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Full Spectrum Sustainability— Developing Working Models for Community Transformation

Humans are a miraculous example of evolutionary success. Our ability to engage in rational thought, to form cooperative groups, to share information through complex symbols, to make and use sophisticated tools: all of these things have enabled us to spread and flourish. However, at the dawn of the 21st century the features and manifestations of […]

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The Deadline Script in Environmental Communications

Activists of every kind hope to see their cause addressed as quickly as possible, but this seems particularly true when it comes to environmentalists. Every week, news emerges about the dire consequences in store for Earth’s inhabitants if something is not done right away about species extinction, water and air pollution, and climate disruption. Combine […]

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Connecting the Solution to the Problem

There is little doubt that most people tire of hearing about problems only and would like to hear about solutions. But disconnecting the solution from the problem has its own dangers. Many of the most serious problems facing society today—those in most urgent need of solutions—are so-called wicked problems. These are complex, not amenable to […]

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Disaster Resilience: Reflections from a National Conference

For three days in January 2013, a thousand scientists, policy experts, and disaster-prevention practitioners gathered in Washington, DC to develop strategies to make communities more resilient and sustainable in the face of more frequent and severe environmental disasters. Most of the authors in this issue of Solutions were present at this conference. As conference Chairman, […]

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Solving the Climate Crisis at a Profit

Common Dreams, reporting on the May 2014 release of the U.S. National Climate Assessment put it bluntly: “We’re Screwed.” “This Is What a Holy Shit Moment for Global Warming Looks Like,” trumpeted Mother Jones magazine in its coverage that glaciers in the West Antarctic ice sheet appear to have become irrevocably destabilized. The New York […]

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Smart Economics and Women's Empowerment

Investing in women and girls is plain common sense. Governments in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) have recognized that if their nations are to increasingly participate in the competitive global economy, they will need to invest more and more in their human capital, of which half are women. Since the 1990’s, the region’s […]

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Who Owns the Sky?

The idea that anyone could own the sky seems absurd, and therein lies the problem. We would not consider paying for the air we breathe, and neither do the 90 corporations currently responsible for about two thirds of global emissions. Presently, there are no property rights over the atmosphere, which is being utilized as a […]

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Slow Variables in the SDG Development Process

As every climate conference goes by without meaningful resolutions—and with this year’s, in Paris, already labelled a likely flop—one would be forgiven for drawing the conclusion that international consensus for saving the planet is impossible. Yet, amid the gloom that followed last year’s conference in Lima, there was a salutory reminder that compromise and a […]