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State of the World 2013: Is Sustainability Still Possible? 1st Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Nonetheless, even though I've been researching and writing in a this general field for a while myself, there were maybe 10 or so articles I found that made very good points new to me, or made their points unusually well. Most of these articles had a narrower focus than talking about how to change the whole world at once. Roughly an equal number of chapters had me madly scribbling critical comments in the margins. The remaining, slightly biggest chunk were at least pretty good overall. My star score reflects this average. (DISCLOSURE: Before you read further I should mention that the publisher contacted me and offered to send me a copy of the book if I would agree to write an honest review. Based on my impression of other books from this publisher, I accepted. This is my first invited review out of more than 200 reviews I've posted on Amazon to date. Should there be a recurrence, I will highlight the fact again.)
While I'll have more specific remarks below about the contents of some of the chapters, the absence of some important topics was also notable. First, none of the chapters engaged seriously with *finance.Read more ›
The planetary perspective is evident in the 50 pages of current references following the text. Every major environmental issue is examined in detail as it relates to the growing demands of 7+ billion inhabitants. Millions more become middle class consumers every week. What can we anticipate in the next decade or so with regard to agriculture, energy, forests, fisheries, pollution, cities, rate of species extinctions, indigenous peoples, climate change, and cultural resilience?
Positive: this is an extraordinary cast of characters and a superb "architecture" for addessing the core issue of sustainability.
Negative: the endeavor lacks a whole systems (holistic) analytic model and even though Herman Daly is represented, "true cost" is not a concept ably brought forth here.
On balance, so far, this is absolutely a 5 star book, but it needs a companion "executive" version, much much shorter, with more pictures, and the three colors average people can understand (red, yellow,m green). It needs a scorecard approach that can be very specific about what policies we need to adopt across each domain (agriculture to water), right now all that is buried in the fine print and too time consuming to dig out.
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This is a preliminary review. I got this book today in Washington DC and at first glance consider it quite extraordinary. Although the Worldwatch Institute (not to be confused with its founder Lester Brown who left them in 2001 to establish a separate Earth Policy Institute) is in my view one of the most prolific and consistent publisher in the field of whole systems sustainability studies, this book does not quite make the leap to six stars (my top ten percent) because it lacks a comprehensive architecture and a related cost picture for "the whole enchilada." This is a MAGNIFICENT work with 34 chapters by different individuals, each clearly a masterpiece within its domain.Read more ›
"This year's 'State of the World' aims to expand and deepen discussion of the overused and misunderstood adjective `sustainable,' which in recent years has morphed from its original meaning into something like `a little better for the environment than the alternative.' Simply doing `better' environmentally will not stop the unravelling of ecological relationships we depend on for food and health. Improving our act will not stabilize the atmosphere. It will not slow the falling of aquifers or the rising of oceans. Nor will it return Arctic ice, among Earth's most visible natural features from space, to its pre-industrial extent."
The above comes from the first essay or chapter of this very interesting book by The Worldwatch Institute. This Institute is an environmental research organization based in Washington, D.C. It helps to inform policymakers and the public about the complex links between the world economy and its environmental support systems.
The book itself is comprised of 34 essays by just over 50 authors. (Some essays have more than one author.) It has 30 text boxes (that is, information boxes that are set apart form the main narrative of a particular essay), almost 15 tables, and almost 30 black and white figures . There are also black and white photographs throughout.
The authors are quite diverse in what they do and the majority of them have more than one occupation. The greatest percentage of authors by far are professors, followed by directors, fellows, founders, researchers, presidents, and authors & writers. Then there is a teacher, lecturer, administrator, associate, accredited professional, account executive, college senior, astronomer, anthropologist, and consultant.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Overly academic perspective of sustainability written by folks in ivory towersPublished 10 months ago by Vincent Bataoel
I have read every single State of the World report. 2013 is exceptionally well done. Warning: This is a terribly difficult read. But everyone should do it. Everyone. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Alonzo Nightjar
A frightening but factual accounting of where we stand as a world in these times of human-caused global climate change. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Tory
This is an excellent look at the problems the planet is faced with today. The essays are very well written and edited. They are pertinent to our world today.Published 19 months ago by Mario V
Had to read it for the honors college at Purdue to talk about sustainability. I'm sure it was a good book. No one ever read it. If you do, you're wasting your time. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Brandon
I’ve devoted perhaps as many as a couple hundred hours to reading (closely), underlining, making notations, and writing synopses of about half the chapters in the book. Read morePublished 20 months ago by OlderThanYou