The concept of sustainable development was launched by the Brundtland Commission in its report Our Common Future in 1987. It defines sustainability in a generational perspective, which makes it challenging in a world where politicians» time horizon is limited by the election period, and economists discount the future based on assumptions about economic actors» time preferences. How can we know what is sustainable today, when future generations will be the final judges? We are constantly discovering new evidence that practices we have long perceived as unproblematic, nevertheless turn out to have unintended consequences we find unacceptable. An example of this could be how the famous «plastic whale» put our relationship with plastic in a new light. Plastic was previously perceived as a relatively harmless littering problem, not a significant threat to ecosystems or biodiversity. This uncertainty makes sustainability a vague and flexible concept.
In 2015, the UN adopted 17 sustainable development goals with 169 associated sub-goals, which will form the basis for all their activities in the years up to 2030. These goals entail a concretization of the challenges our generation must solve on behalf of our descendants. Academia is expected to take on a special responsibility for producing new knowledge that is necessary for the sustainability goals to be achieved.
As a theme for the Fjord Conference 2021, sustainability can be put under the looking glass from different angles:
- The problematic concept of sustainability
- Sustainability goals – are the priorities right?
- Need for knowledge to achieve the UN’s sustainability goals with associated sub-goals
- Evaluation of the efforts made to achieve the sustainability goals
- Focus on individual sub-goals:
- Sustainable urbanization
- Sustainable health policies and systems, including preventive measures
- Sustainable energy consumption
- Sustainable industry and circular economy
- Sustainable transport and logistics
- Sustainability and sharing economy
- Sustainability and migration
- Sustainability and natural resource management
- Synergies and conflicts between the individual sustainability goals
The list is not exhaustive. Received abstracts will be assessed against a broad interpretation of the topic, and to the best of our ability organized thematically with a view to the structure of the conference and the anthology.