Sustainable Development in the Anthropocene

Author(s): Björn Johnson & Gert Villumsen
Working Paper No.: 2018-02
Keywords: Anthropocene, sustainable development, environmental ethics, development strategy and policy

The notion of sustainable development changes its meaning when placed in the context of a transition from the Holocene geological epoch to the Anthropocene. The authors argue that the Anthropocene implies that a return to the relatively stable Earth System characteristics of the Holocene is extremely unlikely. The divide between society and nature dissolves and sustainable development needs to be radically redefined. This working paper discusses the need for a new environmental ethics, describe different sustainability visions and suggest some alternative signposts for development strategy and policy.

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