Theme 1: Sustainability Science

Theme 1: Sustainability Science

Sustainability science is an emerging field of research dealing with the interactions between natural and social systems, and with how those interactions affect the challenge of sustainability. The challenge is to meet the needs of present and future generations while substantially reducing poverty and conserving the planet’s life support systems. Sustainability science is a kind of science that is primarily use-inspired, with significant fundamental and applied knowledge components, and commitment to moving such knowledge into societal action. Sustainability science is science with ethics.

Sustainability Science is rooted in being human and being authentic in its service to human development and environmental interaction. Before, state and industry used to define science. Now, human need is increasingly defining science. Science is now giving attention to basic needs, beyond sustaining just the average, by moving towards achieving impact on the bottom. Many institutions recognize the importance of including Sustainability Science in the solutions of sustainability challenges we face, including disaster risk reduction and youth engagement.

This session invites presentations that work towards environmental and social sustainability using approaches that value the rootedness of research in an area’s context: the landscape, the people, and their socio-economic realities. Participants are invited to share how they are learning to discover and communicate the science for sustaining both people and planet, creating capacities with different stakeholders, accompanying various partners, and supporting the emergence of ‘centres of living and learning’.

Guide Questions

  • What are the contexts in which we want to do research about sustainability science?
  • What concepts, tools and analytical methods are used in sustainability science?
  • Where can cases be found which promote better understanding of biophysical and social processes necessary for land and water management planning at different levels (community, municipal, provincial, regional, national)?
  • How can we improve the linkages among people coming from various research and academic disciplines to mainstream sustainability science?
  • How can we mainstream the concepts, tools and analytical methods for sustainability science in local governance?

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