Check out this 2005 article from Environment for a thorough, but manageable read on the sustainability and sustainable development picture. It covers so much in relatively (sort of, maybe not really) simple language – the science, the problem, whole-system thinking, the need for transdiciplinary education & policy making, participatory decision-making, the issues global inequities bring on, the evolution of the nation-state through globalization, the governing of the global commons, shortcomings of the UN, the downfall of the neo-classic trade-off mentality, where the CDM fits in, the optimum scale for governance and economy (cities?... the list goes on. It has a great recap of the huge benefits and advancements of the last 100 years and lays out the big issues we all need to be focusing on for the next 100 years. It touches on much of what we covered this year, and comes to very similar conclusions. I am confused by the last paragraph calling for principles around which we can get consensus and get down to the business of sustainable development – it makes me wonder if they don’t find the 4 principles sufficient, or are simply not familiar with them… we’ll see.
The authors are from the Science, Environment and Development Group at Harvard (they’re wicked smaht):