Population growth, the still ongoing rise of global energy and resource consumption, limited capacities of the earth's ecosystems for absorbing our emissions, overharvesting of biological resources, enduring poverty in many societies together with political and economic malfunctioning provoke substantial risks for today's and the upcoming generations.
The global discourse on sustainable development reflects these societal issues and strives towards development of global human well-being by decoupling societal development from ongoing energy and resource consumption. Not surprisingly, searching for new development pathways is a complex and long-lasting endeavor. Moreover, uncertainty is a dominant feature, as sustainable development is about how to shape the human future.
Sustainability science represents a broad interdisciplinary field reaching from basic research to application-oriented projects. It strives for informing the according societal processes by providing reliable knowledge on the social-ecological system(s) and the impacts of human actions. And it scrutinizes claims on societal goals by operationalizing the ubiquitous reference to intra- and intergenerational justice into a legitimate normative framework.