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Wrapping Our Brains around Sustainability

  • Chemistry
  • Design
  • Ecology
  • Economics
  • Engineering
  • Geography


As many of us begin to embrace the concept of sustainability, we realize that it is not simply something that we ‘do.’ Rather, sustainability is a destination that we aspire to reach with the selection of the sustainable pathways that we choose as we proceed along the journey. We are embarking on a new journey with the creation of Sustainability, an on-line, open access journal. As stated on the journal’s website, Sustainability is an international and cross-disciplinary scholarly journal of environmental, cultural, economic and social sustainability of human beings, which provides an advanced forum for studies that are related to sustainability and sustainable development. To genuinely wrap our brains around the impact that our actions have on the sustainability of our planet, we must first understand something of the big picture and have a firm grasp of the terminology. To help further clarify the elusive term ‘sustainability,’ without attempting to provide an exact definition, this paper outlines various, inter-related concepts and basic practices and approaches that are being used in the name of sustainability, including: traditional end-of-pipe control strategies, life cycle, environmental sustainability, urban sustainability, industrial ecology, business sustainability, sustainable supply chain systems, sustainability indicators and metrics, green chemistry and green engineering, design for the environment, sustainable buildings, eco-tourism, and renewable and sustainable energy and fuels.

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