Transdisciplinary Solutions for Sustainable Development: From planetary management to stewardship, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Transdisciplinary Solutions for Sustainable Development

From planetary management to stewardship, 1st Edition

By Mark Charlesworth


266 pages

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Global environmental issues such as climate change and species loss are intensifying despite our best efforts to combat them. The key reason for this is that the drivers of these problems are closely linked to the industrialism and consumerism that are promoted by governments and other organizations the world over.

This innovative book identifies the key issues that block progress in sustainable development and proposes transdisciplinary solutions. Presenting a review of the epistemology and ethics of this policy field including current policy responses, it examines the ethical and policy implications from a multidisciplinary perspective. The book explains the current limitations of scientific prediction for global environmental issues and develops innovative approaches to respond to these difficulties, drawing out lessons that will make sustainable development policy more democratic, plural and open.

This book will be of great interest to students and researchers in environmental policy, development studies, politics, economics and sustainable development.


"In recent years, many moral philosophers have returned to the idea of virtue in the hope of filling gaps left by traditional consequentialist and deontological ethics. This suggestive and wide-ranging book takes that approach in the direction of environmental ethics, providing answers to questions left unresolved by economic cost-benefit analysis."–Roger Crisp, University of Oxford, UK

"Mark Charlesworth argues powerfully that virtue ethics, as well as better science, is key to better climate policy. Specifically, he argues that moderation of production and consumption is essential for sustainability. The book is truly transdisciplinary, and Charlesworth demonstrates a deep understanding of natural science, philosophy and social science in arriving at his conclusions."Andy Dobson, Keele University, UK

"It’s hard to find a book with as much breadth and ambition than Charlesworth’s Transdisciplinary Solutions for Sustainable Development. He resolutely insists we go ‘back to basics’ concerning the the hubristic presumption of the possibility of predicting our socio-environmental futures, and thus of modelling and managing the planet for sustainability, and the need thus to embed approaches to sustainability firmly in reconstructed ethics, epistemology and expanded participation in socio-environmental decision making. He never uses the word but this is an invaluable contribution to thinking about the politics of the anthropocene."Matthew Paterson, University of Ottowa, Canada

"This book is part of a new generation of transdisciplinary and interdisciplinary sustainability research. Just as it has long been part of the thinking of green/sustainability advocates that we need a new worldview, values and culture to help make the transition from unsustainability, Charlesworth’s book convincingly makes the argument for new paradigms in research and thinking about that transition. Integrating, inter alia, climate and ecological science, environmental management, political theory, earth system science, ethics and philosophy, Transdisciplinary Solutions is a real tour de force. Transdisciplinary Solutions not only challenges us to rethink how we think about unsustainability, but suggest solutions to unsustainability, and how we might begin to move towards global sustainable development. This opens up the possibility that many of the solutions to unsustainability may be found not in transforming or managing the earth (as often suggested by ‘anthropocene dreams’ such as ‘geo-engineering’), but managing our relationship to and (always incomplete) understanding of our planetary home."–John Barry, Queen’s University Belfast, Northern Ireland

Table of Contents

1. Introduction 2. Can humans manage the earth? – No! – Implications 3. Discourse Analysis – Brundtland and management 4. Discourse Analysis – Do governments want to manage the earth? – Yes! 5. Environmental Management Responses to Sustainable Development 6. Sustainable Development Theory – Moving from management to stewardship 7. Ecological Virtue – A better ethical basis for sustainable development than the ethics of market fundamentalism? 8. Democratising Global Stewardship 9. Conclusion – Environmental policy in the light of at least one metre sea level rise

About the Author

Mark Charlesworth is Honorary Research Fellow at the School of Social Sciences, Keele University, UK.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Sustainable Development

This series uniquely brings together original and cutting-edge research on Sustainable Development. The books in this series tackle difficult and important issues in Sustainable Development including values and ethics; sustainability in higher education; climate compatible development; resilience; capitalism and de-growth; sustainable urban development; gender and participation; and well-being.

Drawing on a wide range of disciplines, the series promotes interdisciplinary research for an international readership. The series was recommended in the Guardian’s suggested reads for Development and Environment.

The series welcomes submissions from established authors in the field as well as from young authors. To submit proposals, please contact the Editor, Rebecca Brennan ([email protected]).

Learn more…

Subject Categories

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