The World We'll Leave Behind : Grasping the Sustainability Challenge book cover
1st Edition

The World We'll Leave Behind
Grasping the Sustainability Challenge

ISBN 9781783537730
Published February 8, 2018 by Routledge
254 Pages

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Book Description

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.

Table of Contents

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


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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