Overcoming Systemic Roadblocks to Sustainability: The Evolutionary Redesign of Worldviews, Institutions, and Technologies


The authors propose that socio-ecological systems feature the co-evolution of ecological systems and self-reinforcing complexes of (human) worldviews, institutions, and technologies (WITs). Contemporary WITs arose in a world of abundant resources and immense potential for growth but are now reaching the biophysical limits of the ecosphere. The authors thus advocate a deliberate shift from and “empty world” WIT based on ever increasing GDP to a “full world” WIT that improves human well-being with lesser material consumption.


Rachael Beddoe, Robert Costanza, Joshua Farley, Eric Garza, Jennifer Kent, Ida Kubiszewski, Luz Martineza, Tracy McCowen, Kathleen Murphy, Norman Myers, Zach Ogden, Kevin Stapleton, and John Woodward

Publication Date

24 February 2009


Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (vol. 106, no. 8)



Resource Type

Academic Journal Article

Resource Theme

Societal Collapse • Sustainability and Transition • Theory Building
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