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The Sustainability Revolution: Portrait of a Paradigm Shift Paperback – June 1, 2005
"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
A dramatic coming-of-age story set in the decade after World War II, "Warlight" is the mesmerizing new novel from the best-selling author of "The English Patient." Pre-order today
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Sustainability has become a buzzword in the last decade, but its full meaning is complex, emerging from a range of different sectors. In practice, it has become the springboard for millions of individuals throughout the world who are forging the fastest and most profound social transformation of our time-the Sustainability Revolution.
The Sustainability Revolution paints a picture of this largely unrecognized phenomenon from the point of view of five major sectors of society:
- Community (government and international institutions)
- Commerce (business)
- Natural Resources (forestry, farming, fisheries, etc.)
- Ecological Design (architecture, technology)
- Biosphere (conservation, biodiversity, etc.).
The book analyses sustainability as defined by each of these sectors in terms of the principles, declarations and intentions that have emerged from conferences and publications, and which serve as guidelines for policy decisions and future activities. Common themes are then explored, including:
- an emphasis on stewardship
- the need for economic restructuring promoting no waste and equitable distribution
- an understanding and respect for the principles of nature
- the restoration of life forms, and
- an intergenerational perspective on solutions.
Concluding that these themes in turn represent a new set of values that define this paradigm shift, The Sustainability Revolution describes innovative sustainable projects and policies in Colombia, Brazil, India and the Netherlands and examines future trends. Complete with a useful resources list, this is the first book of its kind and will appeal to business and government policy makers, academics, and all interested in sustainability.(2004-12-01)
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Whether you want to call this a primer, a survey, or a basic introduction, I found it to be an excellent starting point. It is a quick read, I am a fast reader and it took me around an hour, but there is a lot of information packed in the book, especially at the price point offered by the publisher. It is a real value.
My three criticisms. The author tries to avoid controversies. For example, for some reason, he seems to try very hard to avoid any discussion of over population, which may be the biggest problem of all in trying to achieve sustainability.
Second, again avoiding controversies, the author praises Netherlands, justifiably, but also points out that most of their land is recaptured. He never seems to address this obvious contradiction.
Third, the author emphasized education and indicates that it will be integrated throughout the book. However, I never saw any real discussion of education or psychological change.
Although I enjoyed the book and would recommend it, I was never convinced this was a real paradigm shift, not in the classic meaning of a paradigm shift. If it is, the author fails to deal with how we will change the minds and motivations of people.
I found each chapter to be complete, but there is a lot of parallel structure in the book so I limited myself to a chapter a day so I wouldn't confuse things between chapters.
Next edition: I could have used more explanation for why social equity is the third E (Ecology, Economy, Equity) of sustainability. I can deduce it on my own, but I just could have used some help understanding this at a fundamental level.
Overall, I loved this book and read just about every word of the text. I have marked up and flagged the extensive reference sections and have already chased down a few follow-up topics.