Community Forum

Journal Global Sustainability "causes and consequences of COVID-19 for the aspiration for a more sustainable future – and on the risks and opportunities a crisis evokes"

  • 1.  Journal Global Sustainability "causes and consequences of COVID-19 for the aspiration for a more sustainable future – and on the risks and opportunities a crisis evokes"

    Posted 16 days ago
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    Dear Future Earth Community


    The Journal Global Sustainability is calling for commentary or intelligence briefings by the Future Earth community on the "causes and consequences of COVID-19 for the aspiration for a more sustainable future – and on the risks and opportunities a crisis evokes." Please find the full description below and attached. Link: https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/global-sustainability

    For over three months now, the world population has been experiencing the COVID-19 pandemic. Never before has a virus spread so quickly and so extensively among human populations – never before has it been monitored so well either. In its wake, a more intense and fast-moving economic recession is spreading, too – at least, so we are told. It reveals some features of the 21st century global civilization which have raised an array of analyses, concerns and proposals for change.
    For us as editors of the journal Global Sustainability, it is a moment to reflect on the causes and consequences of this pandemic for the aspiration for a more sustainable future – and on the risks and opportunities a crisis evokes. For instance, regarding risks and vulnerabilities:
    • Does a loss in biodiversity increase the risk of pandemics such as COVID-19 because the unique viruses on organisms in the destroyed habitats will evolve and migrate to humans?
    • Does the pursuit of longer life expectancies create populations which are more susceptible to outbreaks like COVID-19, leading to measures which crowd out budgets for other medical services and, more generally, for necessary sustainable development initiatives?
    • Does the massive expansion of supply chains, optimized by ICT and fuelled by oil, across the globe make the world economic system vulnerable to shocks – such as a pandemics – in ways which can no longer be controlled by governments (nor by corporations)?
    • What are the consequences of the accelerated transition to internet-based communications and platforms? What are the risks of more intense surveillance by states and corporations for privacy and democratic decision-making?
    • What does an economic recovery look like that builds social and environmental resilience to reduce risks of new pandemics and other abrupt shocks?

    Each of these risks and vulnerabilities has, as its mirror image, opportunities for transformative change and enhanced resilience. It appears that a major thread is scaling down the material, economic and financial networks. It would result in less transport of people and goods with environmental co-benefits and more room for context-specific policies and measures regarding sustainable resource use and economic organization – at least partly in accordance with the Sustainable Development Goals. It is against this background that we invite you to submit a commentary or intelligence briefing (see Instructions for Authors for information on different article types) to Global Sustainability, in which you share with us your thoughts about the risks and opportunities for the post-COVID-19 era in your field of expertise. More specifically, we appreciate your suggestions for new strands of scientific research which support the realization of the opportunities.

    Johan Rockström (Editor-in-Chief)
    Xuemei Bai (Deputy-Editor) and Bert de Vries (Deputy-Editor)

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