Sustainability science has emerged in the 21st century as a new academic discipline. [1] This new field of science has been inaugurated with a „Birth Statement“ at the World Congress „Challenges of a Changing Earth 2001“ in Amsterdam organized by the International Council for Science (ICSU), the International Geosphere-Biosphere Program ( IGBP The International Human Dimensions Program on Global Environmental Change [2] and the World Climate Research Program (WCRP). The field reflects on the generalities and broad-based approach of sustainability“A stronger analytic and scientific underpinning as it“ brings together scholarship and practice, global and local perspectives from north and south, and disciplines across the natural and social sciences, engineering, and medicine „. [3] Ecologist William C. Clark proposed that it be usedfully thought of as „neither“ nor „applied“ nor „applied“. the need for advancing both knowledge and action by creating a dynamic bridge between the two „. [4]

The field is Focused on Examining the interactions entre human, environmental, and engineered systems to Understand and contribuer to solutions for complex challenges That Threaten the future of humanity and the integrity of the life support systems of the planet, Such As climate change, biodiversity loss , pollution and land and water degradation. [5]

Sustainability science, like sustainability itself, derives some impetus from the concepts of sustainable development and environmental science . [6] Sustainability Science Provides a critical framework for sustainability [7] while sustainability measurement Provides the quantitative evidence-based data needed to guide sustainability governance . [8]


Consensual definition of sustainability is as elusive as the definition of „sustainability“ or „sustainable development“. In an overview presented in its website in 2008, the Sustainability Science Program at Harvard University describes the field, stressing its interdisciplinarity :

‚Sustainability science‘ is problem-driven, interdisciplinary scholarship that seeks to facilitate the design, implementation, and evaluation of effective interventions that foster shared prosperity and reduced poverty while protecting the environment. It is defined by the problems it addresses rather than the disciplines it employs. It thus draws from multiple disciplines of the natural, social, medical and engineering sciences, from the professions, and from the knowledge of practice. [9]

Susan W. Kieffer and colleagues, in 2003, suggests, more specifically, that sustainability science is:

… the culture, integration, and application of knowledge of Earth and Earth Sciences in Earth Sciences and Humanities. To evaluate, mitigate, and minimize the consequences, regionally and worldwide, of human impacts on planetary systems and on societies across the globe and into the future – that is, in which humans can be knowledgeable Earth stewards. [10]

It has been noted that the new paradigm

Multiple scales, multiple actors, and multiple failures. [11]

The role of sustainability in the field of sustainability is to increase the importance of the social and economic sustainability of the economy, and to increase the importance of social and political development. In a 2012 article entitled „Sustainability Science Needs to Include Sustainable Consumption,“ published in Environment: Science and Policy for Sustainable Development, Halina Brown argues that sustainability science must include the study of the sociology of material consumption and the structure of consumerist society. role of technology in aggravating the unsustainable social practices,[12]

Broad objectives

The case for making research and development of an important component of sustainable development strategies was adopted by many international scientific organizations in the mid-1980s, sponsored by the Brundtland Commission’s report Our Common Future in 1987, and noted in the Agenda 21 plan that emerged from the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in 1992 and further developed at the World Summit on Sustainable Development , held in Johannesburg in 2002.

The topics of the following sub-headings recurring themes that are addressed in the literature of sustainability science. [13] In 2010 a compendium of basic papers in this new discipline was published as Readings in Sustainability Science and Technology , edited by Robert Kates , with a preface by William Clark. [14] The 2012 Commentary by Halina Brown extensively expands the scope of this seminal publication. [12] This is work in progress. The 2012 Encyclopedia of Sustainability Science and Technology was created as a collaboration of over 1000 scientists to provide peer-reviewed publications. [15]

Knowledge structuring of issues

Knowledge structuring has been identified as an essential first step in the effort to acquire a comprehensive view of sustainability issues which are both complex and interconnected. This is needed as a response to the requirements of academia, industry and government.

Coordination of data

The key research and data for sustainability are sourced from many scientific disciplines, topics and organizations. A major part of knowledge is provided by an overview of knowledge of what is known. Sustainability science can construct and coordinate a framework within which the vast amount of data can be easily accessed.

Interdisciplinary approaches

The attempt, by sustainability science, to understand the „integrated“ of planetary and human systems requires cooperation between scientific, social and economic disciplines, public and private sectors, academia and government. In a global cooperative effort and a major task of sustainability science is to assist integrated cross-disciplinary coordination.


