Wednesday, November 4th from 16:00 (GMT+2)
This webinar will take place online.
Register in advance for this webinar:

Join us for the launch of Prof Mark Swilling’s new book The Age of Sustainability: Just Transitions in a Complex World 

The Age of Sustainability: Just Transitions in a Complex World provides an interpretation of the global economic and ecological crisis from a distinct African perspective. Drawing on a relational epistemology and ontology that emerges from the intersection between contemporary Sub-Saharan African philosophy and western post-humanism, Swilling traverses a vast terrain in order to illustrate his argument that there are multiple transitions already underway at the global, national and local levels. He offers a theory of change that avoids the false promise of superficial reforms (‘greenwash’) and the grandiose claims about ‘structural change’. Instead, he proposes that we need to be radical incrementalists in the way we fuse together real-world experiments and the making of global futures. He argues that the directionality of the global energy transition will shape the way the global political economy evolves beyond the current crisis. The intellectual and operational bankruptcy of neo-liberal economics opens the way for alternative futures, but these alternatives have yet to consolidate themselves at the global and national levels. They are, however, emerging across all world regions at the local level. This is particularly true when it comes to the emerging commons-based peer-to-peer economies that we see at local and global levels. Unless we understand the complex dynamics of the deep transition already underway, and how this is shaping all our choices about governance, economics, well-being, urban living and cultural norms, we will be ill-equipped for the rapidly unfolding future that we all experience on a daily basis.


Mark Swilling is Distinguished Professor of Sustainable Development in the School of Public Leadership, University of Stellenbosch and Co-Director of the Centre for Complex Systems in Transition ( He is the author of The Age of Sustainability: Just Transitions in a Complex World (London and New York: Routledge, 2020), co-author with Eve Annecke of Just Transitions: Explorations of Sustainability in an Unfair World (Tokyo: United Nations University Press, 2012), co-editor with Adriana Allen and Andreas Lampis of Untamed Urbanism (New York and London: Routledge, 2016), co-editor with Josephine Musango and Jeremy Wakeford Greening the South African Economy (Cape Town: Juta, 2016) and was the lead author with Ivor Chipkin et. al. of Shadow State: Politics of State Capture (Johannesburg: WITS Press, 2018). He is a member of UNEP’s International Resource Panel acting as Coordinator of the Cities Working Group ( and is the Deputy Chair of the Board of the Development Bank of Southern Africa. He is co-lead author of The Weight of Cities: Resource Requirements of Future Urbanization, published in 2018 by the International Resource Panel. He has been a Visiting Professor at the Universities of Sheffield and Utrecht, and in 2018 was the Edward P. Bass Visiting Environmental Scholar at Yale University.