Our planet is undergoing radical environmental and social changes. Sustainability has now been put into question by, for example, our consumption patterns, loss of biodiversity, depletion of resources, and exploitative power relations. With apparent ecological and social limits to globalization and development, current levels of consumption are known to be unsustainable, inequitable, and inaccessible to the majority of humans. Understanding and achieving sustainability is a crucial matter at a time when our planet is in peril—environmentally, economically, socially, and politically. Since its official inception in the 1970s, environmental sociology has provided a powerful lens to understanding the challenges, possibilities, and modes of sustainability. This editorial, accompanying the Special Issue on “sustainability through the Lens of Environmental Sociology”, first highlights the evolution of environmental sociology as a distinct field of inquiry, focusing on how it addresses the environmental challenges of our time. It then adumbrates the rich theoretical traditions of environmental sociology, and finally examines sustainability through the lens of environmental sociology, referring to various case studies and empirical analyses.
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