  • Consilience: The Journal of Sustainable Development , seminannual journal published since February 2008. [16]
  • International Journal of Sustainable Development & World Ecology , journal with six issues per year, published since 1994 by Taylor & Francis. [17]
  • Surveys and Perspectives Integrating Environment and Society (SAPIEN.S.) , Semiannual journal published by Veolia Environnement since February 2007. [18] A notable essay on sustainability indicators by Paul-Marie Boulanger appeared in the first issue. [19]
  • Sustainability Science , journal launched by Springer in June 2006. [20]
  • Sustainability: Science, Practice, Policy , an open-access e-journal for sustainable solutions launched in March 2005. [21]
  • Sustainability: The Journal of Record , bimonthly journal published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. beginning in December 2007. [22]
  • A section dedicated to sustainability science in the multidisciplinary journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences was launched in 2006. [23]
  • GAIA: Ecological Perspectives for Science and Society / GAIA: Ökologische Perspektiven für Wissenschaft und Gesellschaft , a quarterly inter- and transdisciplinary journal for scientists and other interested parties concerned with the causes and analyzes of environmental and sustainability problems and their solutions. Launched in 1992 and published by oekom verlag on behalf of GAIA Society – Konstanz, St. Gallen, Zurich. [24]

List of sustainability science programs

In recent years, more and more university degree programs have developed formal curricula that address issues of sustainability and global change:

  • BA or BS Sustainability at Arizona State University, USA
  • BS Sustainability Studies at the Florida Institute of Technology, USA
  • BS or MS combined – Sustainability Science at Montclair State University, NJ, USA
  • B.Sc. Environmental Sciences at Leuphana University Lueneburg, Germany
  • B.Sc. Environmental and Sustainability Studies at Leuphana University Lueneburg, Germany
  • MS Sustainability: Science and Society at Brock University , ON, Canada
  • M.Sc. Sustainability Science and Solutions , Lappeenranta University of Technology , Finland
  • M.Sc. Sustainability Science at Montclair State University, NJ, USA
  • MSc Sustainability Science at Leuphana University Lueneburg, Germany
  • MBA Sustainability Management Leuphana University Lueneburg, Germany
  • Master’s degree – Urban, Regional Planning and Sustainability Science Institute, Reims University, France
  • M.Sc. „Sustainability Science and Policy“ at Maastricht University – CIHI, The Netherlands
  • MS / MBA Erb Institute for Sustainable Enterprise (multiple sub specialties) at the University of Michigan, USA
  • M.Sc. “ Sustainable Resource Management “ at the Technical University of Munich, Germany
  • M.Sc. „Global Change Ecology“ at the University of Bayreuth, Germany
  • M.Sc. „Global Change Management“ at the University of Applied Sciences Eberswalde, Germany
  • M.Sc. „Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science“ at the University of Lund, Sweden
  • „Master of Development Practice Degree Program“ at the University of Minnesota, USA
  • „Lund University’s International Master’s Program in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science“ at Lund University, Sweden.
  • „Master`s Degree in Creative Sustainability“ at Aalto University, Finland
  • M.Sc. Strategic Leadership towards Sustainability at Bleking Institute of Technology, Karlskrona, Sweden
  • Master’s in Sustainable Product-Service System Innovation at Blekinge Institute of Technology, Karlskrona, Sweden
  • MSc Environmental Technology at Imperial College London, UK, offers eight specialist streams in: water, pollution, business, global environmental change & policy, economics & policy, ecological management, environmental analysis & assessment, energy policy.
  • MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development, University of Cambridge, UK
  • M.Sc. Sustainability Science, University of Massachusetts Amherst, USA
  • MSEM (Professional Masters in Sustainability and Environmental Management), University of Saskatchewan, School of Environment and Sustainability , Saskatoon, SK, Canada
  • MS Sustainability Management, Columbia University, USA
Master’s & Doctoral
  • M.Sc/MA/Ph.D in Sustainability Science at School of Sustainability, Arizona State University, Tempe, USA
  • M.Sc. in Sustainability Science and PhD in Environmental Management at Montclair State University, NJ, USA
  • M.Sc./Ph.D. „Building Science and Sustainability“ in the Department of Architecture at the University of California, Berkeley, USA
  • M.Sc. Sustainability / PhD in Sustainability Science at the United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability, Tokyo, Japan
  • M.Sc./Ph.D. in Environment and Sustainability at the University of Saskatchewan, School of Environment and Sustainability , Saskatoon, SK, Canada
  • „Graduate Program in Sustainability Science“ at the University of Tokyo, Japan
  • Graduate Program in Sustainability Science at Hosei University, Japan
  • M.Sc/Ph.D. in National University of Mexico (UNAM) Sustainability Science, Mexico City, Mexico
  • PhD in Sustainable Development, Columbia University, USA
  • Course on the Science of Sustainability by the Department of Earth and Environmental Science at Indian Institute of Science Education & Research, Bhopal.
  • Environmental Science and Policy Program at Clark University, Worcester, MA, USA, offers a graduate seminar „Sustainable Consumption Production.“
  • „Global Change Ecology“ at the University of California, Irvine, USA
  • „Sustainability Specialization“ at Michigan State University, USA
  • Graduate Certificate in Sustainability at Michigan Technological University , USA [3]
  • Undergraduate certificate in environment and sustainability at the University of Saskatchewan, School of Environment and Sustainability , Saskatoon, SK, Canada
  • Minor in Global Environmental Sustainability and Sustainable Water Interdisciplinary Minor (SWIM) at the School of Global Environmental Sustainability at Colorado State University [4] , USA

