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Our Ecological Footprint: Reducing Human Impact on the Earth (New Catalyst Bioregional Series) (Paperback) Paperback – July 1, 1998


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: New Society Publishers (July 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 086571312X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0865713123
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #694,424 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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So, please READ IT !
D. Kustudic
The idea is to balance our global footprint with the earth's total carrying capacity for humans and allow sufficient carrying capacity for other species, as well.
Howzat
This is a good book at the introductory level.
hakoon@tm.net.my

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 43 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 29, 1999
Format: Paperback
I have not only read this book but I have had the honour of hearing author William Rees explain the world's current environmental predicament. His analysis -- as stated in the book and by other readers-- is so simple yet profound. I believe the ecological footprint analysis tool offers one of the best ways to explain to people why they must change their lifestyles. I believe so much in the concept, I have started a business to help the corporate sector implement sustainable practices and policies. Our society probably has a better chance of survival if we can change the way influential companies do business, rather than changing one individual at a time. This book provides the basis for understanding why we must change. Then read Natural Capitalism by Hawken and Lovins and you'll understand how much progress has already been made and how much more is achievable.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 13, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book is about the environmental costs that humans have on our planet, especially those humans living in developed countries. The authors contend that we are using up the resources of the planet at an astounding rate, such that little will be left for generations of the future. In other words, our present lifestyle is unsustainable. The authors argue that a measure of sustainability can be calculated by adding up the resources used by a group of people, and translating this to area on the earth, which yields roughly the total amount of land needed by the group to live sustainably, or their "ecological footprint". They point out that people in developed countries tend to have much larger ecological footprints than those in developing countries, but even amongst developed countries, there are large differences, and that Americans have huge ecological footprints compared to people from most other countries. In fact, in order for everyone on Earth to live as Americans do, it would require several additional planets to provide the resources and disposal space for waste.

The beginning chapters of the book define sustainability and the concept of ecological footprint. They also argue that our present practices are not sustainable. In the third chapter, we find the general idea of how an ecological footprint can be calculated, and the types of resources that need to be accounted for. The authors also run through a few examples of how footprints can be calculated on a nation by nation basis. They don't claim to have developed a conclusive method for calculating ecological footprints, especially on an individual basis, though they invite interested readers to do so on their own (there are numerous suggestions for how to do so on the Web).
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By merrymousies on December 14, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is an interesting book. I bought this originally as a gift for my aunt but upon receiving it I decided it was far too technical for her. Its a great book but you need to already have a basic understanding of and interest in sustainability. If you already have this basic understanding then this book is superb - it can help you take that basic understanding to the next level and not just in terms of understanding how local issues fit together but how global issues do. The authgors try in parts of the book to make this whole thing easy and fun but ultimately this is a pretty technical book - getting into things like the environmental impact of a person/community in Norway versus a person/community elsewhere in the world. Really interesting and definitely more complex than the online tools that you can use to measure your individual impact on the world but again, you need to really be interested in the subject of sustainability to enjoy this book. Lots of "meat" in here to chew on, now a quick read by any means.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By hakoon@tm.net.my on September 7, 1997
Format: Paperback
I stumbled upon this book in the journal D&G, at a time I was thinking hard about the direction of the civilization. So I ordered one.

It was an unassuming book, neatly printed and illustrated with black and white caricatures. At first I thought it was a mistake to order such a book. But as I read on, the insights of the authors emerged, so profound, yet so simply explained. Really, after swallowing all the contents for five consecutive nights, one will ask, "How come I did not think of this??".

The concept is vivid : it tried to explain what the ecological footprint means : how much of land is required to support yourself. And it turned out that there is already not enough for the world. Further proliferation of current lifestyles is suicidal.

The authors devoted a whole long chapter on proposals of alternative lifestyles. These are nowhere hardcore technical, rest assured. They are blindingly simple, and yet hard to swallow. Just ask any Tom, Dick and Harry whether he or she wants such a life, you will get an awkward stare : are you in your right mind? The authors may be right, but when we have gone so far astray, we have forgotten the road from which we come.

This book cannot score 10 points, though. The examples on how an economy can develop without growth are not solid enough. While the writers are not economists, to force the reader to think twice about current lifestyles, they must fork out a marvellous thesis, which has yet to be clearly stated.

This is a good book at the introductory level. Although it sometimes touch on the Second Law of Thermodynamics, the reader is not expected to have an a priori understanding. It's explanation is vivid and simple. While it may insult Professors and those high brow academics, it is a book easy to follow.

Worth a try
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