Sustainability
Sustainability
  

 

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** The Housing Bomb: Why Our Addiction to Houses Is Destroying the Environment and Threatening Our Society.  M. Nils Peterson  (Associate Prof of Forestry and Environment, North Carolina State U), Tarla Rai Peterson  (Chair in Wildlife and Conservation Policy, Texas A&M University), and Jianguo Liu  (University Distinguished Prof and director, Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability, Michigan State U). Baltimore MD: Johns Hopkins U Press, Nov 2013, 212p, $29.95 (also as e-book).  Inspired by Paul Ehrlich’s The Population Bomb (1968), the authors warn that “the world is facing a housing bomb,” where home proliferation poses a severe threat to the environment.  “While rising affluence and human well-being defused the population bomb, the same factors only whet our appetite for more houses, larger houses, houses on bigger pieces of land, and houses in beautiful natural landscapes.  The factors that defused the population bomb built the housing bomb.” (p.2).  When people replace their investment in children with an investment in stuff, they invest in houses.  The number of people per household is decreasing (due to declining fertility, aging, divorce), and the number of houses is exploding.  “The growth in housing numbers is faster than the increase in population in virtually every nation, irrespective of a country’s development status.”  The housing bomb is a significant force behind wildlife extinction through habitat loss and fragmentation, dependence on fossil fuels, unsustainable forest harvesting, abusive mining practices, climate change, water scarcity, and loss of prime agricultural land.  Current homes are designed as resource vacuums: sucking in resources through roads, water lines, gas lines, power lines, furniture, appliances.  Homes also serve as point sources for pollution: waste spills into sewer systems, lawn fertilizer washes, and motor vehicles needed to connect households with employment.  We also have excess homes: in the US, house addiction reached its zenith in 2005, when 40% of all homes that were sold were second homes.  Nearly a third of these vacation homes were >1000 miles from the buyer’s primary residence.  

Chapters discuss the global trend toward household size of 2.5 individuals, how home ownership both emancipates and enslaves us, the dilemma of house addicts who love nature (the more we want to live in or near it, the more we destroy it), a case study of “housaholism” in the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem (where house addicts are destroying what they love in the Teton Valley, but have worked to turn the tide on sprawl), household dynamics in a flagship protected area in China (the Wolong Nature Reserve for giant pandas), defusing the housing bomb with your house (sustainable energy use, riding bicycles, making energy with solar power, saving water, using native plants for landscaping, overcoming barriers), local strategies at the household and neighborhood scales (“most householders simply do not understand the full costs of home ownership or the benefits associated with more sustainable houses; they underestimate the costs of commuting in their personal vehicles by 60% or more”), community solutions to promote new urbanism and sustainable housing, large-scale state and national strategies, and international strategies to defuse the housing bomb (improvements in slum housing, the Healthy Cities movement, etc).

Concludes that “the refreshing difference between a population bomb and a housing bomb is that with the latter, solutions are abundant, are everywhere, are relatively easy to implement, and create immediate change.” (p.170)  The US now has “the least sustainable stock of housing in the developed world in terms of energy, water, and land use,” but there are abundant examples of how these choices can be changed quickly and with minimal resources.  Individual householders can cut their energy and water use by nearly half with little or no cost, as well as generate large long-term savings, ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 per year.  “Cities may be the key in turning the tide toward sustainable household dynamics” because they have more motivation that individual householders, states, or nations in promoting a household-based green infrastructure.      

[NOTE:  Original and provocative in the opening chapters, although the later chapters summarize familiar strategies for promoting sustainability, albeit at all levels.  The “bomb” metaphor is a tad overdone, but calls attention to an important but neglected aspect of building sustainable societies.] (SUSTAINABLE HOUSING)

 

* Transition to Sustainable Buildings: Strategies and Opportunities to 2050. International Energy Agency. Paris: OECD, June 2013, 284p, $140pb with e-book. Buildings are the largest energy consuming sector in the world, and account for over one-third of total final energy consumption and an equally important source of CO2 emissions. Achieving significant energy and emissions reduction in the buildings sector is a challenging but achievable policy goal. Presents detailed scenarios and strategies to 2050, and demonstrates how to reach deep energy and emissions reduction through a combination of best available technologies and intelligent public policy. Provides informative insights on: 1) cost-effective options, key technologies and opportunities in the buildings sector; 2) solutions for reducing electricity demand growth and flattening peak demand; 3) effective energy efficiency policies and lessons learned from different countries; 4) future trends and priorities for ASEAN, Brazil, China, the European Union, India, Mexico, Russia, South Africa and the United States; 5) implementing a systems approach using innovative products in a cost effective manner; and 6) the pursuit of whole-building (e.g. zero energy buildings) and advanced-component policies as a fundamental shift in the way energy is consumed. (SUSTAINABLE BUILDINGS * ENERGY EFFICIENCY)

 

* Greening Household Behaviour: Overview from the 2011 Survey. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Paris: OECD, July 2013, 308p, $77pb with e-book. Governments of OECD countries have introduced a wide variety of measures to encourage citizens to consider environmental impacts in their purchases and practices. Developing growth strategies that promote greener lifestyles requires a good understanding of the factors that affect people's behavior towards the environment. OECD took periodic surveys of >10,000 households in 11 countries (Australia, Canada, Chile, France, Israel, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland), covering five specific household behavior areas (energy use, food consumption, transport choices, waste and recycling, and water use). Calls for providing the right economic incentives for influencing household decisions. "Soft" measures such as labeling and public information campaigns also have a significant complementary role to play. Spurring desirable behavior change requires a mix of instruments. (GREEN LIFESTYLES * HOUSEHOLD GREEN BEHAVIOR * ENERGY * FOOD * WATER * WASTE)

 

* America the Possible: Manifesto for a New Economy.  James Gustave Speth (Prof of Law, Vermont Law School; Distinguished Senior Fellow, Demos). New Haven, CT: Yale U Press, Sept 2013, 288p, $18pb (hardcover, 2012).  Founder and president of the World Resources Institute (1982-1993) and former dean of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies (1999-2009)  identifies a dozen features of the American political economy—the country's basic operating system—where transformative change is essential; spells out the specific changes that are needed to move toward a new political economy—one in which the true priority is to sustain people and planet, and to offer an auspicious future for American children and grandchildren.   Transitions are needed from GDP (“grossly distorted picture”) to accurate measures of well-being, to a “post-growth society” beyond mere GDP growth, from Wall Street to Main Street, from economic insecurity to security, and from weak democracy to strong democracy.  (AMERICAN POLITICAL ECONOMY: NEEDED CHANGES * SOCIETY * ECONOMY* GDP QUESTIONED * SUSTAINABILITY)

 

* The Housing Bomb: Why Our Addiction to Houses is Destroying the Environment and Threatening Our Society.  Nils Peterson (assoc prof of Forestry and Environmental Resources, North Carolina State U), Tarla Rai Peterson (chair in Wildlife and Conservation Policy, Texas A&M  and prof of environmental communication, Swedish U of Agricultural Sciences), and Jianguo Liu (chair in Sustainability, University Distinguished Prof and director, Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability, Michigan State U). Baltimore MD: Johns Hopkins U Press, Nov 2013, 224p, $29.95 (also as e-book).  Most of us want bigger and bigger houses and dream of the day when we own not just one dwelling but at least the two our neighbor does. We pave and build, demolishing habitat needed by threatened and endangered species, adding to the mounting burden of global climate change, and sucking away resources much better applied to pressing societal needs. "Reduce, reuse, recycle" is seldom evoked in the housing world, where economists predict financial disasters when "new housing starts" decline and the idea of renovating inner city residences is regarded as merely a good cause.  Proposals: 1) making simple changes in our household energy and water usage; 2) supporting municipal, state, national, and international policies to counter this devastation and overuse of resources; 3) pursuing a future where we all live comfortable, nondestructive lives.    (SUSTAINABILITY * HOUSING)

 

* Weak versus Strong Sustainability: Exploring the Limits of Two Opposing Paradigms (Fourth Edition). Eric Neumayer (Prof of Environment and Development, and Associate, Research Institute on Climate Change and Environment, London School of Economics and Political Science). Northampton MA: Edward Elgar, Aug 2013, 296p, $55 (also as e-book). This edition explores the two opposing paradigms of sustainability in an insightful and accessible way. Central to the debate on sustainable development is the question of whether natural capital can be substituted by other forms of capital. Proponents of weak sustainability maintain that such substitutability is possible, while followers of strong sustainability regard natural capital as non-substitutable. Neumayer examines the availability of natural resources for the production of consumption goods, the environmental consequences of economic growth, the critical forms of natural capital in need of preservation, and measures of sustainability. Indicators of weak sustainability such as Genuine Savings and the Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare – also known as the Genuine Progress Indicator – are analysed, as are indicators of strong sustainability, including ecological footprints, material flows and sustainability gaps. (SUSTAINABILITY PARADIGMS)

 

