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Session 11– 11.22.2010 Linking Knowledge with Action for Sustainability (Speaker: Bill Clark)

The need for action agendas promoting sustainable development to mobilize appropriate science and technology has long been recognized. With few exceptions, however, the world still lacks dedicated, problem-driven R&D systems for sustainability comparable to those that exist for defense, energy, or health. The substantial 'local' knowledge so often relevant to sustainability is even less well mobilized. And too often the real needs of decision makers are not the needs that researchers assume them to have. Altogether, the potential contribution of knowledge to action in pursuit of sustainability is seldom realized. Fortunately, there are exceptions. This section will explore what has been learned about the nature of systems that are relatively effective in linking knowledge with action for sustainability.

Required reading from the Sustainability Science book
The book chapter is still in the works. I have therefore posted a detailed slide presentation covering its main points, plus 4 supplementary readings that we are drawing from extensively in the chapter. For a broader treatment of this theme, see the Reader recommendation for the review paper by Lebel and van Kerkhoff. This paper was produced when the authors were engaged in a program involving Pam Matson, myself and others on the book team. Van Kerkhoff was a Sustainability Science Fellow at Harvard. (Bill Clark)
Supplemental readings from the Reader
1) Matson, P., A. Luers, K. Seto, R. Naylor, and I. Ortiz-Monasterio. 2005. People, land use and environment in the Yaqui Valley, Sonora, Mexico. In Population, Land Use, and Environment, eds. B. Entwisle and P. Stern. Washington, D.C.: National Research Council, pp.238-264. 2) Meadows, D. 1999. Leverage Points: Places to Intervene in a System. Hartland, VT: Sustainability Institute. 3) van Kerkhoff, L., and L. Lebel. 2006. Linking knowledge and action for sustainable development. Annual Review of Environment and Resources 31(1):445-477.
Supplemental readings from moderator/discussant B.L. Turner II, Arizona State Univ
Supplemental readings from Florida International Univ students
Video Recording: Linking knowledge with action for sustainability