Introducing Journal of Materials and Environmental Sustainability Research and the Expanding Discipline of Sustainability Science

Editorial | Published Dec, 2021

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For over 50 years, the subject of sustainability has continually evolved and has been integrated into many disciplines of scientific inquiry. However, the practice of sustainability has been part of ancient histories of different tribes of the world under different forms (Kuhlman & Farrington, 2010). It has been difficult to provide a clear definition of the term “sustainability.” Many authors claimed that the term has been used to mean different things or grossly misinterpreted, wrongly applied, overexaggerated or used ambiguously (Costanza & Patten, 1995; Keiner, 2006; Kuhlman & Farrington, 2010; Salas-Zapata & Ortiz-Muñoz, 2019; Scoones, 2007; White, 2013). Although there is a common notion that the study of sustainability revolves around three factors which include social, economic and environmental goals or the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) (Purvis, 2019), the term connotes broader interdisciplinary application or interpretation (Schoolman et al. 2012). For this reason, sustainability can mean different things in different research disciplines. Nevertheless, analysis of words and phrases associated with sustainability reveals a possible scope of closest description of the term. For instance, White (2013) reports that words such as environment, economic, human, community, development, etc, are among top 25 words/phrases used in the definition of sustainability.