*Sustainability Principles and Practices.  Margaret Robertson (Sustainability Coordinator, Lane Community College, Eugene OR; Sustainability Fellow, Higher Education Associations Sustainability Consortium).  NY: Earthscan/Routledge, Jan 2014, 392p, ___pb.  A textbook for undergraduate students, providing a comprehensive overview of the interdisciplinary field of sustainability.  Topics include climate change, sustainable development, sustainability assessment, environmental economics and law, biodiversity and conservation, environmental policy and politics, landscape and sustainability, green construction, bioenergy, fossil and nuclear energy, planning, social equity and environmental justice, food, product life cycles, cities, techniques for management and measurement, and case studies from around the world.  A companion website provides key website links, detailed reading lists, research problems, and a glossary.   (SUSTAINABILITY TEXTBOOK)
*Our Dying Planet: An Ecologist’s View of the Crisis We Face.  Peter F. Sale (University Professor Emeritus, U of Windsor; Asst. Director, UNU Institute for Water, Environment, and Health, Hamilton, Ontario).  Berkeley: U of California Press, Sept 2011, 339p, ___.   “Given that the world has changed, sometimes drastically, in the geological past and is changing today, we must recognize that it may change drastically in the future.” (p.11)  Three factors suggest that the changes happening now are alarming: 1) changes that are presently occurring, climatic and otherwise, are more rapid than any in the past; 2) some of the changes are different from any that have happened before—and many different kinds of change are occurring at once; 3) the more severe changes in past periods have led to mass extinctions, including removal of the dominant organisms: “we are the dominant organisms of today’s world.”  We live in challenging times where we must manage our impacts “so that patterns of change do not become so severe that devastating tipping points are exceeded.”  Chapters describe overfishing and the limited promise of aquaculture (there is reasons for modest optimism due to a number of improvements in managing fisheries), deforestation (which has led to the collapse of civilizations in the past), disrupting the ocean-atmosphere climate engine (a complicated system with many parts, all linked by multiple processes; it is “exquisitely sensitive to slight differences in temperature or salinity”), the perilous future for coral reefs (the canaries in the ecological coal mine), the problem of shifting baselines (we tend not to look too far back, and thus we only see modest incremental change and ignore exponential change), our unrealistic belief in the balance of nature (there is no evidence that such a balance exists; it is a myth that we can no longer afford), what loss of ecological complexity means for the world (ecosystem collapse, loss of direct economic value and of environmental services; ecosystems will continue to function as they become simplified, until suddenly they do not), reducing our use of fossil fuels, slowing growth of human population, and four alternative futures.
(ENVIRONMENT * BIODIVERSITY * OVERFISHING)
* Sustainability Principles and Practices.  Margaret Robertson (Sustainability Coordinator, Lane Community College, Eugene OR; Sustainability Fellow, Higher Education Associations Sustainability Consortium).  NY: Earthscan/Routledge, Jan 2014, 392p,48.95pb.  A textbook for undergraduate students, providing a comprehensive overview of the interdisciplinary field of sustainability.  Topics include climate change, sustainable development, sustainability assessment, environmental economics and law, biodiversity and conservation, environmental policy and politics, landscape and sustainability, green construction, bioenergy, fossil and nuclear energy, planning, social equity and environmental justice, food, product life cycles, cities, techniques for management and measurement, and case studies from around the world.  A companion website provides key website links, detailed reading lists, research problems, and a glossary.   (SUSTAINABILITY TEXTBOOK)


* Our Dying Planet: An Ecologist’s View of the Crisis We Face.  Peter F. Sale (University Professor Emeritus, U of Windsor; Asst. Director, UNU Institute for Water, Environment, and Health, Hamilton, Ontario).  Berkeley: U of California Press, Sept 2011, 339p, $26.96.   “Given that the world has changed, sometimes drastically, in the geological past and is changing today, we must recognize that it may change drastically in the future.” (p.11)  Three factors suggest that the changes happening now are alarming: 1) changes that are presently occurring, climatic and otherwise, are more rapid than any in the past; 2) some of the changes are different from any that have happened before—and many different kinds of change are occurring at once; 3) the more severe changes in past periods have led to mass extinctions, including removal of the dominant organisms: “we are the dominant organisms of today’s world.”  We live in challenging times where we must manage our impacts “so that patterns of change do not become so severe that devastating tipping points are exceeded.”  Chapters describe overfishing and the limited promise of aquaculture (there is reasons for modest optimism due to a number of improvements in managing fisheries), deforestation (which has led to the collapse of civilizations in the past), disrupting the ocean-atmosphere climate engine (a complicated system with many parts, all linked by multiple processes; it is “exquisitely sensitive to slight differences in temperature or salinity”), the perilous future for coral reefs (the canaries in the ecological coal mine), the problem of shifting baselines (we tend not to look too far back, and thus we only see modest incremental change and ignore exponential change), our unrealistic belief in the balance of nature (there is no evidence that such a balance exists; it is a myth that we can no longer afford), what loss of ecological complexity means for the world (ecosystem collapse, loss of direct economic value and of environmental services; ecosystems will continue to function as they become  (ENVIRONMENT * BIODIVERSITY * OVERFISHING)

 

 

* Sustainable Urban Metabolism.  Paulo C. Ferrão (Prof of Mechanical Engineering, Instituto Superior Técnico, Lisbon; a Director, MIT Portugal Program) and John E. Fernández (Assoc Prof of Architecture and Director, Building Technology Program, MIT; Director, MIT International Design Center).  Cambridge MA: MIT Press, Sept 2013, 256p, $35. Urbanization and globalization have shaped the last hundred years. These two dominant trends are mutually reinforcing, as globalization links countries through the networked communications of urban hubs. The urban population now generates more than 80% of global GDP. Cities account for enormous flows of energy and materials—inflows of goods and services and outflows of waste. Thus urban environmental management critically affects global sustainability. Ferrão and Fernández view the city as a metabolism, in terms of its exchanges of matter and energy, and provide a roadmap to strategies and tools needed for analyzing and promoting the sustainability of urban systems. Using the concept of urban metabolism as a unifying framework, they describe a systems-oriented approach that establishes useful linkages among environmental, economic, social, and technical infrastructure issues.  (SUSTAINABILITY * CITIES * URBAN METABOLISM)

 

* Constructing Green: The Social Structures of Sustainability. Edited by Rebecca L. Henn (Asst Prof of Architecture, Pennsylvania State U) and Andrew J. Hoffman (Prof of Sustainable Enterprise, U of Michigan).  Cambridge MA:  MIT Press, Sept 2013, 384p, $27pb. Buildings are the nation’s greatest energy consumers, with 40% of all energy used for heating, cooling, lighting, and powering machines and devices in buildings. Despite decades of investment in green construction technologies, residential and commercial buildings remain stubbornly energy inefficient. Examines the cultural, social, and organizational shifts that sustainable building requires, and considers the changes associated with green building through a sociological and organizational lens. Topics include evolving boundaries of professional  jurisdictions; changing industry strategies and structures ( including the roles of ownership, supply firms, and market niches); new operational, organizational, and cultural arrangements (including the mainstreaming of environmental concerns); narratives and frames that influence the perception of green building; and future directions for the theory and practice of sustainable construction.   (GREEN BUILDINGS * SUSTAINABILITY * ENERGY EFFICIENCY)

 

 

* Balancing on a Planet: The Future of Food and Agriculture. David A. Cleveland (Prof of Environmental Studies, U of California, Santa Barbara). Berkeley CA: U of California Press, Jan 2014, 301p, $34.95pb. Combining selected aspects of small-scale traditional agriculture with modern scientific agriculture can help balance our biological need for food with its environmental impact—and continue to fulfill cultural, social, and psychological needs related to food. Cleveland offers an interdisciplinary primer on critical thinking and effective action for the future of our global agrifood system, analyzes assumptions underlying different perspectives on problems related to food and agriculture around the world, and discusses alternative solutions. (AGRICULTURE IN 21C * GLOBAL AGRIFOOD SYSTEM* SUSTAINABILITY)

 

* Can Green Sustain Growth? From the Religion to the Reality of Sustainable Prosperity. John Zysmanand (Prof of Political Science, U of California, Berkeley) and Mark Huberty (Research Associate, Berkeley Roundtable on the International Economy and visiting fellow, Bruegel think tank). Palo Alto CA: Stanford U Press, Nov 2013, 352p, $45 (also as e-book). “Green growth” has proven to be politically popular, but economically elusive. The authors ask how we can move from theoretical support to implementation, and argue that this leap will require radical experimentation. But systemic change is costly, and a sweeping shift cannot be accomplished without political support, not to mention large-scale cooperation between business and government. Coalitions for green experimentation emerge and survive when they link climate solutions to specific problems with near-term benefits that appeal to both environmental and industrial interests. Brings together eight case studies to consider what we can learn from the implementation of green growth strategies to date and delivers concrete policy recommendations for further sustainable prosperity. (SUSTAINABILITY * GREEN GROWTH STRATEGIES)


* Flourishing: A Frank Conversation about Sustainability. John R. Ehrenfeld (Director, MIT Program on Technology, Business, and Environment; former Executive Director, International Society for Industrial Ecology, 2000–2009) and Andrew J. Hoffman (Prof of Sustainable Enterprise, U of Michigan; Director, Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise). Palo Alto CA: Stanford U Press, May 2013, 144p, $17.95pb (also as e-book). Ehrenfeld, and his former student Hoffman discuss how to create a sustainable world. They uncover “two core facets of our culture that that drive the unsustainable, unsatisfying, and unfair social and economic machines that dominate our lives”: 1) our collective model of the way the world works cannot cope with the inherent complexity of today’s highly connected, high-speed reality; 2) our understanding of human behavior is rooted in this outdated model. As a result, both business and government are following the wrong path—at best applying temporary, less unsustainable solutions that will fail to leave future generations in better shape. The authors put forward a new story, driven by being and caring, as opposed to having and needing, rooted in the beauty of complexity and arguing for the transformative cultural shift that we can make based on our collective wisdom and lived experiences. (SUSTAINABILITY: A NEW STORY)


