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Can the magic of sustainability revive environmental professionalism?

Newman, P. (2005) Can the magic of sustainability revive environmental professionalism? Greener Management International, 49 . pp. 11-23.

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The author has been involved for several decades in the teaching of environmental science and sustainability, the completion of the world's first State Sustainability Strategy and the formation of a Sustainability Professionals Association. This paper uses both practical case studies and theoretical exploration to offer explanations for how and why 'magic' occurs during processes involving sustainability by environmental professionals. This quality appears to be an emergent property of a complex process involving a wide number of stakeholders who suspend their professional labels in order to contribute. The sum is observably greater than the assembled parts with the result that apparently impossible things happen. A more human dimension seems to be needed to make some aspects of the environmental agenda work. The paper examines the core competences associated with such an 'anti-professional' approach in terms of its challenge to reductionist techniques and to 'experts' as it seeks more integrated, long-term solutions. Finally it explores whether such competences will shape future economies or whether the pressure of conformity and standardisation will destroy the 'magic'.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Institute for Sustainability and Technology Policy
Publisher: Greenleaf Publishing
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