chapter  4
22 Pages

Practice: Sustainability in Illustrative Initiatives

The sustainability essentials set out in Chapter 3 are drawn from what we usually call the theoretical literature. This literature is not all theoretical, of course. Writers on sustainability over the past decade and a half have drawn as much from experiment as from philosophy, and many of the theoreticians are practitioners as well. Nonetheless, the references in Chapter 3 are mostly to works of overview, synthesis and conceptual review by authors who have wrestled with the big issues of meaning and implication. Their works have great strengths. They reveal much about a very difficult concept that incorporates and affects an enormous breath of relevant considerations. They offer insights from evidently deep and careful thinking about matters of knowledge (and ignorance), about logical consistency and ethical justification, about the evolution of ideas and the broader context of history. In contrast to their counterparts in too many other fields, the works on sustainability theory are remarkably free of terminological pomposity. And clearly most of the authors have a practical bent. They have been as much concerned with application strategies as with conceptual alternatives and they have both contributed to and learned from implementation efforts.