Understanding Sustainable Development

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Sustainable development is notoriously difficult to grasp for students and professionals. Multidimensional, encompassing social, ecological and economic theories, policies and practice, it can be a maze of complexity and contradiction.

This powerful new textbook, by a topic instructor in the field, is the first to unravel sustainable development and provide readers with the deep understanding so often missing in other texts. The book adopts a multi-perspective approach designed specifically to allow access to the topic from a wide range of educational and professional backgrounds and to develop understanding of a diversity of approaches and traditions at different levels. It features multiple entry points, explains, jargon and explores controversies. Also offering boxed examples from the local to the global, Understanding Sustainable Development is the most complete guide to the subject for course leaders, students and self-learners.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Synthesizing the broad array of ideas, debates and approaches to ‘Sustainable Development’ is no easy task. This book does an excellent job of covering the critical issues, and in a very readable form. It moves deftly from theory to practice, touching down in different parts of the world, from China to South America, from the U.S. to the U.K. The inclusion of up-to-date topics like the role of the internet, computers, television and film in sustainable development is most welcome, indeed." –Lawrence Herzog, San Diego State University, USA

"John Blewitt’s revised and updated edition is truly a bridge – elegantly and comprehensively connecting theory with practice, socio-economic and political understanding with environmental performance, and the reader to a vast solar system of ideas, solutions and real world examples of sustainability."–Jeff Loux, University of California, Davis, USA

"A very comprehensive, resourceful and user-friendly book for developing an understanding of sustainable development and of its interpretation in different policy areas, contexts and sectors; this textbook is essential for both students and teachers." –Paola Gazzola, Newcastle University, UK

"This is a comprehensive, authoritative and accessible contribution to sustainable development which can only come from an author who has decades of experience in the field. John Blewitt combines meticulously researched chapters with deeply reflective questions and a clarity of argument that makes this book essential reading for all" –Daniella Tilbury, University of Gloucestershire, UK and Chair of the UN Global Monitoring and Evaluation Expert Group on Education for Sustainable Development

"Understanding Sustainable Development introduces students and professionals to the basic concepts of sustainability and leads them - step by step - to explore inherent paradoxes and complexity of social, economic and environmental issues. A must read for everybody interested in (critical) theory of economic development, sustainability, and related subjects of globalization, democracy and neoliberalism." –Helen Kopnina, The Hague University of Applied Sciences, the Netherlands

"Understanding Sustainable Development provides both an excellent introduction to sustainability for those new to the field exploring sustainability links with their own background interests, and for those sustainability professionals, keen to keep abreast of the dynamic field. The new edition continues to reflect the interdiscipinary nature of sustainability, embracing many different perspectives, and its many dimensions, providing a great supporting text for those new and old to the field of sustainability teaching, research and in their professional and personal lives."Zoe Robinson, Keele University, UK

"Sustainable development presents students with a confusing interdisciplinary kaleidoscope of technical issues, research problems and policy arenas. The Second Edition of John Blewitt's text achieves the holy grail of scholarly exposition. Succinct but comprehensive and combining clarity with technical accuracy, students are gifted a comprehensive overview that is easy to read. I have used 'Understanding Sustainable Development' with students from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds. The text has always worked well and has become a primary teaching resource." –Stephen Quilley, University of Waterloo, Canada

Praise for the 1st edition

A significant achievement in addressing a complex contemporary issue in such a clear and optimistic way. Will it make a difference to our understanding? I think it will.Stephen Martin, Visiting Professor, Center for Complexity and Change, The Open University

This is an immensely important book that brings into a cohesive and dialogic whole, the multiple strands that do - or should - feed into understandings of sustainable development. It draws upon worldviews and perspectives often marginalized or ignored in the adrenaline rush to make sustainability a living reality. A 'must read' for both those new to and those steeped in the field. –David Selby, Director, Centre for Sustainable Futures, University of Plymouth

Presents a comprehensive account of the sustainability territory, successfully integrating ideas from science, philosophy, sociology and cultural studies in its explication of key topics within this field. It will prove invaluable for those of us from a range of disciplines and perspectives who are trying to make sense of what 'sustainability' means, and what actions we might take to realize it within our communities, organizations and homes.Donna Ladkin, Senior Lecturer in Organizational Learning and Leadership at Cranfield University School of Management

Understanding Sustainable Development is a major work and it largely achieves a very difficult task. It comes closer than most to that elusive ideal: the comprehensive book on a broadly based interpretation of sustainable development! –Julian Agyeman, Associate Professor and Chair, Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning, Tufts University

Scientists, engineers, technologists, mathematicians, and economists will find the text useful to see how their efforts have been interpreted by others.' –Experimental Agriculture

'I found it an excellent refresher and reminder of basic concepts, issues and historical background..I enjoyed this book and I continue to dip into it' –AJH, Eagle Bulletin, 2009.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781844074549
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 7/28/2008
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 6.60 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

John Blewitt is the Director of the MSc Social Responsibility and Sustainability, Aston Business School, Aston University, UK.

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Table of Contents

List of Figures, Tables and Boxes

1 Globalization and Sustainable Development 1

2 Worldviews and Ethical Values - Towards an Ecological Paradigm 27

3 Cultural and Contested Understandings of Science and Sustainability 51

4 Connecting the Social with the Environmental: Social Capital and Environmental Justice 75

5 Sustainable Development, Politics and Governance 99

6 Beyond the Imperatives of Economic Growth and 'Business as Usual' 123

7 Envisioning a Sustainable Society 149

8 Tools and Systems for Sustainability 173

9 Communication and Learning for Sustainability 199

10 Leading the Sustainability Process 225

References 251

App. 1 The Earth Charter 273

App. 2 Principles of Environmental Justice 275

App. 3 Shenzhen Declaration on EcoCity Development 277

Index 279

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