The response of the international community to the pressing socio-ecological problems has been framed around the concept of ‘sustainable development’. The ecological pressure, however, has continued to rise and mainstream sustainability discourse has proven to be problematic. It contains an instrumental view of the world, a strong focus on technological solutions, and the premise that natural and human-made ‘capitals’ are substitutable. This trajectory, which is referred to as ‘weak sustainability’, reproduces inequalities, denies intrinsic values in nature, and jeopardises the wellbeing of humans as well as other beings.
Based on the assumptions of strong sustainability, this edited book presents practical and theoretical alternatives to today’s unsustainable societies. It investigates and advances pathways for humanity that are ecologically realistic, ethically inclusive, and receptive to the task’s magnitude and urgency. The book challenges the traditional anthropocentric ethos and ontology, economic growth-dogma, and programmes of ecological modernisation. It discusses options with examples on different levels of analysis, from the individual to the global, addressing the economic system, key sectors of society, alternative lifestyles, and experiences of local communities.
Examining key topics including human–nature relations and wealth and justice, this book will be of great interest to students and scholars of environmental and development studies, ecological economics, environmental governance and policy, sustainable business, and sustainability science.
"The relation between humanity and the planet in the past has very largely been one of indifference and exploitation. Strongly Sustainable Societies: Organising Human Activities on a Hot and Full Earth proposes practical and theoretical alternatives to today’s unsustainable societies. The book should be read widely, by activists, scholars and policy makers." -- Stewart Clegg, Professor, University of Technology Sydney Business School, Australia
"This book impressively underlines the urgency for humanity to take decisive action for getting onto the path of truly sustainable development. Thought-provoking and inspiring, it discusses avenues for a radical turn towards sustainability, embracing public policy, business, society as well as human consciousness and behaviour." -- Stefan Gold, Professor, University of Kassel, Germany
"Strongly Sustainable Societies summarises the critical features of the change of course needed for global society to face up to environmental crisis. If you want to get a clear idea about what strong sustainability involves, then explore this volume!" -- Yrjö Haila, Professor (emeritus), University of Tampere, Finland
"Karl Bonnedahl and Pasi Heikkurinen present an insightful set of chapters on achieving a sustainable world through changes to ethics, economic markets, public policy and business entrepreneurship. All contributing authors present new ideas on how to advance strong sustainability across continents, developed and developing countries, including Brazil, China, Finland, and USA." -- Ashly Pinnington, Dean of Research and Professor, The British University in Dubai, United Arab Emirates
"Books about sustainability are awash. In this edited volume, we meet transformative practices, including rights of nature and permaculture, that may actually have a positive impact ahead. Reading these ideas in the context of critical scholarship provide both the need for and the example of strong sustainability that might actually save the planet from burning." -- Martin Hultman, Associate Professor, Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden
"Strongly Sustainable Societies is one of those rare books that manages to be both intellectually rigorous and yet still challenges the status quo in a fundamental way. Population, wealth, and technology are all addressed, and are connected to our present sustainability crisis. Timely and important—yes, urgent—this book needs to be read by all those concerned about our long-term survival." -- David Skrbina, Senior Lecturer, University of Michigan, USA
"What a fantastic rainbow of practical and theoretical alternatives to a nice but misleading oxymoron: sustainable development! It is simple, economic growth is not compatible with environmental sustainability. The question then becomes: how do we manage without growth? This book takes us forward towards sustainable and just societies." -- Federico Demaria, Researcher, Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain
List of Figures
List of Tables
Notes on contributors
1 The call for strong sustainability
Karl Johan Bonnedahl and Pasi Heikkurinen
Roots of unsustainability
2 The long history of unsustainability: Inter-species relations since the 1850s
Tarja Ketola, Tuomas Räsänen and Taina Syrjämaa
3 Rethinking economic ontologies: From scarcity and market subjects to strong sustainability
Teppo Eskelinen and Kristoffer Wilén
4 Rights of nature as a prerequisite for sustainability
Pella Larsdotter Thiel and Henrik Hallgren
5 The energy ethic and strong sustainability: Outlining key principles for a moral compass
Public policy and urbanisation
6 Ecosystem infrastructure for sustainability: Revaluating nature through community-based water and land policies in Brazil
Mohammad Al-Saidi and Renata Buriti
7 Urban ecosystem services and stakeholders: Towards a sustainable capability approach
Anna Heikkinen, Hannele Mäkelä, Johanna Kujala, Jere Nieminen, Ari Jokinen and Hanna Rekola
8 Meat consumption and the environmental unsustainability of economic growth: The case of China
Jennifer Rivers Cole and Suzanne K. McCoskey
Business management and investment
9 Business models based on strongly sustainable entrepreneurship: Insights from a systemic literature review
10 Biodiversity as integral to strongly sustainable supply chains: Review and exemplars in the natural resources sectors
Anne Quarshie, Asta Salmi, Joanna Scott-Kennel and Anni-Kaisa Kähkönen
11 Sustainable investment and degrowth
Identity, needs and wellbeing
12 Strongly sustainable consumption and a case of mistaken identity: A qualitative study on environmentally concerned individuals
Kristoffer Wilén and Tiina Taipale
13 Being matters: A holistic conception of wellbeing in the shift towards strongly sustainable societies
Reconnect to the Earth
14 Relearning with permaculture: Exploring knowledges of innovation for strong sustainability
Maxim Vlasov and Zsuzsanna Vincze
15 Redesigning community as an ecovillage: Lessons from Earthaven
Todd Levasseur and Lee Warren
16 Dead ends and living futures: A framework for sustainable change
Pasi Heikkurinen and Karl Johan Bonnedahl
Sustainability has become one of the most pressing social, environmental, economic, cultural and political issues of our times. Yet the meaning of ‘sustainability’ remains elusive.
This series provides original insights from across the social sciences and humanities on the meaning and practice of sustainability. It offers both theoretical and practical analysis of ‘sustainability’, including social sustainability, sustainable consumption, democratic sustainability and sustainable behaviour.
These interdisciplinary books give students, researchers, policy makers and practitioners the latest thinking from international authors. This thought-provoking series draws on and is relevant to those working in a wide-range of disciplines, including environment, development, sociology, politics, philosophy, business and marketing, media, geography, and anthropology.
To submit proposals, please contact the Editor, Rebecca Brennan ([email protected]).