* Putting Green Growth at the Heart of Development. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Paris: OECD, May 2013, 150p, $53pb (with free e-book). Green growth is vital to secure a brighter, more sustainable future for developing countries, which will pay a high price for failing to tackle local and global environmental threats because they are more dependent on natural resources and are more vulnerable to resources scarcity and natural disasters. The report provides a twin-track approach with agendas for national and international action. Topics cover development dimensions of green growth, policy framework (planning, policies, aligning current growth policies with green growth, implementation and related institutional mechanisms), international cooperation for green growth, and measuring progress. Conclusions: 1) green growth is about integrating environment into economic decision-making for sustainable development; 2) failure to embrace green growth threatens to usher in an era of global instability; 3) green growth puts environmental sustainability at the heart of the national development agenda; 4) well-designed green growth policies can reduce poverty and inequality; and 5) green growth anchors sustainability in development goals. (GREEN GROWTH * DEVELOPMENT * SUSTAINABILTY)

 

* Inclusive Wealth Report 2012: Measuring Progress Toward Sustainability. United Nations University International Human Dimensions Programme and United Nations Environment Programme. NY: Cambridge U Press, July 2012, $48pb. Economic production indicators such as gross domestic product (GDP) and the Human Development Index (HDI) fail to reflect the state of natural resources or ecological conditions and both focus exclusively on the short term, without indicating whether national policies are sustainable over longer periods of time. This report presents an index that measures the wealth of nations by carrying out a comprehensive analysis of a country's capital assets, including manufactured, human and natural capital, and its corresponding values: the Inclusive Wealth Index (IWI). Contents focus on the wealth accounts and foundations of wealth accounting. (INCLUSIVE WEALTH INDEX - IWI * ECONOMY AND SUSTAINABILITY)

 

* Sustainability: If It’s Everything, Is it Nothing? (Critical Issues in Global Politics). Heather Farley (University Sustainability Coordinator, Northern Arizona U) and Zachary A. Smith (Prof of Environmental Policy, NAU). NY: Routledge, July 2013, 192p, $39.95 (www.routledge.com/9780415783545). The concept of sustainability has become highly important in the business community, academia, and government. Both in the U.S. and internationally, sustainability is used as a guiding principle in policy decision-making, development planning, natural resource management, advocacy coalitions, and within various professional and academic fields. This textbook examines the misuses and abuses of "sustainability" and seek to refine and clarify the concept; they offer a new definition of sustainability – what they call “neo-sustainability” – to help guide policies and practices that respect the primacy of the environment, the natural limits of the environment, and the relationship between environmental, social, and economic systems. (SUSTAINABILITY TEXTBOOK * NEO-SUSTAINABILITY)

 

* Inclusive Green Growth: The Pathway to Sustainable Development. Washington DC: World Bank, May 2012, 188p (8x10.5”), $39.95pb. As the global population heads toward 9 billion by 2050, decisions made today will lock countries into growth patterns that may or may not be sustainable in the future. Care must be taken to ensure that cities and roads, factories and farms are designed, managed, and regulated as efficiently as possible to wisely use natural resources while supporting the robust growth developing countries still need. “Greening growth is necessary, efficient, and affordable.” Yet spurring growth without ensuring equity will thwart efforts to reduce poverty and improve access to health, education, and infrastructure services. Countries must make strategic investments and farsighted policy changes that acknowledge natural resource constraints and enable the world's poorest and most vulnerable to benefit from efficient, clean, and resilient growth. Like other forms of capital, natural assets are limited and require accounting, investment, and maintenance in order to be properly harnessed and deployed. (GREEN GROWTH * SUSTAINABILITY)

 

* Eco-Business: A Big-Brand Takeover of Sustainability. Peter Dauvergne (Prof of Pol Sci and Director, Liu Institute for Global Issues, U of British Columbia) and Jane Lister (Senior Research Fellow, Liu Institute for Global Issues). Cambridge MA: MIT Press, March 2012, 208p, $24.95. McDonald’s promises to use only beef, coffee, fish, chicken, and cooking oil obtained from sustainable sources. Coca-Cola promises to achieve water neutrality. Unilever has set a deadline of 2020 to reach 100% sustainable agricultural sourcing. Walmart has pledged to become carbon neutral. Today, big-brand companies seem to be making commitments that go beyond the usual “greenwashing” efforts undertaken largely for public relations purposes. For many leading-brand companies, these corporate sustainability efforts go deep, reorienting central operations and extending through global supply chains. Yet, these companies are doing this not for the good of the planet but for their own profits and market share in a volatile, globalized economy. They are using sustainability as a business tool.  Advocacy groups and governments are partnering with these companies, eager to reap the governance potential of eco-business efforts.  “The acclaimed eco-efficiencies achieved by big-brand companies limit the potential for finding deeper solutions to pressing environmental problems and reinforce runaway consumption. Eco-business promotes the sustainability of big business, not the sustainability of life on Earth.” (SUSTAINABILITY * ECO-BUSINESS * BUSINESS “GREENING”)

 

**Crisis of Global Sustainability.  Tapio Kanninen (Senior Research Fellow, Institute for International Studies, CUNY Graduate Center; Co-Director, IIS Project on Sustainable Global Governance).  Global Institutions Series, Vol #74.  London & NY Routledge, Jan 2013, 178p, $29.95pb.  Awareness of potentially disastrous consequence of human activity for the planet has been slowly growing worldwide.  Numerous organizations and think tanks are collecting data and disseminating information, yet the public and politicians in many countries show little concern, and the many calls for drastic change have not been taken seriously.  This book explains the sorry state of affairs, discussing on the birth and evolution of the Club of Rome, its early identification of a global crisis and the predicament of mankind, the 1972 Limits to Growth report and the follow-up 1974 Mankind at the Turning Point report, the LTG report and its critics, evolution of concepts and doctrines related to sustainability (e.g. “spaceship earth” in the 1960s, Herman Daly’s “steady-state economy” in the 1970s, Canada’s conserver society project, the 1987 Brundtland Commission report on “sustainable society,” the 1992 Sustainable Netherlands action plan, the 2012 UN High-Level Panel on Global Sustainability [see GFB Book of the Month, June 2012], etc.), intergovernmental action in the 1972-2012 period, climate change negotiations, planetary boundaries [see GFB Book of the Month, Jan 2013], UNEP’s Global Environmental Outlook-5 report, how the UN could be reformed to meet future challenges, creating new institutions and strategies for a global emergency (e.g. Al Gore’s 1992 call for a Global Marshall Plan, Paul Gilding’s one degree war plan, Richard Branson’s Carbon War Room), and thinking about a third generation of international institutions, notably new mechanisms of global monitoring and coordination.

“A fundamental problem for the future” is how to coordinate work of existing organizations and how to integrate them with global and regional decision-making.  “A true global emergency needs a well-coordinated response and not organizations working at cross purposes.” (p127)  Concludes with discussing a proposed Global Crisis Network to coordinate local, national, and regional initiatives with global policies, and to catalyze actions such as a second conference of the UN Charter.  [NOTE: Kanninen was Chief of the Policy Planning Unit in the UN’s Dept of Political Affairs (1998-2005) and has held other UN posts.  The Routledge Global Institutions Series, edited by Thomas G. Weiss of the CUNY Graduate Center and Rorden Wilkinson of the U of Manchester, encompasses 74 published titles and lists 28 books currently under contract.]  (SUSTAINABILITY * WORLD FUTURES * GLOBAL INSTITUTIONS)

 

*Innovations in Sustainable Agriculture: Supporting Climate-Friendly Food Production.  Danielle Nierenberg and Laura Reynolds (both, Worldwatch Institute).  Worldwatch Report 188.  Washington: Worldwatch Institute, 2012, 33p. (available at www.worldwatch.org).  The IPCC forecasts that Earth’s average surface air temperature could rise by 0.69 degrees C by 2030, 1.8 degrees by 2065, and as much as 6.4 degrees by 2099.  “This warming, along with other climate-related shifts, including rising sea levels, drought, and ocean acidification, will make food production in the 21st century even more unpredictable, uncertain, and difficult.” (p.5)  At the same time, agriculture is a major driver of human-caused climate change, contributing 25-30% of global GHG emissions.  Sustainable agriculture, however, holds an important key to mitigating climate change.  Through a variety of approaches, the global agricultural sector could potentially reduce and remove 80-88% of the CO2 that it currently produces.  Six sustainable approaches are discussed: 1) Building Soil Fertility (through a variety of techniques that organically rebuild dry or lifeless soils, as an alternative to heavy chemical use and unnecessary tilling); 2) Agroforestry (growing trees on farmland to reduce erosion, remove CO2 from the atmosphere, provide shade for livestock and some crops, and keep soil healthier); 3) Urban Farming (to mitigate GHG emissions from transport and storage of food for urban populations, to increase food security, and to make urban landscapes more resilient to flooding while improving aesthetic value); 4) Green Manure/Cover Cropping (serves as a critical deterrent against pests and diseases; cover crops also fix nitrogen into the soil); 5) Improving Water Conservation and Recycling (use of precise techniques like drip irrigation also save energy); 6) Preserving Biodiversity and Indigenous Breeds (reduces overreliance on a small number of commodity crops that re vulnerable to global markets).  These practices “all help to make farmland, farmers, and entire communities more resilient to the dramatic effects of climate change,” (p.6) while also mitigating overall climate change.  Many of these practices are inexpensive to adopt, and are especially appropriate for smallholder farmers, who currently produce half of the world’s food.  [NOTE: A nice, compact statement.]  (FOOD/AGRICULTURE * CLIMATE CHANGE * SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE)

