Environmental Science and Sustainability

Sustainability addresses the question of how humans can achieve a mode of life that meets our needs to survive in a way that can be continued indefinitely without destroying natural ecosystems and their biodiversity. This has become an important topic in environmental studies, and is an example of how Environmental Science and Policy can be applied to solve an important environmental problem.

Because the human population as a whole is probably not at a sustainable level in terms of both size and resource utilization, sustainability is not just an area of study but also is an area of political, social, and economic action and community service. Not surprisingly, the concept of sustainability has different philosophical and practical implications, and so currently is somewhat controversial. Different interpretations of sustainability range from “very weak sustainability,” which minimizes the amount of change required to achieve true sustainability, to “very strong sustainability,” which sees true sustainability as a goal that can be achieved only with radical changes in human activity. Reconciliation of these differences will depend in large part on a better understanding of environmental science and policy.