Replacing Sustainability

Working with Robin Craig. I recently published Replacing Sustainability, a law review article making the argument that, since at least 1992 and the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, sustainability and sustainable development have been explicit and persistent goals for the governance and management of socio-ecological systems (SESs). 

We argue that the repeated invocation of sustainability ignores the ecological realities of the Anthropocene — biodiversity loss, increasing per capita resource consumption, and climate change. Climate change in particular makes human-focused ecological sustainability — the long-term maintenance of ecosystems, species, and natural capital in particular states that humans find most economically and socially productive — increasingly futile as a governance and management goal. We examine resilience as a concept that might have a more productive and meaningful relationship to the “no analog” future we face.

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