Transforming Sustainability Science to Generate Positive Social and Environmental Change Globally

Paul Shrivastava, Mark Stafford Smith, Karen O'Brien, Laszlo Zsolnai

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

94 Scopus citations


Despite the decades-long efforts of sustainability science and related policy and action programs, humanity has not gotten closer to global sustainability. With its focus on the natural sciences, sustainability science is not able to contribute sufficiently to the global transition to sustainability. This Perspective argues for transforming sustainability science into a transdisciplinary enterprise that can generate positive social and environmental change globally. In such transformation, the social sciences, humanities, and the arts can play an important role to address the complex problems of culture, institutions, and human behavior. To realize a truly integrated sustainability science, we need renewed research and public policies that reshape the research ecosystem of universities, funding agencies, science communications, policymaking, and decision making. Sustainability science must also engage with society and creatively employ all available sources of knowledge in favor of creating a sustainable Earth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)329-340
Number of pages12
JournalOne Earth
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 24 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Environmental Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)


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