Editor's Introduction to This Special Issue on "Sustainable Futures"

by Stephen McGrail


Desirable futures are increasingly seen as sustainable futures. Sustainable futures, as defined by Holling (2000), “are ones in which the basic means of human livelihood get easier, human opportunities become richer, and nature’s diversity is more sustained – and not only in the rich parts of the world”. The quest for such futures demands interrelated transformations in worldviews, institutions and technologies (Beddoe et al., 2009). This special issue was conceived in November 2009 as political leaders and negotiators prepared to head to the Copenhagen climate change summit. The goal of stimulating further examination of the prospect and pursuit of “sustainability” from diverse futures perspectives via a special issue was strengthened by what followed. Whilst it was always false hope to expect the climate problem to be solved at Copenhagen (McGrail, 2010a), there appears to be a growing sense of being at a crossroads regarding climate change and other sustainability challenges.

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