SUSTAINABILITY -- Through the Lens of Telecoupling and Metacoupling: New Perspectives for Global Sustainability

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March 8, 2021 - Author: Ciara L. Hovis, , and

SUSTAINABILITY -- Through the Lens of Telecoupling and Metacoupling: New Perspectives for Global Sustainability

DOI: 10.3390/su13052953

Human and natural systems are more interconnected across distances than ever before [1–7]. The movement of people, organisms, material, information, money, and technology at the global scale has enabled the rapid growth of commerce, economies, industries, and the human population. However, it has also intensified and accelerated pollution, deforestation, environmental injustice, conflicts, climate change, and species extinctions. In today’s global economy, resources, goods, and services are increasingly consumed outside of the coupled human and natural systems that produced them [8]. Understanding the consequences of these complex interactions is challenging, but critical for the development of sustainable systems [9]. Overcoming these challenges requires research and policy approaches that not only examine human and natural systems as one, but also integrate the interactions with exogenous systems. Telecoupling is an umbrella concept that was introduced in 2008 to refer to complex interactions of coupled human and natural systems across distances [10]. Later, the framework was expanded to the metacoupling framework which integrates human-nature interactions within local system (intracoupling), between adjacent systems (pericoupling), and between distant systems (telecoupling) [11]. The articles in this Special Issue utilize one or all three of these concepts and frameworks in their contributions.

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