Overuse of resources is accelerating today’s negative trends in climate change, ecosystem destruction, and biodiversity loss. The ultimate result is contemporary human societies are reaching or exceeding the limits of planetary boundaries. It is therefore imperative to articulate a new theoretical understanding of resources and the ethical, political and environmental conditions of their use. In this article, we introduce a radical departure from existing paradigms, which treat resources as having fixed essential qualities usually ready-to-exploit by anyone who finds them, to a non-essentialist theory of how resources never exist in this fashion as such. Instead, they come into being as the result of social processes. We label this approach resourcification. This shift offers a new theoretical platform for developing a post-sustainability understanding of the relationships of humans to humans, to other living creatures, and to the physical environment, which is more suited to meet the challenges of working with the sustainable development goals in the Anthropocene.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbersd.2222
Pages (from-to)1249-1256
Number of pages8
JournalSustainable Development
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Dec 23

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
  • Ecology


  • Anthropocene
  • Genes
  • Labor
  • Resources
  • Waste


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