IRSPSD Volume 2 No.3

In our long history, we human beings have accumulated remarkable
wisdoms of coexisting with nature. Many of our ancestors reflected upon the
human-nature relationships and knew how people should occupy the land,
even in the time when people did not have too much concern about the damage
that they posed on the environment. However, after the Industrial Revolution,
many ugly industrial cities emerged; but the planners’ prescription was only a
better urban design separating the residents from unpleasant industrial
hazards. It was not until after World War II when industrialization and
urbanization associated with mass production and mass consumption started
to prevail all over the world and the unsustainable signs became apparent, that
we recognized the irretrievable damage that human inventions have brought
to the ecosystem (Carson, 1962) and the limits for economic development
(Meadows et al., 1972). After the World Commission on Environment and
Development published the Brundtland report in 1987 and the United Nations
held its historical convention Earth Summit at Rio de Janeiro in 1992,
“sustainable development” or “sustainability” as a goal has begun to gain
world-wide consensus. A huge amount of studies have been added to almost
all research fields as well as the practices in different levels of government,
involving various parties of stakeholders. However, despite decades of effort,
we are still in the midst of searching for a road map towards sustainability
(Biermann, 2013; Linnér and Selin, 2013). In an increasingly connected and
interrelated world, it is ideal to find global sustainability in which all parts act
coherently as a systematic whole. However, another way of thinking should
also deserve consideration: if all the parts in the world sustain their own, we
should not need to worry about our common future.

Gateway Fields