Sustainability science, with its focus on use-inspired interdisciplinary research, has emerged as a core framework for work on human-environmental relationships and social-ecological systems. Key thrusts in sustainability science – to bridge the gap between science and practice and across social, ecological, and professional sciences – are central to understanding and changing the trajectories of unsustainable development in many regions and countries, societies and communities, sectors, and markets.
Students will review research related to common property, political ecology, coupled systems, and ecosystem services to examine how sustainability science provides an overarching framework for thinking about and acting on sustainability and development. Analyses and understanding of tradeoffs and co-benefits across sustainability pillars and outcomes is of fundamental importance to sustainability science. Translating this understanding into an exploration of past and necessary/feasible future societal transitions is necessary to think about how current social trajectories must change to achieve just and sustainable societies. Understanding how implementation works and bridging existing gaps between science and practice is the central focus of implementation science and therefore responsive to the demands of sustainability science to connect science to practice. Finally, a robust synthesis science is needed to bring together the vast bodies of disciplinary and interdisciplinary work relevant to tradeoffs, transitions, and implementation.