Sustainability science in action: a review of the state of the field through case studies on disaster recovery, bioenergy, and precautionary purchasing

Arnim Wiek, John Harlow, Robert Melnick, Sander Van Der Leeuw, Kensuke Fukushi, Kazuhiko Takeuchi, Francesca Farioli, Francis Yamba, Ann Blake, Chris Geiger, Robert Kutter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

31 Scopus citations

Abstract

Sustainability science still struggles with transitioning from problem-focused to solution-oriented endeavors that yield positive impacts on mitigating sustainability challenges. This article presents and compares three sustainability science studies on the reconstruction after the 2011 triple-disaster in Japan; limited energy and livelihood options in rural Africa; and toxic chemical dispersion in San Francisco. Research varied in design and conduct, with opportunities for improvement in transdisciplinary collaboration, institutional incentives and rewards, competency development in future researchers, articulation of relevant political economies, and orientation towards feasible solution options. Of particular interest are insights synthesized across the cases, mainly success factors and their transferability, sustainability science pedagogical opportunities, and potential future research areas. These insights emerged from presentations and breakout discussions of the three studies at the 2012 International Conference on Sustainability Science held at Arizona State University.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalSustainability Science
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Aug 15 2014

Keywords

  • Bioenergy
  • Developing countries
  • Disasters
  • Precautionary purchasing
  • Sustainability science
  • Urban sustainability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Health(social science)
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Ecology
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Global and Planetary Change

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