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Equity and sustainability in the Anthropocene: a social–ecological systems perspective on their intertwined futures

  • Melissa Leach (a1) (a2), Belinda Reyers (a1) (a3) (a4), Xuemei Bai (a1) (a5), Eduardo S. Brondizio (a1) (a6), Christina Cook (a7), Sandra Díaz (a1) (a8), Giovana Espindola (a1) (a9), Michelle Scobie (a1) (a10), Mark Stafford-Smith (a1) (a11) and Suneetha M Subramanian (a1) (a12) (a13)...

Non-technical summary

It is no longer possible nor desirable to address the dual challenges of equity and sustainability separately. Instead, they require new thinking and approaches which recognize their interlinkages, as well as the multiple perspectives and dimensions involved. We illustrate how equity and sustainability are intertwined, and how a complex social–ecological systems lens brings together advances from across the social and natural sciences to show how (in)equity and (un)sustainability are produced by the interactions and dynamics of coupled social–ecological systems. This should help understand which possible pathways could lead to sustainable and fair futures.

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Author for correspondence: M. Leach, E-mail:


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