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Eco-Pioneers: Practical Visionaries Solving Today's Environmental Problems [Paperback]

Steve Lerner
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 22, 1998 026262124X 978-0262621243

The idea for Eco-Pioneers came to Steve Lerner while he was attending the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. Although he was moved by the vision of sustainable development evoked by citizens and officials at the summit, as a reporter he felt a need to put a human face on the rhetoric and find out what sustainable development actually looks like in the United States. He spent the next four years searching out what he came to call "eco-pioneers"--the modern pathfinders who are working in the American pragmatic tradition to reduce the pace of environmental degradation. These practical visionaries are people who are willing to push the limits of whatever tools they can find for dealing with ecological problems.Lerner provides case studies of eco-pioneers who are exploring sustainable ways to log forests, grow food, save plant species, run cattle, build houses, clean up cities, redesign rural communities, generate power, conserve water, protect rivers and wildlife, treat hazardous waste, reuse materials, and reduce both waste and consumption. Some of those profiled run businesses, some address environmental practices within their immediate community, and some combine their environmental concerns with social goals such as the creation of inner-city jobs. Together they are creating ways of living and working that many analysts believe to be essential to an ecologically sustainable future.

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Eco-Pioneers: Practical Visionaries Solving Today's Environmental Problems + Preparing for Climate Change (Boston Review Books) + Water: A Natural History
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Lerner, research director of Commonweal, a health and environmental research institute, continues exploring the themes he introduced in The Earth Summit (Common Knowledge, 1991) and Beyond the Earth Summit (Common Knowledge, 1992). He presents 25 case studies on sustainable development in the United States, showcasing the efforts of "eco-pioneers" in diverse settings from inner cities to rural communities to grow food, build houses, treat wastes, and generate power in sustainable ways. The result is a nice compilation of practical examples of sustainable development that makes us believe that we can solve our environmental problems. Recommended for general collections where there is a demand.?Teresa Berry, Univ. of Tennesee Lib., Knoxville
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"This engaging, unpretentious book suggests active, do-it-yourself environmentalism is alive and well in grassroots America." Frederic Golden , San Francisco Chronicle

"For sustainability to move from theory to practice, it requires thededication and creativity Steve Lerner discovered in his 10,000 mileodyssey. Like the road to sustainability itself, Steve's journey circlesback to show that American virtures such as gumption, ingenuity andunyielding persistance can once again revolutionize the world." Paul Hawken , author of The Ecology of Commerce

Product Details

  • Paperback: 462 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press (May 22, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 026262124X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262621243
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.5 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #382,182 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fun read, but too passive to be inspirational February 1, 1999
Each chapter focuses on how these eco-pioneers turned visions of sustainable development into realities -- with benefits not only for Mother Earth, but also for the economy. They show us what they do in their own community, using innovative technology, creative problem solving, natural science, and entrepreneurial spirit. As Lerner writes, "[these] case studies show positive examples -- transforming hazardous wastes into useful industrial materials; treating sewage with organic methods; building houses with sustainably harvested or recycled materials; raising crops with less use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers; minimizing the waste stream by diverting reusable goods; generating and saving energy by using renewable sources and energy conservation measures; providing inner-city jobs while cleaning up the urban environment; producing lumber by practicing a selective method of forestry; and teaching people to consume less while enjoying life more."
After finishing all of the thought-provoking case studies, you just might feel empowered enough to search for a solution to some problem in your part of the world. Lerner does not feel confident that corporations and governments will solve the global crisis that we might see. Individual people -- and their innovations -- will be the collective answer, one region at a time, one city at a time. Lerner hints that the future of ecological prosperity rests in the able hands of these enterpreneurs.
However, there is no real and practical push for the reader to get started in local projects. The value of the book is more of a passive inspirational tool than an active instrument for leaders. The book leads by example[s], but it does not implore the reader to get out and do what has been chronicled.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Lerner's 10,000 mile journey around the U.S. to interview people at the cutting edge of new technolgies and applying overlooked ancient ones is inspiring. Cases explore a wide range - low-impact building materials, greenhouse treatments of sewage, environmental solutions to inner city problems, hazardous waste transformed to industrial materials, urban rooftop ag, models of sustainable communities in neighborhoods, cities and reservations. Lerner, who has been reporting on the environment for twenty years, is an excellent writer who captures the vision of people he's profiling and explains what they are pioneering in plain English.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Exactly what I ordered! January 24, 2013
By melissa
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book was a school requirement, I purchased it here because I will only read it for this class I am taking
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