Sustainable Development, Evolution and Variability

Christian Rammel, Markus Staudinger

Publication: Scientific journalJournal articlepeer-review


Sustainable development is a global challenge to science and society. In politics and economics the concepts for establishing a sustainable society are numerous, nonetheless necessary interdisciplinary approaches are still marginalised. Trying to foster a deeper communication between biology and social science, an evolutionary perspective on sustainable development is offered. Subsequently, the role of variability and diversity in evolution is highlighted. Hereby, special attention is devoted, among other things, to the links between variability and stability in the long term. Next, selection and variability are emphasised in the cultural context. This is followed by general implications for sustainability. In contrast to strategies aiming at short-term optimisation and economic efficiency, we argue that the conditions and circumstances maintaining variability and momentary sub-optimal alternatives are highly relevant for a socio-economic system that is heading for sustainable development.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)301 - 331
JournalInternational Journal of Sustainable Development and World Ecology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2002

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