Foundations for Sustainability: A Coherent Framework of Life-Environment Relations challenges existing assumptions on environmental issues and lays the groundwork for a new paradigm, bringing a greater understanding of what is needed to help create an environmentally and economically sustainable future, which to date has been an uphill battle and not an obvious choice. The book presents the case for a paradigm based on a multi-model of life as organism, life as ecosystem, and life as biosphere, as opposed to the singular assumption that life can be viewed solely as an organism.
All backed with well-cited research from top investigators from around the world, this book is a must-have resource for anyone working in ecology, environmental science or sustainability.
- Introduces a holistic, systemic approach and a synthesis of the systemic root cause that underlies many surface symptoms that are part of individual environmental problems (climate, water, energy, etc.)
- Complements current piecemeal approaches in order to solve many interconnected environmental problems which share root causes
- Provides tests and thought experiments to challenge current views on sustainability, leveraging the power of critical thinking to find new solutions
- Gives insights on how to find solutions by blending interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary focuses with disciplinary specialization in ecology and ecosystem science
- Bridges concepts and methods from math to ecology to human development
Section 1 Introduction and Central Crux of the Ideas 1. A Journey of a Thousand Miles
The First Step is Systemic 2. The Ideal is Real
Humans can Enhance the Environment 3. Life as Model and Mentor 4. Back to the Drawing Board
Seeing is Key to Achieving
Section 2 Cognition, Understanding, Science and Philosophy 5. A Paradigm in Time
Forward Thinking and the Ultimate Goal 6. The Many and the One 7. Synergy, Synthesis and Syntropy 8. The Emperor's Clothes
Radical empiricism 9. Seeing our own Reflection 10. The Impact of a new Formalism 11. A Mathematical Construct that Fits
Section 3 Life Science
New ideas in Biology Ecology and Environmental Science 12. New First Principles 13. Two Models are Better than One, and Three are Better Still 14. Real Evidence of the Ideal 15. Back to the Beginning 16. Understanding Life from Origin to Destiny 17. What Life is Not
Section 4: Humans, Society and Applications 18. The Foundation of Value 19. The Wall in the Mind 20. No Silver Bullet or Panacea 21. Summary and Next Steps
Dan Fiscus is Sustainability Liaison and teaches in the Sustainability Studies and Interdisciplinary Studies programs at Frostburg State University. He has degrees in electrical engineering, ecology with a minor in biomathematics, and a PhD in Environmental Science. He studies holistic, sustainable human-environment and life-environment relations, theoretical ecology and ecological modeling, ecological network analysis and leverage for change to benefit humanity. He is also Development Director for Frostburg Grows, a project integrating local food production, a native tree nursery for restoration, composting, solar energy, training and economic development on a former coal mine demonstrating innovative sustainable development in Appalachia.