 3: Strategies

    39. Reducing global inequalities

    40. The Copenhagen Consensus

    41. Feeding 10 billion

    42. Living within limits

    43. Energy policy

    44. Carbon capture and storage

    45. Ecological footprints and handprints

    46. The circular economy

    47. The Earth Charter

    48. Brexit and environmental law

    49. Protected areas

    50. Recycling

    51. Transition towns

    52. Rewilding

    53. Biomimicry

    54. (Environmental) education

    55. The Montreal Protocol



    William Scott is Emeritus Professor of Education at the University of Bath, UK, and is Chair of Trustees of the UK’s National Association for Environmental Education.

    Paul Vare is Postgraduate Research Lead for the School of Education at the University of Gloucestershire, UK, and a Director of the South West Learning for Sustainability Coalition. 

    "What a wonderfully readable cornucopia of information and ideas – an inspiring and practical source for confidently talking about and acting on behalf of a sustainable future!"

    -Sara Parkin, The Sustainability Literacy Project


    "This is a lucid collection of short chapters on some of the world’s most intractable issues like globalisation, climate change, human population and migration. It is a unique and prescient contribution that helps make sense of an increasingly unpredictable and unsustainable world."

    -Professor Stephen Martin, Honorary Professor University of Worcester and Visiting Professor in Learning for Sustainability, University of the West of England, UK


    "These informed authors help readers understand vital issues about sustainability and how we live today. Importantly, they set out a range of strategies whereby everyone who's interested can play a role in keeping our planet living for generations to come."

    - Per Sund, Associate Professor, Stockholm University and Research Fellow, Rose Project, Karlstad University


    "I loved this book. The authors have written short but informative, provocative, and amazingly readable chapters on a wide range of issues, concepts and strategies that help us think about how we might create a more sustainable and just future. The format is brilliant!"

    - Judy Braus, Executive Director, North American Association for Environmental Education


    "Scott and Vare have written a very clear, accessible introduction to the sustainability idea and some of its difficulties – an excellent book for people coming new to the topic, and one from which everyone can gain new insights."

    – John Foster, Lancaster University UK