Plural values of nature help to understand contested pathways to sustainability

Adrian Martin, Erik Gómez-Baggethun, Martin Quaas, Ricardo Rozzi, Alejandro Tauro, Daniel P. Faith, Ritesh Kumar, Patrick O'Farrell, Unai Pascual

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Despite globally agreed sustainability goals, advocacy for specific pathways of action remains highly contested. Disagreement about how best to advance sustainability can produce constructive debate but can also lead to marginalization, conflict, and inaction. This review uncovers how different “values of nature” underpin allegiance to different pathways of action for sustainability. It analyzes four selected pathways: (1) Green Economy, (2) Nature Protection, (3) Earth Stewardship and Biocultural Diversity, and (4) Degrowth and Post-Growth. We identify how these four pathways diverge in the values they prioritize and how these values are inseparable from the kind of knowledge and solutions they advocate to resolve environmental crises. The review reveals the underlying values that differentiate (and connect) competing pathways and argues that transparency and reflection on these differences is a step toward more constructive use of diversity. Looking forward, we identify promising directions involving deliberative governance, institutional reforms, and disruption of dominance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)806-819
Number of pages14
JournalOne Earth
Issue number5
Early online date17 May 2024
Publication statusPublished - 17 May 2024

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