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Perspectives

An offbeat, refreshing look at solutions brought to you by the business leaders and academics, policy makers and designers who are in the field.

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Guest Editor for the Resilience Issue

While it is clear that the pace and pattern of global economic growth is unsustainable, we are slow in responding to this challenge. Sustainability advocates offer visions of a utopian future in which human needs are fulfilled and resource consumption is balanced with planetary capacity. But, in a turbulent world, the future seems increasingly unpredictable. Human societies are struggling to cope with present-day challenges ranging from climate change to political conflicts.

We have learned that the traditional tools of probability-based risk management are no longer adequate to cope with the complexity and turbulence of today’s world, in which disruptions are often unknowable and unforeseen. Unexpected...

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Across the US, billions of dollars are devoted towards large scale ecosystem restoration programs. The Everglades in Florida is the recipient of a $15 billion program over 30 years; Chesapeake Bay $7 billion over a decade. The list goes on: the San-Francisco Bay Delta, the Grand Canyon, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Missouri River. These projects add up to one of the biggest shifts in how we view natural resources and manage major ecosystems in the United States. For decades, governments have sought to contain rivers and waterways, whether to control flooding or meet the demands for agriculture, energy production, or urban development. These large scale infrastructure projects—like dams and levees—have largely met objectives of flood control or water supply, but at the same time, have...

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Other Perspectives

We are entering a new urban era where the planet is increasingly influenced by human activities and where cities have become a central nexus of the relationship between people and nature, both as crucial centers of demand for ecosystem...
A Marine Corps friend of mine defines resilience as the ability to take a gut punch and come back swinging. More formally, it is said to be the capacity to maintain core functions and values in the face of outside disturbance. Either way,...
We act as we do because we can get away with it: future generations do not vote, they have no political or financial power; they cannot challenge our decisions. But the results of the present profligacy are rapidly closing the options for...
Selling Utah State University students on a new ‘Blue Goes Green’ fee to fund sustainability projects on campus has involved connecting sustainability with the students’ desires for freedom, saving money, physical fitness, and love. Days...
MH: Michael Shuman GA: Gar Alperovitz On Economic Development MS: Economic development currently counsels communities across the planet to attract and retain global business. Implicitly this assumes that local business is irrelevant. My...
What does climate change mean to people in the U.S. in the context of their daily lives? What does “climate action” look like in the context of particular places and cultures? For five years, from the launch of the Chicago Climate Action...