 

*Nanotechnology for a Sustainable World: Global Artificial Photosynthesis as Nanotechnology’s Moral Culmination. Thomas Faunce (Australian National U).  Northampton MA: Edward Elgar, June 2012, 232p, $110. Does humanity have a moral obligation to emphasize nanotechnology’s role in addressing the critical public health and environmental problems of our age? Faunce analyzes prospects for a macroscience nanotechnology-for-environmental- sustainability project in areas such as food, water, energy supply, medicine, health care, peace and security.  Also considers some of the key scientific and governance challenges such a global project may face. The moral culmination of nanotechnology is a Global Artificial Photosynthesis project: “the symmetric patterns of energy-creating photosynthesis, life and us are shaping not only the nanotechnological advances of artificial photosynthesis, but also the ethical and legal norms likely to best govern such scientific achievements to form a sustainable existence on this planet.” (NANOTECHNOLOGY FOR SUSTAINABILITY * GLOBAL ARTIFICIAL PHOTOSYNTHESIS PROJECT? *   SUSTAINABILITY * SCIENCE/TECHNOLOGY)

 

**The World's Greenest Buildings: Promise Versus Performance in Sustainable Design.  Jerry Yudelson (principal, Yudelson Associates, Tucson, AZ, www.greenbuildconsult.com) and Ulf Meyer (Kansas State U  and U of Nebraska). NY: Routledge, Jan 2013, 264p, $45.95pb (also as e-book). The authors examined hundreds of the highest-rated large green buildings from around the world and asked their owners to supply one simple thing: actual performance data, to demonstrate their claims to sustainable operations. Contents include: 1) an overview of the rating systems, showing "best in class" building performance in North America, Europe, the Middle East, India, China, Australia, and the Asia-Pacific region; 2) practical examples of best practices for greening both new and existing buildings; 3) a practical reference for how green buildings actually perform at the highest level, one that goes step-by-step through many different design solutions; 4) a wealth of exemplary case studies of successful green building projects using actual performance data from which to learn; 5) interviews with architects, engineers, building owners and developers, and industry experts, to provide added insight into the greening process. The guide uncovers some of the pitfalls that lie ahead for sustainable design, and points the way toward much faster progress in the decade ahead. (CITIES * GREEN BUILDING * SUSTAINABLE BUILDING DESIGN)

 

Reconstructing Sustainability Science: Knowledge and Action for a Sustainable Future.  Thaddeus Miller (Asst Prof of Urban Civic Ecology and Sustainable Communities, Portland State U).  NY: Earthscan/Routledge, Dec 2013, 208p, $42.95pb (also as e-book). Sustainability Science is an interdisciplinary, problem-driven field that seeks to address fundamental questions on human-environment interactions; it is also a "science of design"—that is, a normative science of what ought to be in order to achieve certain goals—rather than a science of what is. Miller draws upon interviews of 30 prominent sustainability scientists to address the three main questions: 1) how researchers in the emerging field of sustainability science are attempting to define sustainability, 2) how they establish research agendas, and 3) how they link the knowledge they produce to societal action. Case studies of innovative sustainability research centers are included.   (SUSTAINABILITY * SCIENCE OF SUSTAINABILITY * NORMATIVE  SCIENCE)

 

*Crisis of Global Sustainability (Global Institutions Series). Tapio Kanninen (Senior Research Fellow, Institute for International Studies, CUNY Graduate Center;  Co-Director, Project on Sustainable Global Governance). NY: Routledge, Feb 2013, 188p, $29.95pb (also as e-book).  The text provides for the first time a compact insider description of the evolution and impact of the Club of Rome, a global think tank that produced a groundbreaking 1972 study "The Limits to Growth" which highlighted the dangers of unrestrained economic growth and possible collapse of global economy during the first decades of the 21st century. With recent research confirming the validity of these concerns, Kanninen asks whether our overarching concept of thinking on world development today should continue to be "global sustainability", which implies that we still have enough time to make adjustments in our future policies and action. Or should the main paradigm of our thinking shift to "global survivability," a concept that stresses the absolute necessity of immediate and drastic change both in institutions and policies? Many environmentalists, green politicians and think tanks are speaking today more loudly than ever about the necessity for a major policy, institutional and paradigm change.  Can it happen?  (DEVELOPMENT * SUSTAINABILITY * GLOBAL SURVIVABILITY * CLUB OF ROME * LIMITS TO GROWTH)

 

*Critiquing Sustainability, Changing Philosophy. Jenneth Parker (Visiting Fellow, Graduate School of Education, U of Bristol, UK).  NY: Earthscan/Routledge, Nov 2013, 224p, $145 (also as e-book). To increasing numbers of people, sustainability is the key challenge of the 21st century. In the many fields where it is a goal, persistent problems obstruct the efforts of those trying to make a difference. The ways in which we conceptualize sustainability may contribute to, or alternately undermine vital projects. Using a critical realist approach, the defining aspects of sustainability are identified in order to propose a criterion of adequacy for any project, initiative or policy. Includes: 1) consideration of basic theoretical questions, as well as a critical introduction linking theory and practice; 2) key issues drawn from a wide range of different global regions; 3) the practical, political and ideological outcomes of the ways in which we frame and conceptualize sustainability (using real world examples); 4) a focus on the experiences and initiatives of the movements involved. Issues addressed: climate change initiatives and policies; new economics attempts to re-frame development for sustainability; the bio-fuels and food dilemma; social policy and rising inequality; poverty increases due to environmental degradation; renewed emphasis on leadership for sustainability vs. democratization; conservatism and conservation; power, knowledge and sustainability in social movements; approaches to reform or dissolution of capitalism. (SUSTAINABILITY * ENVIRONMENTAL POLITICS)

 

*The Climate Bonus: Co-benefits of Climate Policy. Alison Smith (UK environmental policy consultant, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change).   NY: Earthscan/Routledge, Jan 2013, $59.95pb (also as e-book). We urgently need to transform to a low carbon society, yet our progress is painfully slow, in part because there is widespread public concern that this will require sacrifice and high costs. But this need not be the case. Many carbon reduction policies provide a range of additional benefits (reduced air pollution, increased energy security, financial savings, healthier lifestyles), that can offset the costs of climate action. Smith  shows how low carbon policies can lead to cleaner air and water, conservation of forests, more sustainable agriculture, less waste, safer and more secure energy, cost savings for households and businesses, and a stronger and more stable economy.  Offers recommendations for policy-makers and all those with an interest in making a healthier and happier society. Instead of being paralyzed by the threat of climate change, we can use it as a stimulus to escape from our dependence on polluting fossil fuels, and make the transition to a cleaner, safer and more sustainable future. (CLIMATE CHANGE * ENERGY * LOW-CARBON SOCIETY: BENEFITS/COSTS)

 

* OECD Environmental Performance Reviews: Germany 2012OECD. Paris: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, May 2012, 162p, $49 (e-book). Over the last decade, Germany has continued to promote ambitious environmental policies. While experiencing robust economic growth during most of the 2000s, Germany has made further progress in reducing the carbon, energy, and resource intensities of its economy, bringing down emissions of air pollutants and greenhouse gases, and improving waste and water management. In some areas, such as water and air quality and biodiversity, progress has nevertheless not been sufficient to reach domestic and international objectives. Overall, Germany’s environmental policies enjoy strong public support, and citizens are relatively satisfied with their environmental quality of life. Key developments: 1) there has been a shift from sector-specific to more comprehensive and cross-cutting policies, including development of a National Sustainable Development Strategy and important initiatives on biodiversity, climate change, energy and resource efficiency; 2) Germany used taxation policy to pursue environmental objectives, and made progress in removing fiscal incentives that can encourage environmentally harmful activities; 3) Germany’s environmental innovation performance has been supported by a strong national innovation framework, a broad industrial base, a high level of participation in international trade, and strict environmental regulations; and 4) Germany managed to considerably reduce domestic greenhouse gas emissions over the 2000s and will meet its target under the Kyoto Protocol exclusively through domestic measures. [Note: OECD Environmental Performance Reviews seek to improve governments’ environmental performance, individually and collectively; it is supported by a broad range of economic and environmental data and covers all OECD member countries, and selected partner countries.] (ENVIRONMENTAL GOVERNANCE * SUSTAINABILITY * GREEN GROWTH * GERMANY)

 

