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Preface

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 September 2009

Bernd Kasemir
Affiliation:
Harvard University, Massachusetts
Jill Jäger
Affiliation:
International Human Dimensions Programme, Bonn
Carlo C. Jaeger
Affiliation:
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research
Matthew T. Gardner
Affiliation:
Biogen Inc.
William C. Clark
Affiliation:
Harvard University, Massachusetts
Alexander Wokaun
Affiliation:
Paul Scherrer Institute, Villigen, Switzerland
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Summary

This book is the result of collaborations by a network of researchers across Europe and beyond. As a group, we share the conviction that sustainability science needs public participation to be successful. We also think that in order to really work, such public participation requires not only an open mind on all sides, but also improved tools. How did we reach this conviction?

Sustainability is an elusive concept. One of the few things that can be said with certainty is that sustainable (as well as unsustainable) development depends on an intricate web of interactions in linked systems, both natural and social. This web cannot be steered by any simple action into a premeditated direction. There is no easy way to open this Gordian knot, and trying to do so with the proverbial sword would damage rather than enhance our chances of a sustainable future.

This situation implies two things. First, sustainability cannot be approached by a grand master plan with a precise mapping of the end point and the trajectory to get there. Rather, it is ‘our common journey’ as humankind; it consists of one tentative step after the other, with the need for continuous feedback about whether we are going roughly in the right direction or not (National Research Council 1999). Given the complex systems involved, there is not much hope of achieving such meaningful feedback without using the potential of modern information technology, especially computer modeling.

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Chapter
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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2003

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  • Preface
  • Edited by Bernd Kasemir, Harvard University, Massachusetts, Jill Jäger, International Human Dimensions Programme, Bonn, Carlo C. Jaeger, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Matthew T. Gardner, Biogen Inc.
  • Foreword by William C. Clark, Harvard University, Massachusetts, Alexander Wokaun, Paul Scherrer Institute, Villigen, Switzerland
  • Book: Public Participation in Sustainability Science
  • Online publication: 22 September 2009
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511490972.003
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Save book to Dropbox

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  • Preface
  • Edited by Bernd Kasemir, Harvard University, Massachusetts, Jill Jäger, International Human Dimensions Programme, Bonn, Carlo C. Jaeger, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Matthew T. Gardner, Biogen Inc.
  • Foreword by William C. Clark, Harvard University, Massachusetts, Alexander Wokaun, Paul Scherrer Institute, Villigen, Switzerland
  • Book: Public Participation in Sustainability Science
  • Online publication: 22 September 2009
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511490972.003
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Preface
  • Edited by Bernd Kasemir, Harvard University, Massachusetts, Jill Jäger, International Human Dimensions Programme, Bonn, Carlo C. Jaeger, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Matthew T. Gardner, Biogen Inc.
  • Foreword by William C. Clark, Harvard University, Massachusetts, Alexander Wokaun, Paul Scherrer Institute, Villigen, Switzerland
  • Book: Public Participation in Sustainability Science
  • Online publication: 22 September 2009
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511490972.003
Available formats
×