Economic Growth and Sustainability

Author: Karen L. Higgins
Publisher: Academic Press
ISBN: 0128031085
Format: PDF
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How to sustain our world for future generations has perplexed us for centuries. We have reached a crossroads: we may choose the rocky path of responsibility or continue on the paved road of excess that promises hardship for our progeny. Independent efforts to resolve isolated issues are inadequate. Different from these efforts and from other books on the topic, this book uses systems thinking to understand the dominant forces that are shaping our hope for sustainability. It first describes a mental model - the bubble that holds our beliefs - that emerges from preponderant world views and explains current global trends. The model emphasizes economic growth and drives behavior toward short-term and self-motivated outcomes that thwart sustainability. The book then weaves statistical trends into a system diagram and shows how the economic, environmental, and societal contributors of sustainability interact. From this holistic perspective, it finds leverage points where actions can be most effective and combines eight areas of intervention into an integrated plan. By emphasizing both individual and collective actions, it addresses the conundrum of how to blend human nature with sustainability. Finally, it identifies primary three lessons we can learn by applying systems thinking to sustainability. Its metaphor-rich and accessible style makes the complex topic approachable and allows the reader to appreciate the intricate balance required to sustain life on Earth. Highlights the application of system thinking in economics Identifies systemic leveraging actions for achieving sustainability Outlines a comprehensive and integrated plan for achieving sustainable stewardship in the future

Value of Failure

Author: Leszek Gracz
Publisher: Anthem Press
ISBN: 1783087358
Format: PDF, Kindle
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There is a clear economic and social rationale in providing a second chance to failed entrepreneurs and deriving positive experiences from negative situations. Value of Failure is a comprehensive attempt at understanding the various aspects of the phenomenon of business failure. The book covers various aspects of second-chance entrepreneurs (and economic failure in general) and opportunities for changing general perception toward the phenomenon. It enables readers to understand business failure from the perspective of institutional theory; economic failure in the process of small business growth in the context of the shadow economy; Schumpeter’s theory of ‘creative destruction’ and the fear of failure; sustainable economic growth and development; and system approach to failures and their impact on the enterprise operation.

Thinking in Systems

Author: Donella H. Meadows
Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing
ISBN: 1603580557
Format: PDF, Kindle
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In the years following her role as the lead author of the international bestseller, Limits to Growth—the first book to show the consequences of unchecked growth on a finite planet— Donella Meadows remained a pioneer of environmental and social analysis until her untimely death in 2001. Meadows' newly released manuscript, Thinking in Systems, is a concise and crucial book offering insight for problem solving on scales ranging from the personal to the global. Edited by the Sustainability Institute's Diana Wright, this essential primer brings systems thinking out of the realm of computers and equations and into the tangible world, showing readers how to develop the systems-thinking skills that thought leaders across the globe consider critical for 21st-century life. Some of the biggest problems facing the world—war, hunger, poverty, and environmental degradation—are essentially system failures. They cannot be solved by fixing one piece in isolation from the others, because even seemingly minor details have enormous power to undermine the best efforts of too-narrow thinking. While readers will learn the conceptual tools and methods of systems thinking, the heart of the book is grander than methodology. Donella Meadows was known as much for nurturing positive outcomes as she was for delving into the science behind global dilemmas. She reminds readers to pay attention to what is important, not just what is quantifiable, to stay humble, and to stay a learner. In a world growing ever more complicated, crowded, and interdependent, Thinking in Systems helps readers avoid confusion and helplessness, the first step toward finding proactive and effective solutions.

Sustainable Transportation

Author: Henrik Gudmundsson
Publisher: Springer
ISBN: 3662469243
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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This textbook provides an introduction to the concept of sustainability in the context of transportation planning, management, and decision-making. The book is divided into two parts. In the first part, indicators and frameworks for measuring sustainable development in the transportation sector are developed. In the second, the authors analyze actual planning and decision-making in transportation agencies in a variety of governance settings. This analysis of real-world case studies demonstrates the benefits and limitations of current approaches to sustainable development in transportation. The book concludes with a discussion on how to make sustainability count in transportation decision-making and practice.

