• A personal note on IGBP and the social sciences

    Humans are an integral component of the Earth system as conceptualised by IGBP. João Morais recalls key milestones in IGBP’s engagement with the social sciences and offers some words of advice for Future Earth.
  • IGBP and Earth observation:
    a co-evolution

    The iconic images of Earth beamed back by the earliest spacecraft helped to galvanise interest in our planet’s environment. The subsequent evolution and development of satellites for Earth observation has been intricately linked with that of IGBP and other global-change research programmes, write Jack Kaye and Cat Downy .

The coastal innovation paradox

Sustainability (2013)

Glavovic B C

DOI: 10.3390/su5030912

Vol 5, pp 912-933


Coasts are the primary habitat for humanity. Throughout history, coastal cities and towns have been a crucible for innovation. However, business and technological innovations imperil coastal communities, because prevailing practices are unsustainable. Consequently, coasts are the frontline in humanity's endeavour to learn to live sustainably in the face of global change. Governance innovations have done little to stem the tide of unsustainable coastal activities. Paradoxically, innovation is necessary to navigate a way out of the vulnerability trap that past innovation has unwittingly set. This is the first of two articles that examine, in turn, the coastal innovation paradox and the coastal innovation imperative. This article explains the coastal problematique and innovation paradox. Then, the nature and dimensions of innovation are outlined. Notwithstanding wholesale innovations in governance and public sector management, the sustainability crisis is deepening. Why is it so difficult to mobilize effective collective action for coastal sustainability? Locating coastal management within the wider milieu of evolving and multi-layered governance helps to answer this question. Resolving the coastal innovation paradox necessitates coherent innovation across governance episodes, processes and cultures. The second article posits a transformative foundation of deliberative coastal governance to foster innovation and facilitate the transition to coastal sustainability.

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