Does sustainability emerge from between the scales?

Bender, Helena and Judith, Kate ORCID: (2015) Does sustainability emerge from between the scales? Emergence: Complexity and Organization, 17 (1). ISSN 1521-3250


This paper applies systems thinking and emergence theory to present an understanding of sustainability in terms of the human actions and attitudes required for sustainability to emerge. Sustainability is viewed as an emergent quality that occurs when the interactions within the system, and between the system and its environment are nourishing. We suggest this conception is useful because it indicates the kinds of relationships individuals and groups need to engage in as actors; the responsibilities and importance of observers in recognising emergent patterns; and the significance of the relationship between the actor and observer scales. We aim to identify strategies in these three areas that can best facilitate the emergence of sustainability. Emergence theory is found to be a fruitful framework for generating solutions and stimulating new thinking about defining, monitoring, or acting for sustainability.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Permanent restricted access to published version in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Open Access College (1 Jul 2013 - 7 Jun 2020)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Open Access College (1 Jul 2013 - 7 Jun 2020)
Date Deposited: 20 Apr 2016 02:00
Last Modified: 29 Jun 2016 03:49
Uncontrolled Keywords: emergence; sustainability; systems thinking; scales
Fields of Research (2008): 05 Environmental Sciences > 0599 Other Environmental Sciences > 059999 Environmental Sciences not elsewhere classified
22 Philosophy and Religious Studies > 2203 Philosophy > 220303 Environmental Philosophy
Fields of Research (2020): 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4199 Other environmental sciences > 419999 Other environmental sciences not elsewhere classified
50 PHILOSOPHY AND RELIGIOUS STUDIES > 5003 Philosophy > 500304 Environmental philosophy
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970105 Expanding Knowledge in the Environmental Sciences
E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970122 Expanding Knowledge in Philosophy and Religious Studies
D Environment > 96 Environment > 9607 Environmental Policy, Legislation and Standards > 960703 Environmental Education and Awareness
Identification Number or DOI: doi:10.emerg/10.17357.69fc4cb80d37cf839b28994be1b20259

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