Recently, numbers of people doing PhD gather under the title of sustainable science. They come from different backgrounds and work around this topic. PhDs, PhDs, PhDs. Here is an example of such gathering: BhIOSS Group (Birmingham Initiative on Sustainable Sciences)

See also

  • Environment portal
  • Sustainable development portal
  • Ecological modernization
  • Environmental sociology
  • Glossary of environmental science
  • List of environmental degrees
  • List of environmental degree-granting institutions
  • List of environmental organizations
  • List of sustainability topics
  • Sustainability studies


  1. Jump up^ Kates, R .; Clark, W .; Corell, R .; Hall, J .; Jaeger, C .; et al. (2001). „Sustainability science“. Science . 292 (5517): 641-642. doi : 10.1126 / science.1059386 .
  2. Jump up^ IHDPof theUnited Nations University
  3. Jump up^ Clark, WC, & Dickson SL 2003. Sustainability science: The emerging research program. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA100 (14): 8059-8061.
  4. Jump up^ Clark, WC 2007. „Sustainability Science: A room of its own“. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science104: 1737-1738; published online on February 6, 2007, 10.1073 / pnas.0611291104
  5. Jump up^ „Sustainability Science“. Task Force on Conceptual Foundations. Earth System Governance Project. Retrieved 2017-07-16.
  6. Jump up^ Environmental Science: Iowa State University
  7. Jump up^ Komiyama, H., Takeuchi, K. 2006. Sustainability science: building a new discipline. Sustainability Science 1: 1-6.
  8. Jump up^ „Sustainability Accounting in UK Local Government“ . The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants . Retrieved 2008-06-18 .
  9. Jump up^ „Overview“ . Sustainable Science Program . Harvard University. Archived from the original on November 19, 2008 . Retrieved 2017-07-16 .
  10. Jump up^ Kieffer, SW, Barton, P., Palmer, AR, Reitan, PH, & Zen, E. 2003. „Megascale events: Natural disasters and human behavior“. Geological Society of America Abstracts with programs: 432.
  11. Jump up^ Reitan, P. 2005. Sustainability science – and what’s needed beyond science. Sustainability: Science, Practice, & Policy 1 (1): 77-80. /vol1iss1/communityessay.reitan.html
  12. ^ Jump up to:b Brown, Halina Szejnwald (24 January 2012). „Sustainability Science Needs to Include Sustainable Consumption“ . Environment: Science and Policy for Sustainable Development . 54 (1): 20-25. doi : 10.1080 / 00139157.2012.639598 .
  13. Jump up^ Kauffmann, Joanne 2009. Advancing Sustainability Science: Report on the International Sustainability Conference (ICSS) 2009.Sustainability Science 4: 233-242.
  14. Jump up^ Kates, Robert W., ed. (2010). Readings in Sustainability Science and Technology. CID Working Paper No. 213. Center for International Development, Harvard University. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University, December 2010.AbstractandPDF fileavailable at the Harvard Kennedy School website; retrieved 2017-07-16.
  15. Jump up^ Meyers, R. (2012). Encyclopedia of sustainability science and technology. New York: Springer.
  16. Jump up^ Consilience
  17. Jump up^ International Journal of Sustainable Development & World Ecology
  18. Jump up^ SAPIEN.S (Surveys and Perspectives Integrating Environment and Society)
  19. Jump up^ Baker, PM. Sustainable development indicators: a scientific challenge, a democratic issue. SAPIEN.S1 (1) Online since 23 December 2008.[1]Accessed 9 July 2009.
  20. Jump up^ [2]The journalSustainability Science
  21. Jump up^ Sustainability: science, practice, policy e-journal
  22. Jump up^ Sustainability: the journal of record
  23. Jump up^ „Sustainability Science“ . . Retrieved 2014-03-10.
  24. Jump up^ „GAIA“ . . Retrieved 2014-03-10 .