A 2007 report on climate change policy by David Spratt and Phillip Sutton, Climate Code Red, has as its sub-title ‘The Case for a Sustainability Emergency’. To speak of a ‘sustainability emergency’ is a very useful way of re-framing policy development not only in relation to climate change, but also oil depletion, pervasive ecological destruction and other serious socioenvironmental challenges. In particular it resists the easy cooption to business-as-usual politics that has been the fate of terms such as ‘sustainable development’ and ‘sustainability’. It’s a lot harder to ignore the imperative for urgent, systemic change when having to deal with a sustainability emergency.
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