March 19th, 2012

Navigating a Geography of Sustainability Worldviews: A Developmental Map

By Abigail Lynam


Given the importance of understanding and learning to work effectively with a diversity of perspectives and values in the sustainability field, this article offers a developmental map of the worldviews of sustainability.  It includes an introduction to developmental theory and research, an overview of the diversity of worldviews, how they differ and relate to one another and to sustainability practice and leadership, and how these worldviews develop over time.  A developmental perspective suggests that every sustainability practitioner/educator/leader has a worldview that is made up of the beliefs that person holds and their definition for sustainability emerges out of those beliefs.  Moreover, there are consistent patterns observed cross-culturally in the ways that these worldviews develop. Understanding and learning to work with the diversity of perspectives and their developmental trajectory is vitally important for sustainability education and leadership in that it helps us to design curriculum, and sustainability campaigns, policy and actions in ways that are more holistic, include a diversity of worldviews, address conflict between them and contribute to the development of the worldviews themselves.

Full PDF:  LynamJSE2012

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Comments (3)

  1. Abigail Lynam Abigail Lynam says:

    Thanks for your response. What was inspiring and how might this connect to your work?

  2. Natalie says:

    Thanks Abigail

    This is exactly where I like to start talking about sustainability, looking at the worldviews that dominate the discourse and our ideas about development.

    While I know this to be important I am still just beginning to understand it so thanks for food for thought and links between various authors’ ideas.


  3. Abigail Lynam Abigail Lynam says:

    Thanks for your feedback Natalie, I’m so glad that it was useful.