Sustainability as an evolutionary process

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Wilkinson, Roger and Cary, John (2002) Sustainability as an evolutionary process. International journal of sustainable development, 5 (4). pp. 381-391. ISSN 0960-1406

Abstract

This paper describes a process-oriented construction of sustainability. The main argument is that sustainability is not a fixed ideal, but an evolutionary process of attempting to improve the management of systems, through improved understanding and knowledge. The process is not deterministic: the end-point is not known in advance. The starting point of the process is not some degree of sustainability because this cannot be known or observed. It is considered that unsustainability which can be seen is necessarily the starting point for this process. What is known to be unsustainable will change and evolve with new information and experience, which makes the process dynamic rather than static. Within this evolutionary approach a sustainable system is one that evolves as a consequence of adaptation to changing circumstances, rather than one that resists all assaults upon it.

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Item type Article
URI https://vuir.vu.edu.au/id/eprint/1912
DOI https://doi.org/10.1504/IJSD.2002.003759
Official URL http://dx.doi.org/10.1504/IJSD.2002.003759
Subjects Historical > RFCD Classification > 300000 Agricultural, Veterinary and Environmental Sciences
Historical > FOR Classification > 1001 Agricultural Biotechnology
Keywords environmental journals, environment and sustainable development, agricultural production systems, evolution, sustainability,
Citations in Scopus 15 - View on Scopus
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