Encyclopedia of Sustainability

by Robin Morris Collin and Robert William Collin


The term “sustainability” has entered the common vernacular, and it is routinely tossed around in the news, on talk shows, and in discussions of environmental, political, and economic policies. But what exactly does the term mean in its various usages? What is encompassed within the sprawling subject of sustainability?

Print Flyer
Cover image for Encyclopedia of Sustainability

December 2009


Pages 819
Volumes 3
Size 7x10
Topics Environment/General

This three-volume encyclopedia explores the concept of sustainability in the contexts of the environment, economics, and justice.

This expansive encyclopedia breaks new ground, giving definition and focus to an urgent and much-talked-about topic that is extraordinarily wide ranging and all too often misunderstood. As the first major reference work in its field, the three comprehensive volumes span the entire scope of sustainability from ecological concepts to financial concerns to public policy and community action, giving readers a solid foundation from which to think critically about efforts to make a more sustainable world.

The Encyclopedia of Sustainability comprises three volumes, each dedicated to one of three equally important contexts in which the term is used: environment and ecology, business and economics, and equity and fairness. Each volume provides authoritative but accessible coverage of basic concepts and terms, as well as policy initiatives, controversies, and future trends. Volumes also include biographical sketches of important contributors to sustainability efforts from the scientific, economic, public policy, and activist realms, plus extensive listings of print and online resources for further exploration.


  • Includes biological sketches of important leaders including Mohammad Yunnus, Wangari Maathai, and Karl Henrik Robèrt
  • Offers over 50 illustrations and drawings and a variety of helpful maps
  • Appendices of original documents not easily located otherwise
  • A guide to related topics opens each volume, allowing quick reference to entries by theme
  • A "Definitions and Contexts" section unique to each volume provides readers with a crash course in the often complex language of sustainability


  • Provides the first ever comprehensive resource on a crucial and often misunderstood topic
  • Covers all three major contexts of sustainability—science, economics, and justice—in equal depth
  • Shows how the environmental, business, and policy aspects of sustainability are inextricably interrelated
  • Gives readers a basic understanding of important ideas and applications of sustainability that will help them think critically about issues and initiatives
Author Info

Robin Morris Collin, JD, is professor of law and director of the Certificate Program in Sustainability and Law at Willamette University College of Law, Salem, OR. She holds the David Brower Lifetime Achievement Award.

Robert William Collin is the senior research scholar at Willamette University Center for Sustainable Communities, Salem, OR. His published works include Greenwood's Battleground: Environment and The EPA: Cleaning Up America's Act.



"As one of the first major reference works in the field, this set should be of great value to university, college, or larger public libraries."—Library Journal

"Although similar titles are available, this set is very distinctive in its perspective, content, and authority. . . . The very comprehensive index, which covers all volumes, is an excellent finding tool. An extensive bibliography is provided for each volume. This excellent resource will be very useful for high school, special, and academic libraries. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-level undergraduates and above; general readers."—Choice

"Accessible and well-written. Each thematic volume contains enough information for the layperson or entry-level undergraduate student to grasp the fundamental issues and terms, get familiar with important names, both individual and institutional, and discover sources for further research."—Reference & User Services Quarterly

Look Inside

Other Titles of Interest

Hidden Animals cover imageEncyclopedia of Human-Animal Relationships cover imageExtraordinary Animals cover image
Our Earth's Changing Land cover imageEncyclopedia of Animal Behavior cover imageTeen Guides to Environmental Science cover image

Product Search

Product Search

Publication Year



Need Help? Try our Search Tips