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The Taskforce on Conceptual Foundations of Earth System Governance: Sustainability Science

Ness, Barry, Ruben, Zondervan. 2017. The Taskforce on Conceptual Foundations of Earth System Governance: Sustainability Science. Challenges in Sustainability. 5(1):1-1


We are pleased to introduce the second special issue from Challenges in Sustainability, this time as a part of the Taskforce on Conceptual Foundations of Earth System Governance, an initiative by the Earth System Governance Project.

Find all articles of the special issue here.

The Earth System Governance Project is a global research alliance. It is the largest social science research network in the field of governance and global environmental change. Earth system governance is primarily a scientific effort but is also designed to assist policy responses to pressing problems of earth system transformation.

The Taskforce on Conceptual Foundations is one of four current task forces operating under the auspices of the project, each open to and involving other research communities. It is a research initiative established to explore central ideas that frame the discourses and discussions around the challenges of governance in times of global environmental change and earth system transformation. The taskforce is an international research effort involving scholars from different regions, disciplines and career stages clustered in working groups focused on specific concepts. The key concepts that unite task force researchers include, amongst others, the Anthropocene, Anticipatory Governance, Environmental Policy Integration, Resilience, and Transformations and Transitions toward Sustainability. Activities around each of the concepts are diverse and include workshops and seminars, conference sessions and plenaries, webinars and blog posts.

This special issue of Challenges in Sustainability captures some of the output from the taskforce working on the concept of Sustainability Science. In a set of articles and a short film, the special issue showcases the state-of-theart in sustainability science research and education. Each submission provides a specific contribution to key developmental areas that have emerged in sustainability science over the past fifteen years.

In addition, the special issue is an important milestone for deliberations within the taskforce on sustainability science, and is the first comprehensive and explicit effort to bring together the related concepts and epistemic communities on earth system governance and sustainability science.

We would like to thank Anne Jerneck, from Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies, for her commitment to this taskforce and bringing this special issue to fruition. In addition, we would like to thank Ellinor Isgren and David O’Byrne, also from LUCSUS, for their commitment, often during non-office hours, to assemble the submissions for the special issue. Lastly, we would like to thank James Meadowcroft at Carleton University for his work to establish the Taskforce on Conceptual Foundations of Earth System Governance, and for his enthusiasm and leadership that have fostered so many interesting and productive discussions and activities across communities, disciplines, and concepts.

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