Emerging pathways to safe and just futures for people and the planet

Journal: Challenges in Sustainability

Editors: Christopher Orr and Katie Kish

Logistical Information:

  • Research articles up 8000 words excluding references
  • We encourage established researchers to find funds to publish (~$500 CND). CANSEE will cover the publishing cost of those unable to secure publishing funds.
  • Due: July 22, 2021
  • Submit directly to the journal
  • All papers are required to have a policy, practice, and/or action outputs, which will be due August 19, 2021 (see below for more details)

Description: The COVID-19 crisis has led to many calls for recovery, to rebuild, and to build back better to address the climate crisis. Ecological economists have long emphasized the futility of attempting to address the climate crisis within an outdated growth-oriented economic framework that prioritizes economic activity at the expense of attending to quality and ecological integrity. But the pandemic has exposed vulnerabilities and tensions inherent in established political and economic systems. Existing vulnerabilities and inequalities have exacerbated challenges for health and wellbeing, community livelihoods, and efforts to achieve ecological stability and integrity. Moreover, tensions have revealed how deeply interconnected social, economic, and environmental dimensions of wellbeing are. Simply rebuilding to pursue the previous path is neither tenable nor desirable. Instead, the current context provides an opportunity to reorient: to pivot towards safe and just futures for people and the planet. This urgent task demands courage, creativity and experimentation. What groups, initiatives, and visions have been seeded in or are emerging from the cracks created by the pandemic? What structures must be reimagined and what relationships must be renegotiated? And what solutions are emerging capable of catalyzing action that supports this reorientation?

This special issue will engage with sustainability challenges from an ecological economics perspective in the context of recent vulnerabilities, inequalities, injustices, and systemic tensions. We invite contributions that apply ecological economics thinking to explore concrete problems that impact human and ecological wellbeing. Contributions to this special issue will use an ecological economics lens to engage with problems at the intersection of ecological and social challenges to inform effective and inclusive solutions. Recognizing that these solutions are inherently complex and systemic, they implicate diverse actors from governments, NGOs, Indigenous groups, activists, businesses and civil society. Thus, we especially encourage submissions that consider transformative solutions that address unequal relationships between different groups, societies and species in different regions and on different timescales. Contributors will be asked to increase the impact of their research by developing a publically accessible knowledge transfer piece such as a policy brief, op-ed, piece of artistic expression or related output as approved by the editors. In addition to knowledge dissemination, this piece may also propose recommendations for concrete steps needed to realize the solutions identified.

We invite proposals related to the theme of this special issue, and in particular welcome contributions on the following topics:

  • Understanding systems change
  • Sustainability transitions
  • Post-COVID-19 recovery
  • Degrowth
  • Alternative visions and narratives of wellbeing
  • City, urban and rural climate and sustainability initiatives
  • Livelihood, care, and alternative economies
  • Ecological and human health
  • Regenerative human-Earth relationships
  • Indigenous reconciliation
  • Social movements and activism
  • Political ideologies, populism and polarization
  • Knowledge and intellectual property

Please submit manuscripts of 8000 words including references. Contributors are also asked to submit a 1-page (300 word) proposal for a knowledge transfer piece, describing their objectives, their target audience, the media outlet/means of knowledge dissemination, and the length and format.

Plan for policy, practice, and action outputs:

  • Pieces can have a wide range of purposes and outlets. However they must build upon the ideas developed in the accepted article. They should extend those ideas and apply them to real-world action, whether this is a specific problem, group, initiative, or debate.
  • Policy, practice, and action outputs can be 300-2000 words, depending on the outlet and format required.
  • Potential outputs:
    • Alternatives Journal 
    • Policy options (IRPP)
    • Targeted piece with insights/recommendations for a specific interest group/organization
    • Op-ed in local/national media
    • Blog post/other for dissemination to broader public