**Money and Sustainability: The Missing Link.   Bernard Lietaer (Research Fellow, U of California-Berkeley; formerly at Central Bank of Belgium and Gaia Hedge Funds), Christian Arnsperger (Prof of Economics, U Catholique de Louvain), Sally Goerner (Triangle Center for the Study of Complex Systems), and Stefan Brunnhuber (Vice-Chair, European Institute of Medicine, Club of Rome Austrian Chapter).  Devon UK: Triarchy Press, June 2012, 211p, $25pb.  (www.money-sustainability.net).  A Report from the Club of Rome-EU Chapter to Finance Watch and the World Business Academy, arguing that “the current money system is both a crucial part of the overall sustainability problem and a vital part of any solution.”  The money system is the “Missing Link” between finance and the environment.  This Report demonstrates a structural monetary flaw in the very manner in which we create money.  We suffer from a three-layered collective blind spot: 1) the hegemony of the idea of a single, central currency in any society; 2) the 20th century ideological warfare between capitalism and communism (what they have in common, however, is imposition of a single national currency monopoly created through bank debt); 3) creation of central banks as enforcers of the monetary monopoly.  We thus have “a worldwide monetary monoculture in which the same type of exchange medium is put into circulation in every country.”  This tends to spawn a brittle and unsustainable system, amplifies boom and bust cycles, leads to short-term thinking by discounting future costs, concentrates wealth, and devalues social capital.  The structural solution to give sustainability a chance is to diversify the available exchange media and the agents that create them—to create a monetary ecosystem.  Nine examples of public and private alternative currencies are provided, which can work in parallel with conventional bank-debt money, e.g.: wellness tokens, natural savings backed by living trees, the C3 Business-to-Business system, the Trade Reference Currency (a global B2B proposal encouraging long-term thinking), and the Europe-wide system of ECOs to fund ecological projects).  Concludes that we must usher in a new age of monetary and society experimentation, with thinking outside the box as the new common sense.  A monetary ecology calls for a new mode of economic governance that allows two types of economy to peacefully coexist: the mainstream economy that uses conventional money and a cooperative economy that allows regions, cities, neighborhoods and NGOs to develop the full potential of their projects without need to depend on bank-debt currency. (ECONOMY * SUSTAINABILITY * MONEY AND SUSTAINABILITY)

* Ready for Anything: Designing Resilience for a Transforming World.  Anthony Hodgson (Centre for Systems Studies, U of Hull; founder, Decision Integrity Ltd.; World Modelling Research Coordinator, International Futures Forum).  Axminster, Devon UK: Triarchy Press, Dec 2011, 108p, $25 (Amazon Kindle edition, $9.99).  The opening chapter describes “The Global Predicament” of 7+ billion people currently using resources of about 1.5 Earths to support our collective lifestyle.  How can we understand and think creatively about the interconnected problems that we face (“The Mess”) without getting overwhelmed by complexity and uncertainty?  Hodgson offers The World System Model and a practical application (The IFF World Game) that have helped many different groups to ask the right questions and generate their own resilient and adaptive.  The model encompasses 12 interconnected categories: Worldview, Wellbeing, Food, Trade, Energy, Climate, Biosphere, Water, Habitat, Wealth, Governance, and Community.  Case studies show how the model has been used in eight different situations, from a national economics research council to a city school, to find sustainable ways of “one-planet living.” (WORLD FUTURES * IFF WORLD GAME * WORLD SYSTEM MODEL * RESILIENCE * SUSTAINABILITY * METHODS)

* People Money: The Promise of Regional CurrenciesMargrit Kennedy (former Prof, U of Hanover), Bernard Lietaer (research fellow, UC-Berkeley; former Central Bank of Belgium), and John Rogers (co-founder, Wales Institute for Community Currencies, U of Newport).  Axminster, Devon, UK: Triarchy Press, July 2012, 200p, $30pb.  In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, vast number of people have had their livelihoods stripped away, and the future looks bleak for many of them.  The growth vs. austerity options under consideration do little to help stabilize the financial sector, which has seen 145 banking crises and 208 monetary crashes in the last 40 years, according to the IMF.  The authors show how regional currencies can transform the lives and well-being of local communities, how they can sustain businesses, and how local authorities can participate in their success.  Communities are full of underused resources, and regional currencies mobilize these resources without burdening taxpayers, and without risk of financial meltdown.  By reinventing money, these currencies value skills, harness volunteers more effectively, support learning and skill-sharing, and meet the demand for care of the elderly.  A regional currency should be win-win for all participants, transparent to users, democratically governed, and sustainably financed.  The authors provide a framework of five phases for currency designers to work with, as concerns cost recovery, management structure, appropriate governance, marketing strategy, and training needs.  [NOTE: Kennedy is author of Free Money (1987; translated into 23 languages) and Occupy Money: Creating an Economy Where Everybody Wins (Oct 2012), and has been instrumental for the start-up of >60 regional currency initiatives in German-speaking parts of Europe.  Rogers ran a local exchange system in Wales for 10 years.  Lietaer, former general manager of Gaia Hedge Funds, is the author of 15 books on monetary and financial issues, including Money and Sustainability: The Missing Link (Triarchy Press, June 2012), a report from the Club of Rome—EU Chapter to Finance Watch and the World Business Academy), which provides a more detailed analysis of the principles behind alternative currencies.]   (ECONOMY * MONEY * REGIONAL CURRENCIES * WORK * SUSTAINABILITY)

* Crisis, Innovation and Sustainable Development: The Ecological Opportunity.  Edited by Blandine Laperche (Clersé CNRS U Lille Nord de France; affiliated Prof, Wesford Business School), Nadine Levratto (EconomiX, CNRS, U Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense; and affiliated Prof, Euromed Management) and Dimitri Uzunidis (Clersé CNRS U Lille Nord de France). Northampton MA: Edward Elgar, April 2012, 352p, $150 (on-line price $135). A genuine greening of the economy draws on both theoretical and practical aspects and cannot be achieved by companies alone, but can only be the result of different kinds of innovation (technological, organizational, institutional and lifestyle changes), which must be implemented at all levels, from the firm to international governance. The authors study the strength of change for building a new society, and the theoretical origins and political aspects of environmental concerns to sketch the outlines of a global governance system seeking to promote sustainable development. Written from a multidisciplinary perspective, the volume contributes to the economics of innovation, environmental economics and political economy, and policy studies. (DEVELOPMENT * SUSTAINABILITY * GREEN ECONOMIES * INNOVATION)

 

** Money and Sustainability: The Missing Link.   Bernard Lietaer (Research Fellow, U of California-Berkeley; formerly at Central Bank of Belgium and Gaia Hedge Funds), Christian Arnsperger (Prof of Economics, U Catholique de Louvain), Sally Goerner (Triangle Center for the Study of Complex Systems), and Stefan Brunnhuber (Vice-Chair, European Institute of Medicine, Club of Rome Austrian Chapter).  Devon UK: Triarchy Press, June 2012, 211p, $25pb.  (www.money-sustainability.net).  A Report from the Club of Rome-EU Chapter to Finance Watch and the World Business Academy, arguing that “the current money system is both a crucial part of the overall sustainability problem and a vital part of any solution.”  The money system is the “Missing Link” between finance and the environment.  This Report demonstrates a structural monetary flaw in the very manner in which we create money.  We suffer from a three-layered collective blind spot: 1) the hegemony of the idea of a single, central currency in any society; 2) the 20th century ideological warfare between capitalism and communism (what they have in common, however, is imposition of a single national currency monopoly created through bank debt); 3) creation of central banks as enforcers of the monetary monopoly.  We thus have “a worldwide monetary monoculture in which the same type of exchange medium is put into circulation in every country.”  This tends to spawn a brittle and unsustainable system, amplifies boom and bust cycles, leads to short-term thinking by discounting future costs, concentrates wealth, and devalues social capital.  The structural solution to give sustainability a chance is to diversify the available exchange media and the agents that create them—to create a monetary ecosystem.  Nine examples of public and private alternative currencies are provided, which can work in parallel with conventional bank-debt money, e.g.: wellness tokens, natural savings backed by living trees, the C3 Business-to-Business system, the Trade Reference Currency (a global B2B proposal encouraging long-term thinking), and the Europe-wide system of ECOs to fund ecological projects).  Concludes that we must usher in a new age of monetary and society experimentation, with thinking outside the box as the new common sense.  A monetary ecology calls for a new mode of economic governance that allows two types of economy to peacefully coexist: the mainstream economy that uses conventional money and a cooperative economy that allows regions, cities, neighborhoods and NGOs to develop the full potential of their projects without need to depend on bank-debt currency. (ECONOMY * SUSTAINABILITY * MONEY AND SUSTAINABILITY)

 

* Sustainable Energy: Choosing among Options (Second Edition). Jefferson W. Tester (Prof of Sustainable Energy Systems, Cornell U), Elizabeth M. Drake (MIT Energy Initiative) and three others (all MIT). Cambridge MA: MIT Press, Oct 2012, 1,019p, $90.  How can we find energy sources that are sustainable and ways to convert and utilize energy that are more efficient? This textbook is designed for advanced undergraduate and graduate students, presenting the trade-offs and uncertainties inherent in evaluating and choosing sound energy portfolios and providing a framework for assessing policy solutions. Chapter topics: 1) sustainable energy as the engine of sustainable development; 2) estimation and evaluation of energy resources; 3) technical performance: efficiency and production rates; 4) local, regional, and global environmental effects of energy (air pollution, climate change, environmental damage, methods of environmental protection); 5) project economic evaluation (time value of money mechanics, simple payback, allowing for uncertainty, accounting for externalities; 6) energy systems and sustainability metrics; 7) energy, water, land use, and ocean use; 8) fossil fuels and fossil energy (‘nobody knows when we will run out of oil or other fossil fuels; one must always look at the cost of incremental production from a given source); 9) nuclear power (future prospects are unclear, but as global warming becomes a serious problem, keeping the nuclear power option could be important); 10) biomass energy; 11) geothermal energy (the global resource base is large and well-distributed; “the technical potential of direct-use applications for heating and cooling buildings is vast and could make a huge difference in reducing gas and oil consumption”); 12) hydropower; 13) solar energy (concentrating solar power and photovoltaic systems); 14) ocean wave, tide, current, and thermal energy conversion; 15) wind energy; 16) energy carriers (electricity, hydrogen fuel); 17) energy management (storage, transportation, distribution, ways of organizing the electric economy); 18) transportation services; 19) industrial energy usage; 20) commercial and residential buildings; 21) synergistic complex systems.  Concludes that “the sustainability approach is the only viable means” of addressing energy concerns, and over time it will provide increasingly better solutions.  The challenge is to discover and implement the right enabling measures at the right time. [NOTE: Awesomely comprehensive and thorough, although somewhat technical and dry.] (ENERGY * SUSTAINABILITY)

