William Clark's "Pursuing Sustainability"

About the Authors:

Pamela Matson is Dean of the School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences and the Goldman Professor of Environmental Studies at Stanford University.

William C. Clark is the Harvey Brooks Professor of International Science, Public Policy, and Human Development at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government.

Krister Andersson is professor of political science at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Book Description:

Sustainability is a global imperative and a scientific challenge like no other. PURSUING SUSTAINABILITY: A Guide to the Science and Practice (Publication date: March 30, 2016) provides students and practitioners with a strategic framework to evaluate alternative development pathways and to link knowledge with action in the pursuit of sustainability goals. In educational settings, the book serves as an invaluable primer and companion to more narrowly focused work dealing with sustainability in particular sectors such as energy, food, water, and cities, or in particular regions of the world. In professional settings, it offers ideas on how we all—regardless of profession—can become more effective in the pursuit of sustainability.

Written by leading experts in the field, Pursuing Sustainability shows how systems perspectives and inclusive and interdisciplinary approaches can help in the pursuit of intergenerational well-being. It illustrates how the prospects for achieving sustainability goals are ultimately shaped by five capital assets functioning within complex social-environmental systems, how committed people can use governance processes to alter the dynamics of those systems, and how successful interventions can be shaped through collaborations among researchers and practitioners on the ground. 

The ideal textbook for undergraduate and graduate students and a valuable resource for leaders working in this fast-growing field, Pursuing Sustainability also features case studies, a glossary, and suggestions for further reading. The book:

  • Provides a strategic framework for linking knowledge with action
  • Serves as the ideal companion text for more narrowly focused courses
  • Utilizes interdisciplinary approaches and systems perspectives
  • Illustrates concepts with a core set of case studies used throughout the book
  • An online package of illustrations, along with related syllabi suggestions, can be found at pursuingsustainability.org

What Others Are Saying:

"If we are to make peace with nature, the effort will have to come from us all. This very moving book is the finest introduction to the subject I have seen. It does not avoid technicalities, but can be read with equal benefit by the young and the old with no prior knowledge of the complexities we face."--Sir Partha Dasgupta, Frank Ramsey Professor Emeritus of Economics, University of Cambridge

"This is a beautiful, lucid, and desperately needed book about the sustainability challenge. The authors accomplish a mission impossible: providing deep analyses of complex adaptive social-environmental systems while using simple terms and compelling metaphors to expose the crucial steps we need to take for long-term inclusive well-being. A must-read for practitioners and scholars alike."--Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, founder and director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research

"Finally, a beautiful small book bringing together the thinking and practice behind sustainability science in an easily accessible and comprehensive manner, making it clear that this critical field of study for humanity provides an overarching framework for many different areas and competencies dealing with the sustainability challenge. Strongly recommended."--Carl Folke, founder of the Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University, and director of the Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics, Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences

"Pursuing Sustainability by Matson, Clark, and Andersson is that all too rare book able to convey deepest insights in simplest words. Written to engage, inform, and provoke, it is simultaneously a call to think and act. It will find enduring appeal among students and researchers, casual readers and experts; I predict no collection on sustainability will be complete without this foundational work."--Arun Agrawal, School of Natural Resources and Environment, University of Michigan

"Sustainability can seem like a faraway, nebulous dream. Through a clear framework, iconic case studies, and a beautiful, accessible style, Pursuing Sustainability brings this dream to life. A must-read for anyone concerned about the future health of our planet."--Gretchen C. Daily, Bing Professor of Environmental Science, Stanford University


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