Conclusion: Environmental policy and the pursuit of just sustainability

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



Department of Social Sciences


Human decision-making has profound effects on the ability of the planet to sustain our species and all others. This is true for our individual consumption choices and especially true for professional environmental regulators, planners, managers, and policy makers who make and implement choices regarding how humans utilize resources from the environment to meet their physically and socially defined needs and desires with consequences for water, land, health, and social justice. This volume explores empirical examples of how policy decision-making is navigated and executed and the implications of those decision- making choices for humans and their environments. The case studies suggest the importance of four main themes for environmental policy in pursuit of sustainability: 1) issues of scale mismatch, geographically and geopolitically; 2) issues of policy silos, wherein environmental policy is pursued as if divorced from economic and social policy issues; 3) issues of social justice, wherein environmental policy is pursued without just consideration of impacts; and 4) issues of leadership, whereby given the complexities of geographical and geopolitical scale incongruences, existing relations of power and the balancing of water, land, health, and social justice considerations, there is a lack of clear leadership to manage the uncertainties of environmental change.

Publisher's Statement

© 2018 selection and editorial matter, Chelsea Schelly and Aparajita Banerjee; individual chapters, the contributors. Publisher’s version of record: https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315099996

Publication Title

Environmental Policy and the Pursuit of Sustainability