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Sustainable development is notoriously difficult to grasp for students and professionals. Multidimensional, encompassing social, ecological and economic theories, policies and practice, it can be a maze of complexity and contradiction. This powerful new textbook, by a topic instructor in the field, is the first to unravel sustainable development and provide readers with the deep understanding so often missing in other texts. The book adopts a multi-perspective approach designed specifically to allow access to the topic from a wide range of educational and professional backgrounds and to develop understanding of a diversity of approaches and traditions at different levels. It features multiple entry points, explains jargon and explores controversies. Also offering boxed examples from the local to the global, Understanding Sustainable Development is the most complete guide to the subject for course leaders, students and self-learners.