Sustainability: Multi-Disciplinary Perspectives


by

Heriberto Cabezas, Urmila Diwekar

DOI: 10.2174/97816080510381120101
eISBN: 978-1-60805-103-8, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-60805-429-9



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Indexed in: EBSCO.

The concept of sustainability is inherently multi-disciplinary because it concerns a complex system having economic, technological, ec...[view complete introduction]

Table of Contents

Foreword

- Pp. i-ii (2)

Thomas L. Theis

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Preface

- Pp. iii

Urmila Diwekar and Heriberto Cabezas

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List of Contributors

- Pp. iv-viii (5)

Urmila Diwekar and Heriberto Cabezas

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Introduction

- Pp. 3-8 (6)

H. Cabezas

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Principles of Sustainability From Ecology

- Pp. 9-39 (31)

Audrey L. Mayer

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The Economics of Sustainability

- Pp. 40-64 (25)

Joshua C. Farley

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Actualizing Sustainability: Environmental Policy for Resilience in Ecological Systems

- Pp. 65-87 (23)

Ahjond S. Garmestani, Matthew E. Hopton and Matthew T. Heberling

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Human Interactions and Sustainability

- Pp. 88-111 (24)

Michael E. Gorman, Lekelia D. Jenkins and Raina K. Plowright

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On the Matter of Sustainable Water Resources Management

- Pp. 112-140 (29)

W.D. Shuster

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Sustainable Infrastructure and Alternatives for Urban Growth

- Pp. 141-172 (32)

Arka Pandit, Hyunju Jeong, John C. Crittenden, Steven P. French, Ming Xu and Ke Li

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Engineering Urban Sustainability

- Pp. 173-196 (24)

Ke Li, John Crittenden, Subhrajit Guhathakurta and Harindra Joseph Fernando

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Sustainability Indicators and Metrics

- Pp. 197-221 (25)

H. Cabezas

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Implications of Thermodynamics for Sustainability

- Pp. 222-242 (21)

Bhavik R. Bakshi and Geoffrey F. Grubb

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Industrial Ecology and Sustainable Development: Dynamics, Future Uncertainty and Distributed Decision Making

- Pp. 243-272 (30)

Jim Petrie, Ruud Kempener and Jessica Beck

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Green Engineering and Sustainability: A Systems Analysis Perspective

- Pp. 273-309 (37)

Urmila Diwekar

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The Case and Practice for Sustainability in Business

- Pp. 310-339 (30)

Beth Beloff and Arnaud Chevallier

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Summary

- Pp. 340-346 (7)

Urmila Diwekar

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Index

- Pp. 347-356 (10)

Urmila Diwekar

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Foreword

In 1987, the United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development (the Brundtland Commission in deference to its chair, Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland) released its report “Our Common Future” in which it expressed the need for countries to adopt an approach to human interactions with the environment that was referred to as “sustainable development”, ”… development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. The Brundtland Report, and this book, make it clear that while sustainable development is enabled by technological advances and economic viability, it is first and foremost a social construct that seeks to improve the quality of life for the world’s peoples--physically through the equitable supply of human and ecological goods and services, aspirationally through making available the widespread means for advancement through access to education, systems of justice, and healthcare, and strategically through safeguarding the interests of generations to come. In this sense sustainability sits among a series of human social movements that have occurred throughout history: human rights, racial equality, gender equity, labor relations, and environmental conservation, to name a few.

Although the Brundtland Report did not, technically, invent the term “sustainability”, it was the first credible and widely disseminated study that probed its meaning in the context of the global impacts of humans on the environment, emphasizing the connections among social equity, economic productivity, and environmental quality. In the intervening period of time this rather idealistic and broadly defined concept has become the driving force for a new meta-discipline, one that has had to establish its own conceptual theories, develop characteristic investigative metrics and methodologies, collect appropriately defined data, forge new methods of data interpretation and analysis, and generate a body of knowledge that is the foundation for continued advances—in short a new “science of sustainability”. And as with any knowledge-based enterprise, a number of text books, reference sources, and treatises on the topic have been and will continue to be released.

This is a book about sustainability. It is written from a distinctly multidisciplinary perspective, as any serious book on the topic must. But it is worth reflecting just what, in this case, that means. Merging existing disciplines to create first a metadiscipline and eventually a distinctly new discipline is not new. For example public health emerged from a combination of microbiology, epidemiology, and medicine in the 1890s, biochemistry from concepts of cell biology and chemistry in the 1940s and 50s, and environmental engineering science from microbiology, chemistry, and sanitary science in the 1960s. Butwhat is extraordinary about the meta-discipline surrounding sustainability is both the sheer number and breadth of disciplines that are called upon to contribute to sustainability science. It is not easy to put together a book on sustainability.

“Sustainability: Multidisciplinary Perspectives” is a collection of fourteen papers, written by 23 authors drawn from fifteen distinct disciplinary backgrounds ranging from engineering to public policy, from ecology to thermodynamics, from organizational behavior to social psychology, and from industrial ecology to economics. It has something to offer for everyone interested in sustainability, and a great deal to offer for a smaller number who are in serious pursuit of understanding the nature of research and pedagogy in support of sustainability science. The editors, Heriberto Cabezas and Urmila Diwekar (whom I have known and with whom I have interacted for several years), intend this book to be a reference for those interested in sustainability, but it provides much more: a useful introduction to the topic, a thorough summary of the current state of knowledge, an intricate examination of its foundational principles, a thoughtful exposition of the implications of sustainability for society, a practical basis for framing problems that the sustainability paradigm seeks to solve, and ways to measure the outcomes of our solutions and policies.