 

* Pricing the Planet’s Future: The Economics of Discounting in an Uncertain World. Christian Gollier (Prof of Economics, U of Toulouse; director, Toulouse School of Economics). Princeton NJ: Princeton U Press, Dec 2012, 296p, $35. Our path of economic development has generated a growing list of environmental problems, including climate change, disposal of nuclear waste, exhaustion of natural resources, loss of biodiversity, and polluted land, air, and water.  These environmental problems raise the crucial challenge of determining what we should and should not do for future generations and sustainable development. Related policy debates include the appropriate level of public debt, investment in public infrastructure and education, and the level of funding for R&D and pension benefits.  Gollier provides a simple framework to organize the debate on what we should do for the future, based on the discount rate—the minimum rate of return required from an investment project to make it desirable to implement.  He also outlines the various arguments that favor using a smaller discount rate for more distant cash flows.  (SUSTAINABILITY * DISCOUNT RATE * PUBLIC INVESMENT *   ENVIRONMENT *  PRICING RESOURCES)

 

Vision 2050: The New Agenda for Business. World Business Council for Sustainable Development.  WBCSD, Dec 2010, 80p, $15 (download in 11 languages at www.wbcsd.org/vision2050.aspx ).  Lays out a pathway leading to a global population of some 9 billion people living well, within the resources of the planet, by 2050.  This report results from an 18-month effort by CEOs and experts with >200 companies, and external stakeholders in some 20 countries.  It produced 70 measures of success and 350 milestones for the next four decades using 10 tracks: energy, buildings, mobility, materials, economy, governance, people, agriculture, forests and ecosystems/biodiversity.   It also lists 40 “must haves”: things that must happen over the coming decade to make a sustainable planetary society possible.  This includes: 1) incorporating the costs of externalities--starting with carbon, water, and ecosystem services—into the structure of the marketplace; 2) doubling agricultural output without increasing the amount of land or water used; 3) halting deforestation and doubling yields from planted forests; 4) halving 2005-level carbon emissions worldwide by 2050, by shifting to low-carbon energy systems, improved energy efficiency, and universal access to low-carbon mobility; 5) increasing re-use of materials in manufacturing by a factor of 4 to 10.  This will require great cooperation between governments, NGOs, and the private sector to deal with the “wicked problem” of sustainability.  The report is a best-case scenario, a tool for thought leadership, and a platform to begin the dialogue that must take place.  If successful, “a shift to sustainability will trigger trillions of dollars in new investments in infrastructure, technology, and human services.” [ALSO SEE “To Save the Planet, Listen to Everyone” by Robert E. Horn of Stanford U (New Scientist, 17 Dec 2011, 28-31), who participated in the WBCSD project by preparing an accompanying “info- mural” –a supersized laminated wall chart translating these ideas into visual language (available at Foresight Canada from This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ).  Horn goes on to acknowledge weaknesses of Vision 2050: failure to adequately deal with poverty and population (also human rights and failed states), no mention of oceans and displaced people, and use of the IPCC proposed  limit of 450ppm of CO2 which may require reduction to 350ppm to keep climate within tolerable limits.]     (SUSTAINABILITY * VISION 2050: WBCSD * WORLD FUTURES)

 

* Occupy World Street: A Global Roadmap for Radical Economic and Political Reform. Ross Jackson (Chairman Gaia Trust, Copenhagen, Denmark; www.ross-jackson.com).  Foreword by Hazel Henderson (Ethical Markets Media).  White River Junction VT: Chelsea Green Publishing, March 2012, 315p, $19.95pb (www.occupyworldstreet.org). An ambitious and original book by a former currency hedge fund manager, asserting that the current global structure is dysfunctional, undemocratic, and corrupt, while billions of citizens are crying out for change.  Topics include the roots of the current political/economic logjam, the assault on nature, the coming peak in global oil production, the global collapse of civilization due to increased complexity, the evolution of questionable economic beliefs, the neoliberal ideology, the recent financial crisis, and growing inequality that supports the “corporatocracy.”  A shift in values is underway, however, based on a new worldview of Gaian values and ecological economics.  To realize the vision of a sustainable and just future that works for all, eight institutions must be founded by a “Gaian League” of member nations (a trade organization, a clearing union, a development bank, a legislative congress, an administrative commission, a court of justice, a resource board, and a council of wise elders).  A “breakaway strategy” for getting there is also articulated, involving a handful of small nations from the top and the grass roots of the world from the bottom.  [For a long review, see GFB Book of the Month, Sept 2012 and GFB Update newsletter for Sept 2012 for supporting material on “New and Appropriate Economics.”] (SUSTAINABILITY * WORLD ECONOMY * WORLD GOVERNANCE * GAIAN VALUES * ECONOMICS)

 

* Anthropology and Contemporary Human Problems (6th Edition).  John H. Bodley (Regents Prof of Anthropology, Washington State U).  AltaMira Press (dist by Rowman & Littlefield), April 2012, 400p, $79pb (also as e-book). We live in a time of global mega-problems of unsustainable growth and consumption, resource depletion, ecosystem degradation, global warming, escalating energy costs, poverty, and conflict. Anthropology makes it possible to find solutions. The world is out of balance with misdirected growth by the elite. The author of Cultural Anthropology (AltaMira, 5th edition, 2011), and Victims of Progress (AltaMira, 5th edition, 2008) offers examples from prehistoric and modern tribal societies along side of ancient imperial and contemporary commercial societies. (GROWTH MISDIRECTED * WORLD FUTURES * SUSTAINABILITY * SOCIETY)

 

*The Sustainable University: Green Goals and New Challenges for Higher Education Leaders.  James Martin (Prof of English, Mount Ida College; Academic VP, The Education Alliance) and  James E. Samels (CEO and president ,The Education Alliance).  Baltimore MD: Johns Hopkins U Press, May 2012, 352p, $45 (e-book).  While almost 700 chief executive officers have signed the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, several thousand have yet to do so.  Identifies four of the most formidable challenges facing these presidents and their leadership teams, along with solutions to address them: 1) effectively institutionalizing sustainability thinking; 2) developing an efficient, flexible system of sustainability benchmarks; 3) implementing an accountable university budget mode; and 4) engaging boards of trustees in the campus sustainability agenda.  Discusses specific action plans, best practices, and emerging trends in sustainability efforts.  (HIGHER EDUCATION AND SUSTAINABILITY * SUSTAINABILITY AND HIGHER EDUCATION)

 

*Sovereign Wealth Funds and Long-Term Investing.  Edited by Patrick Bolton (Prof of Business, Columbia Business School), Frederic Samama (Head of the Steering Committee, SWF Research Initiative, Paris Dauphine U), and Joseph E. Stiglitz (University Prof, Committee on Global Thought, Columbia U; Nobel Prize winner in economics).  NY: Columbia U Press, 2011, 288p, $20pb (also as e-book).  SWFs are state-owned investment funds with combined asset holdings that are fast approaching $4 trillion; they are mainly located in developing countries, tied to energy and commodities exports, carry virtually no liabilities and have little redemption risk, which allows them to take a longer-term investment outlook than most institutional investors.  Addresses questions such as 1) the opportunities for SWF as long-term investments; 2) how they fulfill their socially responsible mission; and 3) their role in fostering sustainable development and greater financial stability.       (WORLD ECONOMY * SOVEREIGN WEALTH FUNDS * SUSTAINABILITY)

 

* Inclusive Wealth Report 2012: Measuring Progress Toward Sustainability.  UNU International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change (Partha Dasgupta, IWR Science Advisor; Prof Emeritus of Economics, Cambridge U).  Cambridge UK: Cambridge U Press, July 2012, 336p (www.ihdp.unu.edu/article/iwr) .  Introduces the Inclusive Wealth Index  to measure the three kinds of assets available in an economy: physical capital (machinery, buildings, infrastructure, etc.), human capital (education and skills of the population), and natural capital (agricultural land, forests, fisheries, fossil fuels, and minerals).  Of 20 countries assessed, Japan had the highest inclusive wealth per person, followed by the US, Canada, Norway, Australia, Germany, Britain, and France.  Among the 20 countries, 14 had positive IWI growth rates in the 1990-2008 period, led by China at 2.1%, Germany at 1.8%, France at 1.4%, four nations at 0.9% (Japan, UK, Brazil, and India), the US at 0.7%, Canada at 0.4%, Australia at 0.1%, and Kenya at 0.06%.  Six nations had negative growth rates: Colombia, Nigeria, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, and Venezuela  (primarily due to high population growth, except in Russia).  Of the 20 countries assessed, Japan was the only one with growth in natural capital, due to increased forest cover.  “Human capital has increased in every country, being the primary capital form that offsets the decline in natural capital in most economies.” Recommendations: 1) many countries should build up investments in renewable natural capital (e.g. reforestation, agro-biodiversity landscapes, and seascapes); 2) countries should embed the IWI in their macroeconomic planning, alongside common indicators like GDP (which is inadequate and misleading as a measure of economic growth); 3) “governments should shift from an income-based accounting framework to a wealth accounting framework”; 4) governments should move away from GDP per capita, and evaluate policies based on contributions to inclusive wealth; 5) research programs should be established “for valuing key components of natural capital, particularly ecosystem services.” (much work must still be done to make natural capital accounts fully operational so that they become mainstream instruments in policymaking).  [NOTE: An important step forward in moving away from the misleading GDP measure of progress, although the many critics of GDP may still find various faults with IWI.] (INCLUSIVE WEALTH INDEX * ECONOMY * SUSTAINABILITY)
* The ZeronautsJohn Elkington (London).  NY: Routledge, April 2012, 256p, $35.95.  Founder of SustainAbility and Volans, and author of The Triple Bottom Line and other books on corporate social responsibility, showcases pioneers who are at the cutting edge of the global sustainability movement and novel ways to create wealth in tune with the 21st century reality of a human population pushing towards 10 billion people by mid-century and with key elements of the planet’s biosphere already coming apart at the seams.  Introduces the emerging disciplines of zero-impact design, engineering and management through the personal experiences and reflections of the leading practitioners putting us on a path to a “zero impact economy” of Zero Risk, Zero Emissions, Zero Pollution and Waste, Zero Biodiversity Loss, and Zero Population Growth.  Shares the lessons learned from scores of people worldwide who are helping to define the scale of the challenges our species now faces and, crucially, developing and deploying at scale some of the solutions that will provide the
building-blocks of tomorrow’s economies and the foundations for some of the future’s greatest fortunes. (SUSTAINABILITY * ZERO IMPACT ECONOMY * “ZERONAUT” PIONEERS)

