Encyclopedia of Sustainability in Higher Education

2019 Edition
| Editors: Walter Leal Filho

Transformative Responses to Sustainability

  • Arto O. SalonenEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-11352-0_501

Changing Social Structure and Cultural Patterns

Our planet is as closed a system as a spaceship (Boulding 1966). A systemic entity, such as a planet, society, city, person, language, car, or telephone, is formed of the components it consists of and interactions between these components. A system maintains its existence through the interaction of its components (Bertalanffy 1968; Bunge 1979; Mingers 2006).

In a new geologic era – the era of Anthropocene – the spaceship Earth is in human hands (Crutzen 2002) because the human pursuit of the good life permanently changes the socio-ecological system on which our everyday life is fully dependent (Figueres et al. 2017; Ripple et al. 2017; Steffen et al. 2015). 1300 scientists from 95 countries concluded in 2005: “human activity is putting such a strain on the natural functions of Earth that the ability of the planet’s ecosystems to sustain future generations can no longer be taken for granted” (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment 2005).


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Social Sciences and Business StudiesUniversity of Eastern FinlandKuopioFinland

Section editors and affiliations

  • Rudi Pretorius
    • 1
  1. 1.University of South AfricaPretoriaSouth Africa