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The Principles of Sustainability [Paperback]

Simon Dresner
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

August 30, 2008 184407496X 978-1844074969 2nd
At a time of increasingly rapid environmental deterioration and climate change, sustainability is one of the most important issues facing the world. Can we create a sustainable society? What would that mean? How should we set about doing it? How can we bring about such a profound change in the way things are organized? This text tackles these questions directly. It covers: historical development of the concept of sustainability; contemporary debates about how to achieve it; and obstacles and the prospects for overcoming them. This new fully revised edition covers the latest on the climate change front, particularly the advances in scientific understanding and political awareness of climate change. Other updates include more recent economic analyses, particularly the Stern Report, and the global shift away from faith in markets over the past five years.

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The Principles of Sustainability + The Handbook of Sustainability Literacy: Skills for a Changing World
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Editorial Reviews


'A concise overview of the past, present and future of sustainaibility.' Future Survey

'Clear [and] readable.' Oxfam

Praise for the first edition: 'A great refresher course ... It's very thorough, describing the crucial events, introducing the necessary jargon, summarizing the various points of view.' Clean Slate

'Goes beyond the rhetoric to explain the deeper issues of sustainability in a way that is accessible and interesting to the non-specialist reader.' Cultural Survival Quarterly

'Dresner does in the space of 200 pages what many other writers have failed to do in texts of far greater length. He provides a rapid fire introduction to the origins, evolution and current state of thinking on sustainability and, in doing so, he offers a combined analysis and critique.' Business Strategy and the Environment

'An entertaining, informative and sometimes downright irreverent romp through the ragged peaks and swampy hinterland of sustainability, Dresner's book deserves to be read by students, practitioners and aficionados of sustainable development alike.' Tim Jackson, Professor of Sustainable Development, University of Surrey

'Simon Dresner has succeeded in contributing a thought-provoking insight to the subject area, which is both articulate and stimulating for his readers.' Journal of Environment Assessment Policy and Management

'A valuable addition to the intellectual literature on sustainability.' The Journal of Energy and Development

About the Author

Simon Dresner is a research fellow in the Environment Group at the Policy Studies Institute, UK.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 2nd edition (August 30, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184407496X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844074969
  • Product Dimensions: 0.7 x 6.1 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #514,527 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Heavy reading March 6, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book will especially appeal to people with a lot of knowledge in economic theory. It is very heavy reading and as an educated reader, but not a PhD economist, I had a hard time to push my way through. I had planned to use the book as a text to a community college general interest course in Sustainability, but it would be way over the heads of all but the most advanced economics students.

After these warnings, I am happy to have forced myself to keep going. This books shows how the whole question of sustainability is very complex and call into question the very basis of our economic systems. Mostly people use "sustainability" in a way to make everyone feel good about what they are doing. Look at the number of college courses that have had to add "sustainable" in their title. It ends up not meaning much at all. This books brings us face to face with hard questions we don't like to face. I'm not sure what we can do about it, but it is good to have to at least think about these questions and to learn what some deep thinking economists have proposed.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What we always need to know about Sustainability June 10, 2006
This book is a must for anyone that is interested in Sustainability. It takes the reader through all the history and tries to give as much neccessary background information as possible to get the big picture on each historical event and milestone. Allthough the author sometimes becomes a bit too subjective, he doesn't impose a view and tries more to inform. Definitely a book worth having for references on Sustainability events.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect for Referencing February 3, 2011
With "The Principles of Sustainability" Dresner wrote a great resource for everyone who wants to know what sustainability is, where as well as when it emerged, and where it might go. Especially for researchers this book offers plenty of well researched facts about the history of sustainability and how it became the concept that it is today.

After reading many guides on how to become sustainable I found it quite refreshing to read this book. Especially the first chapter about the history of sustainability made me think about how the evolution of sustainability still influences today's business practices and how we seem to diverge from the original idea. Reading Dresner's work reminds you of the basics of sustainability and causes you to re-think about the big sustainability manifestos out there such as "The Ecology of Commerce". Although I think that chapter three about the future of sustainability is a bit brief and better outlined in other books, I enjoyed the read and would recommend it to everyone who likes to take a step back before taking two steps ahead.

- Frank Roettgers, author of Going Green Together - How to Align Employees with Green Strategies
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excelent Reference book September 8, 2013
By Bofy
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
One of the most comprehensive books about the background that has lead us to the current unsustainable society. It is rare to find a book that covers every aspect of the background of the problem but Dressner does that in a very good way. At some points it might be a difficult read to people with little or no experience in economics or social sciences but it is well worth the effort.
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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Principles of Sustainability February 20, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book took the longest to here out of all of my book purchases for that day, but once it did the book was in good shape.
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