At the Edge
232 pages, 6 x 9
16 b&w illustrations
Release Date:01 Jan 2002
Release Date:01 Oct 2007

At the Edge

Sustainable Development in the 21st Century

UBC Press

At the Edge is a rich and evocative call to action at a time when new ideas are urgently needed. Mandatory reading for policy analysts and decision makers in the public, private, and volunteer sectors, it will be equally useful to scholars, teachers, students, and others interested in creating sustainable societies. Throughout the world, biophysical evidence is mounting that human growth and activity patterns are slowly destroying the earth. This ecological deterioration is accompanied by similar social and economic decline, with potentially grave consequences for the continued existence of human societies.

Yet, as Ann Dale compassionately argues, it is not too late to take action. Hope lies in sustainable development – the fundamental human imperative of the 21st century. Sustainable development, in Dale's view, is the process of reconciling three imperatives: the ecological, the social, and the economic. Equitable access to resources in all three spheres is fundamental to the global realization of sustainable development. This will not be realized without strong leadership by governments at all levels. Ultimately needed is a new framework for governance based on human responsibility and a recognition of the interconnectedness of human and natural systems.


  • 2001, Winner - Outstanding Research Achievement - Sustainability, Government of Canada, Policy Research Initiative
This book represents a remarkable achievement. It contains a sweeping grasp of the literature on both Canadian policy and sustainable development and presents a compelling picture of the need to act quickly to preserve our country’s natural heritage as well as that of the planet. Professor Frances Westley, Faculty of Management, McGill University
Ann Dale is a Professor in the Science, Technology, and Environment Division at Royal Roads University. She is also a founding Senior Associate of the Sustainable Development Research Institute at the University of British Columbia, Chair of the Canadian Consortium for Sustainable Development Research, and Executive Coordinator, Office of Public Policy and Research, of the Canadian Biodiversity Institute.


1 The Context

2 Paradigms, Myths, and Metaphors

3 Sustainable Development Imperatives

4 Ecological Imperatives

5 Social Imperatives

6 Economic Imperatives

7 Solitudes, Silos, and Stovepipes

8 Reconciliation

9 Dialogue and Governance

10 Conclusions

11 Reflections



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