The information contained in this book is timely and important, but just as important is the bold manner in which it presents views on sustainability through so many disciplinary lenses. This may be its ultimate contribution—to stimulate others, perhaps in yet additional domains, to undertake the task of incorporating sustainability thinking into their own disciplines, thereby extending and deepening the sustainability knowledge base.

Thomas L. Theis
Institute for Environmental Science and Policy
University of Illinois at Chicago
USA


Preface

The concept of sustainability is inherently multi-disciplinary because it concerns the management of a complex system having economic, technological, ecological, political, and other perspectives. Consequently, any effort in the area of sustainability involves concepts, principles, and methods from engineering, the social sciences including economics and social psychology, the biological sciences including ecology, and the physical sciences. The purpose of this book is, therefore, to discuss in a coherent and comprehensive manner the salient concepts, principles, and methods relevant to sustainability from the perspective of different disciplines. Although there are number of books that have been recently published on the topic of sustainability, most of them do not cross the disciplinary boundaries, or at least address them as thoroughly as necessary. This book is different in that respect. It provides perspectives from ecology, environment, economics, social-sciences, policy, infrastructure, industrial ecology, engineering, and business written by experts trained and experienced in the respective disciplines.

The book is intended for a diverse audience ranging from undergraduate and graduate students from various disciplines, to researchers, academics, policy makers and practitioners. It is the objective of the current endeavor to provide to provide a timely source and reference material on sustainability. This book is primarily designed to serve as a reference book. However, it has also been used in a multidisciplinary undergraduate course on sustainability in Michigan Technological University with excellent feedback from the students, it may properly in any such course of instruction.

To readers in academia, the industries, and government organization alike, we hope that the ideas and pages that follow will give as much enjoyment and stimulation of creative interest as they have for us, the writers and editors, right from the day when we started working in this area.

Heriberto Cabezas
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Office of Research and Development
Cincinnati, Ohio
USA

Urmila Diwekar
Vishwamitra Research Institute
Chicago, Illinois
USA

List of Contributors

Editor(s):
Heriberto Cabezas
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Office of Research and Development, Cincinnati
Ohio
USA


Urmila Diwekar
Vishwamitra Research Institute, Chicago
Illinois
USA




Contributor(s):
Jessica Beck
Büro für Energiewirtschaft und technische Planung GmbH
Aachen
Germany


Beth Beloff
Beth Beloff & Associates; President, Bridges to Sustainability Institute
3501Nottingham St
Houston
TX , 77005
USA


Bhavik Bakshi
Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Ohio State University
335 A KOFFOLT, 140 W Ninteenth Avenue
Columbus
OH , 43210
USA


Heriberto Cabezas
Office of Research and Development
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Research and Development
26 West Martin Luther King Drive
Cincinnati
OH , 45268
USA


John Crittenden
School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta
Georgia
USA


Urmila Diwekar
Vishwamitra Research Institute, Center for Uncertain Systems: Tools for Optimization and Management
CUSTOM 368 56-th Street, Clarendon Hills,
Illinois
IL , 60514
USA


Joshua Farley
Community Development and Applied Economics, University of Vermont
Main St. Rm 617
Burlington
VT , 05405
USA


Harindra Joseph Fernando
Department of Civil Engineering and Geological Sciences
University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame
Indiana
USA


Steven P. French
Center for Geographic Information Systems
Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta
Georgia
USA


Ahjond Garmestrani
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Research and Development
26 West Martin Luther King Drive
Cincinnati
OH , 45268
USA


Michael E. Gorman
Department of Science, Technology & Society
University of Virginia
PO BOX 400744, 351 McCormick Rd. Thornton Hall, Rm. A217



Subhrajit Guhathakurta
School of Geographical Sciences & Urban Planning, Arizona State University
Tempe
AZ
USA


Matthew T. Heberling
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Research and Development
26 West Martin Luther King Drive
Cincinnati
OH , 45268
USA


Matthew E. Hopton
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Research and Development
26 West Martin Luther King Drive
Cincinnati
OH , 45268
USA


Hyunju Jeong
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Brook Byers Institute for Sustainable Systems, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta
Georgia
USA


Lekelia D. Jenkins
David H. Smith Conservation Research Fellows, Research Associate
University of Washington, School of Marine Affairs
3707 Brooklyn Avenue NE
Seattle
WA , 98105
USA


Ruud Kempener
3Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
26 West Martin Luther King Drive
Cambridge
MA
USA


Ke Li
Faculty of Engineering
University of Georgia
Georgia
USA


Audrey Meyer
USchool of Forest Resource & Environmental Science
Michigan Technological University
209 Academic Office Bldg. 1400 Townsend Drive, Houghton
Michigan , 49931
USA


Arka Pandit
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Brook Byers Institute for Sustainable Systems, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta
Georgia
USA


Jim
School of Chemical and Bio-molecular Engineering
University of Sydney
NSW 2006
Australia
/
University of Cape Town
Rondebsoch South, 7700
Africa


Raina K. Plowright
David H. Smith Conservation Research Fellow, Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics
The Pennsylvania State University, University Park
Georgia
PA , 16802
USA


Ming Xu
School of Natural Resources and Environment, University of Michigan
Ann Arbor
Michigan
USA




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