Pathway to Sustainability Leadership by MIT

Incubation, Transformation, and Mobilization



Notes: More information and scientific background about the necessary conditions for sustainability can be found in Sterman (2012) and references therein; see also Hoekstra and Weidmann (2014), Rockström et al. (2009), Running (2012), and Steffen et al. (2015).

Discussion of the target 2°C (3.6°F) limit in the rise of global temperature above pre-industrial levels, its associated impacts, and the emissions reductions necessary to achieve it can be found in the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, 2013). See Liu et al. (2015) for further discussion of the need for holistic, systems approaches to sustainability challenges.

Hoekstra, Arjen and Thomas O. Wiedmann. 2014. Humanity’s unsustainable environmental footprint. Science 344, 1114–1117. doi: 10.1126/science.1248365.

IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). 2013. Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis. Geneva: IPCC.

Liu, Jianguo, Harold Mooney, Vanessa Hull et al. 2015. Systems integration for global sustainability. Science 347, 1258832. doi: 10.1126/science.1258832.

Rockström, Johan, Will Steffen, Kevin Noon et al. 2009. A safe operating space for humanity. Nature 461, 472–475. doi: 10.1038/461472a.

Running, Steven W. 2012. A measurable planetary boundary for the biosphere. Science 337, 1458-1459. doi: 10.1126/science.1227620.

Steffen, Will, Katherine Richardson, Johan Rockström et al. 2015. Planetary boundaries: guiding human development on a changing planet. Science 347, 1259855. doi: 10.1126/science.1259855.

Sterman, John D. 2012. Sustaining sustainability: creating a systems science in a fragmented academy and polarized world. In Sustainability Science: The Emerging Paradigm and the Urban Environment, edited by Michael P. Weinstein and R. Eugene Turner. New York: Springer.

UN DESA (United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs), Population Division. 2015. World Population Prospects: The 2015 Revision. Key Findings and Advance Tables. Working Paper No. ESA/P/WP.241. New York: UN DESA.

UN WCED (United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development). 1987. Our Common Future. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Wackernagel, Mathias, Niels B. Schulz, Diana Deumling et al. 2002. Tracking the ecological overshoot of the human economy. PNAS 99(14), 9266–9271. doi: 10.1073/pnas.142033699.

Additional Sources

Global Footprint Network
MIT Climate Action
MIT Office of Sustainability, Sustainability Working Group Recommendations
MIT Office of Sustainability, Thriving Networks
The World Bank, Indicators