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The Century Ahead: Searching for Sustainability

Author(s): Paul D. Raskin | Christi Electris | Richard A. Rosen

Journal: Sustainability
ISSN 2071-1050

Volume: 2;
Issue: 8;
Start page: 2626;
Date: 2010;
Original page

Keywords: sustainability | scenarios | global | simulation | development | climate | energy | water | hunger | agriculture

The global future lies before us as a highly uncertain and contested landscape with numerous perils along the way. This study explores possible pathways to sustainability by considering in quantitative detail four contrasting scenarios for the twenty-first century. The analysis reveals vividly the risks of conventional development approaches and the real danger of socio-ecological descent. Nonetheless, the paper underscores that a Great Transition scenario—turning toward a civilization of enhanced human well-being and environmental resilience—remains an option, and identifies a suite of strategic and value changes for getting there. A fundamental shift in the development paradigm is found to be an urgent necessity for assuring a sustainable future and, as well, a hopeful opportunity for creating a world of enriched lives, human amity, and a healthy ecosphere.
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