Skip to main content

Sustainability: An Interdisciplinary Guide

Buy Article:

$23.69 plus tax (Refund Policy)

A definition of sustainability as maintaining 'utility' (average human wellbeing) over the very long term future is used to build ideas from physics, ecology, evolutionary biology, anthropology, history, philosophy, economics and psychology, into a coherent, interdisciplinary analysis of the potential for sustaining industrial civilisation. This potential is highly uncertain, because it is hard to know how long the 'technology treadmill', of substituting accumulated tools and knowledge for declining natural resource inputs to production, can continue. Policies to make the treadmill work more efficiently, by controlling its pervasive environmental, social and psychological external costs, and policies to control population, will help to realise this potential. Unprecedented levels of global co-operation, among very unequal nations, will be essential for many of these policies to work effectively. Even then, tougher action may be required, motivated by an explicit moral concern for sustainability. An evolutionary analysis of history suggests that technology and morality can and will respond to a clearly perceived future threat to civilisation; but we cannot easily predict the threat, or whether our response will be fast enough.
No Reference information available - sign in for access.
No Citation information available - sign in for access.
No Supplementary Data.
No Data/Media
No Metrics

Keywords: economics; environment; evolution; history; natural resources; policy; population; psychology; sustainability; technology

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 1992-11-01

More about this publication?
  • Environmental Values is an international peer-reviewed journal that brings together contributions from philosophy, economics, politics, sociology, geography, anthropology, ecology and other disciplines, which relate to the present and future environment of human beings and other species. In doing so we aim to clarify the relationship between practical policy issues and more fundamental underlying principles or assumptions.

    Environmental Values has a Journal Impact Factor (2016) of 1.279.
  • Editorial Board
  • Information for Authors
  • Submit a Paper
  • Subscribe to this Title
  • Ingenta Connect is not responsible for the content or availability of external websites
  • Access Key
  • Free content
  • Partial Free content
  • New content
  • Open access content
  • Partial Open access content
  • Subscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed content
  • Free trial content
Cookie Policy
X
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more