Sustainability Science

Sustainability Science

Managing Risk and Resilience for Sustainable Development

1st Edition - July 23, 2014

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  • Author: Per Becker
  • Hardcover ISBN: 9780444627094
  • eBook ISBN: 9780444627292

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A new, holistic transdisciplinary endeavour born in the 21st century, Sustainability Science: Managing Risk and Resilience for Sustainable Development aims to provide conceptual and practical approaches to sustainable development that help us to grasp and address uncertainty, complexity, ambiguity and dynamic change. Four aspects that permeate our contemporary world and undermine much of our traditional ways of thinking and doing. The concepts of risk and resilience are central in this endeavour to explain, understand and improve core challenges of humankind. Sustainability and sustainable development are increasingly important guiding principles across administrative levels, functional sectors and scientific disciplines. Policymakers, practitioners and academics continue to wrestle with the complexity of risk, resilience and sustainability, but because of the necessary transdisciplinary focus, it is difficult to find authoritative content in a single source. Sustainability Science: Managing Risk and Resilience for Sustainable Development presents the state of the world in relation to major sustainability challenges and their symptomatic effects, such as climate change, environmental degradation, poverty, disease and disasters. It then continues by elaborating on ways to approach and change our world to make it a safer and more sustainable place for current and future generations. The natural, applied and social sciences are woven together throughout the book to provide a more inclusive understanding of relevant processes, changes, trends and events.

Key Features

  • Shows how disturbances, disruptions and disasters have always been intrinsic byproducts of the same human-environment systems that supply us with opportunities, as well as what implications that has for policy and practice towards sustainable development today
  • Introduces a new approach for grasping and addressing issues of risk and resilience in relation to sustainable development that is firmly rooted in a comprehensive philosophical and theoretical foundation and clearly linking the conceptual with the practical
  • Presents a holistic agenda for change that includes a more explicit role of science, reinforced focus on capacity development and the overall necessity of fundamental social change
  • Features more than 150 figures, full-color photographs, diagrams, and illustrations to highlight major themes and aid in the retention of key concepts


The primary audience includes geoscientists, engineers and environmental scientists responsible for, as well as in private companies or international organizations involved in, hazard and disaster management, risk management, societal planning, and climate change adaptation. The more advocacy-oriented parts of the book will interest government policymakers. A secondary audience includes students at the graduate level taking related coursework within the disciplines outlined above.

Table of Contents

    • Acknowledgments
    • Chapter 1. Introducing the Book
      • Introduction
      • Purpose of the Book
      • Demarcation of the Book
      • Structure of the Book
      • Conclusion
    • Part I. The State of the World
      • Chapter 2. Our Past Defining Our Present
        • Introduction
        • Conquering Our Dynamic World
        • Social Change over Millennia
        • The Invention of Risk
        • Conclusion
      • Chapter 3. Our Sustainability Challenges
        • Introduction
        • Our Challenges as Discussed on World Conferences
        • Our Boundaries for Sustainability
        • Conclusion
      • Chapter 4. Our Disturbances, Disruptions and Disasters in a Dynamic World
        • Introduction
        • Our Symptomatic Events
        • Our Processes of Change
        • Conclusion
    • Part II. Approaching the World
      • Chapter 5. Conceptual Frames for Risk, Resilience and Sustainable Development
        • Introduction
        • Philosophical Assumptions about Our World
        • Development, Sustainability and Risk
        • Managing Risk for Sustainable Development
        • The Concept of Resilience
        • Conclusion
      • Chapter 6. Resilience—From Panacean to Pragmatic
        • Introduction
        • Inherent Restrictions for Measuring Resilience
        • Operationalizing Resilience
        • Challenges for Developing Resilience
        • Linking Resilience to Other Frameworks
        • Conclusion
      • Chapter 7. The World as Human–Environment Systems
        • Introduction
        • Why Human–Environment Systems?
        • Systems Approaches and Concepts
        • Constructing Human–Environment Systems
        • Conclusion
    • Part III. Changing the World
      • Chapter 8. Science and Change
        • Introduction
        • The Sciences of the Complemental
        • Two Scientific Processes
        • Reliability, Validity and Workability
        • Limitations of Science for Change
        • Conclusion
      • Chapter 9. Developing Capacities for Resilience
        • Introduction
        • Four Levels of Capacity
        • Capacity Development for Resilience
        • Central “Ships” in Capacity Development
        • Conclusion
      • Chapter 10. Social Change for a Resilient Society
        • Introduction
        • Describing Social Change
        • Prescribing Social Change
        • Conclusion
      • Chapter 11. Concluding Remarks
        • Introduction
        • The State of the World
        • Approaching the World
        • Changing the World
        • Conclusion
    • References
    • Index

Product details

  • No. of pages: 302
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Elsevier 2014
  • Published: July 23, 2014
  • Imprint: Elsevier
  • Hardcover ISBN: 9780444627094
  • eBook ISBN: 9780444627292

About the Author

Per Becker

Affiliations and Expertise

Lund University Center for Risk Assessment and Management (LUCRAM), Lund, Sweden

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