Systems Thinking For Social Change

Author: David Peter Stroh
Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing
ISBN: 1603585818
Format: PDF, Docs
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Donors, leaders of nonprofits, and public policy makers usually have the best of intentions to serve society and improve social conditions. But often their solutions fall far short of what they want to accomplish and what is truly needed. Moreover, the answers they propose and fund often produce the opposite of what they want over time. We end up with temporary shelters that increase homelessness, drug busts that increase drug-related crime, or food aid that increases starvation. How do these unintended consequences come about and how can we avoid them? By applying conventional thinking to complex social problems, we often perpetuate the very problems we try so hard to solve, but it is possible to think differently, and get different results. Systems Thinking for Social Change enables readers to contribute more effectively to society by helping them understand what systems thinking is and why it is so important in their work. It also gives concrete guidance on how to incorporate systems thinking in problem solving, decision making, and strategic planning without becoming a technical expert. Systems thinking leader David Stroh walks readers through techniques he has used to help people improve their efforts to end homelessness, improve public health, strengthen education, design a system for early childhood development, protect child welfare, develop rural economies, facilitate the reentry of formerly incarcerated people into society, resolve identity-based conflicts, and more. The result is a highly readable, effective guide to understanding systems and using that knowledge to get the results you want.

Multi Stakeholder Decision Making for Complex Problems

Author: Kambiz Maani
Publisher: World Scientific
ISBN: 9814619752
Format: PDF, Mobi
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In the complex world of today, important policy and business decisions are still made with a 17th Century reductionist mindset and approach. Yet, complex challenges such as climate change, poverty, public health, security, energy futures, and sustainability transcend any single science, discipline or agency. Rather, they require integration of social, economic, cultural, political, and environmental concerns to achieve acceptable and sustainable outcomes. This entails synthesis of diverse knowledge and perspectives in a transparent and unifying decision-making process, engaging stakeholders with competing interests, perspectives, and agendas under uncertain and often adversarial conditions. Multi-Stakeholder Decision Making for Complex Problems — A Systems Thinking Approach with Cases brings together a unique self-contained volume to address this challenge. The book introduces the systems approach in non-technical language for multi-issue, multi-stakeholder decision making supplemented by numerous case studies including business, economics, healthcare, agriculture, energy, sustainability, policy, and planning. The book provides a fresh and timely approach with practical tools for dealing with complex challenges facing evolving global business and society today.

Resilience Thinking

Author: Brian Walker
Publisher: Island Press
ISBN: 9781597266222
Format: PDF
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Increasingly, cracks are appearing in the capacity of communities, ecosystems, and landscapes to provide the goods and services that sustain our planet's well-being. The response from most quarters has been for "more of the same" that created the situation in the first place: more control, more intensification, and greater efficiency. "Resilience thinking" offers a different way of understanding the world and a new approach to managing resources. It embraces human and natural systems as complex entities continually adapting through cycles of change, and seeks to understand the qualities of a system that must be maintained or enhanced in order to achieve sustainability. It explains why greater efficiency by itself cannot solve resource problems and offers a constructive alternative that opens up options rather than closing them down. In Resilience Thinking, scientist Brian Walker and science writer David Salt present an accessible introduction to the emerging paradigm of resilience. The book arose out of appeals from colleagues in science and industry for a plainly written account of what resilience is all about and how a resilience approach differs from current practices. Rather than complicated theory, the book offers a conceptual overview along with five case studies of resilience thinking in the real world. It is an engaging and important work for anyone interested in managing risk in a complex world.

The Great Convergence

Author: Kishore Mahbubani
Publisher: PublicAffairs
ISBN: 1610390342
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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The twenty-first century has seen a rise in the global middle class that brings an unprecedented convergence of interests and perceptions, cultures and values. Kishore Mahbubani is optimistic. We are creating a new global civilization. Eighty-eight percent of the world's population outside the West is rising to Western living standards, and sharing Western aspirations. Yet Mahbubani, one of the most perceptive global commentators, also warns that a new global order needs new policies and attitudes. Policymakers all over the world must change their preconceptions and accept that we live in one world. National interests must be balanced with global interests. Power must be shared. The U.S. and Europe must cede some power. China and India, Africa and the Islamic world must be integrated. Mahbubani urges that only through these actions can we create a world that converges benignly. This timely book explains how to move forward and confront many pressing global challenges.

The Bubble Economy

Author: Robert U. Ayres
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 0262027437
Format: PDF
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Why the global economy has become increasingly unstable, and how financial "de-carbonization" could break the pattern of bubble-driven wealth destruction.