 

 

* State of the World 2012: Creating Sustainable ProsperityThe Worldwatch Institute.  Washington DC: Island Press, April 2012, 256p, $21.95pb (also as e-book).  Offers a new perspective on what changes and policies will be necessary to make sustainability a permanent feature of the world’s economies.  This edition celebrates the 20th anniversary of the 1992 Earth Summit with an analysis of progress toward building sustainable economies.  (For a long review, see GFB Book of the Month, April 2012.) (SUSTAINABILITY * SUSTAINABLE PROSPERITY * ECONOMY AND SUSTAINABILITY)

 

* Fostering Innovation for Green Growth (OECD Green Growth Studies).  Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.  Paris: OECD, Sept 2011, 126p.  Green growth means fostering economic growth and development while ensuring that natural assets continue to provide the resources and environmental services on which our well-being relies. Increasing concern about the future sustainability of economic growth patterns underpin the demand for a greener model of growth. Innovation is the key in enabling green and growth to go hand in hand. Examines the role of innovation in green growth strategies, why innovation is important for green growth, what types of innovation are important, how green innovation could affect growth performance, the appropriate mix of policies for green innovation, and the current state of green innovation.  Considers available indicators on green innovation (such as patenting, venture capital, and financing), as well as available information on non-technological innovation and development of green business models. 
(GREEN GROWTH: OECD * INNOVATION FOR GREEN GROWTH * SUSTAINABILITY)
 
* State of the World 2012: Creating Sustainable ProsperityWorldwatch Institute (www.worldwatch.org).  NY: W. W. Norton, Jan 2012, 272p, $19.95.  The 20th annual report issued by the Worldwatch Institute, one of the major environmental think tanks in the world, analyzes progress toward building sustainable economies and offers a new perspective on what changes are necessary to make sustainability a permanent feature of the world’s economies.  (SUSTAINABILITY * ECONOMY)
 
* The Vegetarian Imperative.  Anand M. Saxena (biophysicist, Brookhaven National Laboratory).  Baltimore MD: Johns Hopkins U Press, Oct 2011, 240p, $24.95.  The burgeoning population and increasing preference for meat in all parts of the world are stretching planetary resources beyond their limits, while the huge livestock industry is degrading the agricultural land and polluting air and water.  Also, out appetite for animal-based foods contributes directly to high rates of chronic diseases.  Recommends a much-needed shift to a diet of properly chosen plant-based foods. 
(HEALTH * SUSTAINABILITY * VEGETARIAN IMPERATIVE)
  
* Towards a Sustainable AsiaAssociation of Academies of Sciences in Asia.  NY: Springer and Science Press China, Sept 2011, $539.  The AASA, established in 2000, comprises 26 member academies.  It seeks to provide a forum for discussing all issues relevant to science and technology development, and its application on national level within Asia.  The “Sustainable Development in Asia” series encompasses a synthesis report, “Green Transition and Innovation” (178p, 2011, $139), and four thematic reports on “Natural Resources” (Aug 2011, 80p, $139), “Energy” (Sept 2011, 56p, $139), “Environment and Climate Change” (Sept 2011, 106p, $139), and “Cultural Resources” (Sept 2011, 96p, $139).  With best practice guidelines, this series addresses common challenges and regional problems in regard to natural resource use, pollution reduction, population increase, sustainable energy development, ecological restoration, water shortages, and innovations for environment-friendly and culture-compatible agriculture.  [ALSO SEE the four-volume Japan-based “Sustainability Science” series from United Nations U Press.]                                                                               (ENVIRONMENT: ASIAN ISSUES * SUSTAINABILITY * ASIA: SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT * ENERGY IN ASIA)
 
* Sustainability Science: A Multidisciplinary Approach (Sustainability Science series).  Edited by Hiroshi Komiyama, Kazuhiko Takeuchi, Hideaki Shiroyama, and Takashi Mino.  Tokyo & NY:  United Nations U Press, March 2011, 488p, $37pb.  Sustainability science has emerged in response to threats to the sustainability of the global environment.  This new academic discipline demands a realignment of the existing ones.  Whereas academia has moved inexorably in the direction of fragmentation into discrete fields of in-depth specialization, sustainability science seeks comprehensive, integrated solutions to complex problems and therefore requires a restructuring of education and research that spans multiple disciplines.  Offers approaches to the development of a transdisciplinary perspective that embraces the natural, social, and human sciences in the quest for a sustainable society.                                                                (SUSTAINABILITY * SUSTAINABILITY SCIENCE)
 
* Climate Change and Global Sustainability: A Holistic Approach (Sustainability Science series).  Edited by Akimasa Sumi, Nobuo Mimura and Toshihiko Masui.  Tokyo & NY:  United Nations U Press, Jan 2011, 325p, $35pb.  Maps the knowledge about global warming; discusses its risks; reviews related policy concerns (impacts, adaptation strategies, the institution of a low-carbon society); presents quality of life issues associated with the move to a low-carbon society; and  proposes a vision for the future based on three scenarios: a low carbon society, a resource-circulating society, and a society in harmony with nature.                                                             (SUSTAINABILITY * CLIMATE CHANGE)
 
* Establishing a Resource-Circulating Society in Asia: Challenges and Opportunities (Sustainability Science series).  Edited by Tohru Morioka, Keisuke Hanaki and Yuichi Morigichi.  Tokyo & NY:  United Nations U Press, March 2011, 375p, $37pb.  Addresses issues associated with resource-circulating societies, with focus on Asia – whose growth is prominent both in population and economy.  Examines theories and visions pertinent to resource-circulating societies, as well as practices and initiatives at all levels, and proposes an integrative approach combining the concepts of a low-carbon and a resource-circulating society.                 (SUSTAINABILITY * RESOURCE-CIRCULATING SOCIETY)
 
* Designing Our Future: Local Perspectives on Bioproduction, Ecosystems, and Humanity (Sustainability Science series).  Edited by Mitsuru Osaki, Ademola K. Braimoh and Ken’ichi Nakagami.  Tokyo & NY:  United Nations U Press, Jan 2011, 504p, $39pb.  On the ideal of a society in harmony with nature. Examines relationships between villages and towns, their independence and access to natural renewable energy and material circulation systems, and necessary collaboration among diverse elements.  Stresses the importance of fostering local traditions and cultures, and local ways of thinking that steer toward coexistence with nature.  (SUSTAINABILITY * SOCIETY: HARMONY WITH NATURE)
 
* Report on the Green Transition Scoreboard.  Hazel Henderson, Rosalinda Sanquiche, and Timothy Jack Nash (all www.EthicalMarkets.com).  St. Augustine FL: Ethical Markets Media, Feb 2011, 26p (free online).  The Green Transition Scoreboard, created by Hazel Henderson (longtime futurist and author of The Politics of the Solar Age, Doubleday Anchor 1981), is a global tracking of private financial system for all sectors investing in green markets.  In the 2007-2010 period, $1,359 billion was invested in Renewable Energy, $282 billion in Efficiency and Green Construction, $65 billion in Cleantech (agriculture, materials, recycling, wastewater, etc.), $135 billion in Smart Grid (companies building infrastructure), and $164 billion in Corporate R&D (with thousands of R&D projects still unaccounted for).  This finding of >$2 trillion “puts global investors and countries on track to reach $10 trillion in investments by 2020.  [Note: This distinctive and heartening report will be updated every six months.]
 (SUSTAINABILITY * GREEN TRANSITION SCOREBOARD * BUSINESS: GREEN INVESTMENT)
 
* Embedded Sustainability: The Next Big Competitive AdvantageChris Laszlo (Visiting Professor, Case Western Reserve U; co-founder and managing partner, Sustainable Value Partners) and Nadya Zhexembayeva (Chair of Sustainable Development, IEDC-Bled School of Management).  Palo Alto CA: Stanford U Press, April 2011, 224p, $35.  Incorporating environmental, health, and social value into the product life cycle with no trade-off in price or quality is a requisite for every sector of the economy.  The more mainstream “green” becomes, the more it sets the standard for all businesses.  Embedded sustainability enables smart companies to create even more value for their investors, while excelling in the marketplace and meeting customers’ demands and personal standards.   
(BUSINESS * SUSTAINABILITY AND BUSINESS)
 
