Sustainability Science: A New Discipline Awakens


Sustainability Science: A New Discipline Awakens

The year 2015 ended with international calls to action on sustainable development, with the new UN Sustainable Development Goals and the COP21 climate agreement. Academia will have a vital role to play in translating such rhetoric into results, as new global challenges require new thinking and new knowledge. Fortunately, trends augur well for the rise of sustainability science. The research output in the field—which covers the themes of dignity, people, prosperity, planet, justice, and partnership central to the SDGs—grew at a rate of 7.6% per year from 2009 to 2013, nearly double the growth rate of all research publications, and sustainability science publications attracted 30 percent more citations than the average paper. International collaboration in the field is large and growing, although it still tilts toward developed countries: more than half of all publications in sustainability science came from the US, the UK, Germany, or Australia. The field has much room to grow (it currently constitutes less than 3 percent of total research publications), and as it does, ensuring greater North-South collaboration will be essential. If knowledge is power, then the growth of sustainability science will be key to empowering global citizens everywhere.



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Journey to Earthland

The Great Transition to Planetary Civilization

Cover Image of Paul Raskin's latest book titled Journey to Earthland

GTI Director Paul Raskin charts a path from our dire global moment to a flourishing future.

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