** Interim Report of the Green Growth Strategy — Implementing Our Commitment for a Sustainable FutureOrganisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development.  Paris: OECD Publishing, Aug 2010, 94p, free pdf (see www.oecd.org/Greengrowth).  Green growth is gaining support as a way to pursue economic growth and development, while preventing environmental degradation, biodiversity loss, and unsustainable natural resource use.  A strategic vision is necessary to ensure that governments implement the most appropriate and coherent policies in terms of economic efficiency, environmental integrity, and social equality.  Highlights preliminary findings on a number of key issues policymakers face in creating greener economies.  A 4-page update, “The Green Growth Strategy: How Can We Get to a Greener Economy?” (Nov 2010) defines green growth as mutually supportive economic and environmental policies that spur transformational change.  A Synthesis Report will be released in April-May 2011, making the case for a green growth model, new measurements of well-being, the kinds of policy packages needed to remove barriers and correct distortions, and the political economy of expected structural adjustment for both developed and developing countries.  The Strategy was mandated at a June 2009 meeting of Ministers from 34 countries.  [NOTE: A very important development.]
(SUSTAINABILITY * GREEN GROWTH STRATEGY: OECD * ECONOMIC POLICY: GREEN GROWTH)
 
* Eco-Innovation in Industry: Enabling Green Growth.  Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.  Paris: OECD, Jan 2010/278p.  Expansion of economic activity in recent decades has been accompanied by growing environmental concerns at the global scale (climate change, energy security, resource scarcity).  In response, manufacturing industries have recently shown greater interest in sustainable production and in corporate social responsibility initiatives.  Nevertheless, “the incremental progress falls far short of meeting these pressing challenges,” and improvements in efficiency in some regions have in many cases been offset by increasing consumption and growth in other regions.  Eco-innovation will be a key driver of industry efforts to tackle climate change and realize “green growth”.  It calls for faster introduction of breakthrough technologies and more systemic application of available solutions.  This book presents analysis of the first phase of the OECD Project on Sustainable Manufacturing and Eco-Innovation, with chapters on the need for new business models and eco-industrial parks, eco-innovative solutions in three sectors (autos, iron/steel, electronics), tracking performance, macro-level analysis, and diverse national strategies and overarching initiatives in 10 OECD countries (Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Japan, Sweden, Turkey, the UK and the US.  Strategies include both supply-side and demand-side measures. 
(GREEN GROWTH * SUSTAINABLE MANUFACTURING * ECO-INNOVATION IN INDUSTRY)
 
* The Changing Wealth of Nations: Lessons for Sustainable DevelopmentThe World Bank.  Washington DC: World Bank, Oct 2010/270p/$35.  Estimates comprehensive wealth – including produced, natural, and human/institutional assets – for over 100 countries. Presents wealth accounts for 1995, 2000, and 2005, permitting the first long-term assessment of global, regional, and country performance in building wealth.                           (WEALTH: NEW MEASURE * SUSTAINABILITY)
 
* Ethical Transformations for a Sustainable Future (Peace and Policy, Vol 14).  Edited by Olivier Urbain (director, Toda Institute for Global Peace and Policy Research, Honolulu) and Deva Temple (chief sustainability officer, Mana Makai Group).  Piscataway NY: Transaction Publishers, Dec 2010/157p/$39.95pb.  Observes that social, political and economic systems need to align to nature to make sure the Earth has the capacity to replenish resources and absorb wastes.  Such transformations are urgently needed and possible, if supported by a new ethics organized around three keywords: 1) Reconnecting  with the Earth and nature, as well as with each other; 2) Reframing the way in which people prioritize choices; and 3) Rethinking the mission of education and the roles of technology, and how we think about economy, business, and gender relations.
 (ETHICAL TRANSFORMATION * SUSTAINABILITY)
 
** Cents and Sustainability: Securing Our Common Future by Decoupling Economic Growth from Environmental Pressures.  Michael H. Smith (Australian National U; Co-Founder, The Natural Edge Project), Karlson ‘Charlie’ Hargroves (Director, TNEP), and Cheryl Desha (Deputy Directory, TNRP).  Intro by Jim MacNeill.  Forewords by Gro Harlem Brundtland, Rajendra Pachauri, and Jeffrey Sachs.  London & Sterling VA: Earthscan, Sept 2010/405p/$39.95.  In the 1987 Bruntland Commission report, Our Common Future, a new era of sustainable economic growth was advocated, .  New research allows a deeper understanding of how, and under what conditions, this “forceful sustainable growth” is possible.  Chapter topics: securing “Our Common Future,” decoupling explained, factors that undermine or block decoupling, national strategies for decoupling, facing the unprecedented challenges of climate change, and decoupling economic growth from greenhouse gas emissions, biodiversity loss, freshwater extraction, waste production, and air pollution. [NOTE:  Sophisticated and leading edge.  Smith, Hargroves and Desha are co-authors of Factor Five (Earthscan, 2009), and Whole System Design (Earthscan, 2008).] (THE NATURAL EDGE PROJECT * SUSTAINABILITY * ECONOMIC GROWTH AND SUSTAINABILITY * ECONOMY * ENVIRONMENT)
 
* The Atlas of Global Conservation: Changes, Challenges, and Opportunities to Make a DifferenceJonathan M. Hoekstra (U of Washington; Director, Nature Conservancy Climate Change Program), Jennifer L. Molnar (Nature Conservancy), and seven others.  Berkeley, CA: U of California Press, April 2010, 248p (8x11”), $49.95.  Offers a guide to the state of the planet and our resource and environmental issues, featuring 79 maps and 220 color illustrations.  Draws on the best of data available to provide graphics paired with informative discussion of trends across world’s terrestrial, marine, and freshwater environments. Essays by international authorities outline solutions for pressing challenges. (ENVIRONMENT: GLOBAL OVERVIEW * ATLAS OF GLOBAL CONSERVATION * NATURAL RESOURCES: GLOBAL OVERVIEW *  SUSTAINABILITY)
 
* Sustainable World SourceBook: Critical Issues, Viable Solutions, Resources for ActionSustainable World Coalition (a project of Earth Island Institute).  Foreword by Paul Hawken.  Gabriola Island, BC: New Society Publishers, Nov 2009, 96p (8x11”), $11.95pb.  On sustainability-oriented individual and group action. Provides a concise overview of key sustainability issues, with successful models and examples for action.  Topics include: environmental issues, peak oil, energy conservation, the global financial crisis, economic transition, green jobs, sustainable business, food security and social justice, local and sustainable communities, engaged citizens, and green lifestyle choices.
(SUSTAINABILITY SOURCEBOOK)
 
* The Ecological Rift: Capitalism’s War on the EarthJohn Bellamy Foster (editor, Monthly Review; Prof of Sociology, U of Oregon), Brett Clark (Asst Prof of Sociology, North Caroline U), and Richard York (Assoc Prof of Sociology, U of Oregon).  NY: Monthly Review Press (dist. NYU Press), Aug 2010, 352p, $17.95pb.  All ecosystems worldwide are now in decline, and humanity in the 21C is facing its ultimate environmental catastrophe.  The source of our ecological crisis lies in the capitalist paradox of wealth, which expands individual riches at the expense of public wealth, including the wealth of nature.  A huge ecological rift is thus driven between humanity and nature.  Fundamental changes in social relations must occur before transcending the current ecological and social problems facing us.  Reasons for revolutionary hope are offered.                            (CAPITALISM AND SUSTAINABILITY * ENVIRONMENT AND CAPITALISM * CLIMATE CHANGE AND   CAPITALISM * SUSTAINABILITY)
 
** Sustainability Science: A Multidisciplinary Approach (Sustainability Science, 1 of 5).  Edited by Hiroshi Komiyama (President Emeritus, U of Tokyo), Kazuhiko Takeuchi (Prof of Life Sciences, U of Tokyo), Hideaki Shiroyama (Prof of Law/Politics, U of Tokyo), and Takashi Mino (Prof, Graduate School of Frontier Sciences, U of Tokyo).  Tokyo & NY: United Nations U Press, Aug 2010, 375p, $37pb.  On “a new academic discipline” that seeks to help build a sustainable society by developing solutions to climate change, the exhaustion of resources, ecological destruction, etc.   In contrast to widespread fragmentation and specialization of academia, it seeks “comprehensive, integrated solutions to complex problems,” restructures education and research, and spans the natural, social, and human sciences.  Discusses building a new discipline, positioning and connecting between existing sciences, tools and methods, redefining existing academic disciplines, education for sustainability science, and building a global meta-network.            (SUSTAINABILITY SCIENCE SERIES * SCIENCE AND SUSTAINABILITY) 
 
*Achieving Global Sustainability: Policy Recommendations (Sustainability Science, 5 of 5).  Edited by Takamitsu Sawa (Adviser, Kyoto Sustainability Initiative), Susumu Iai (Director, Kyoto Sustainability Initiative), and Seiji Ikkatai (Prof of Economics, Kyoto U).  Tokyo & NY: United Nations U Press, Aug 2010, 375p, $37pb.  “The problem of global sustainability is indisputably the most serious issue facing humanity today.”  Solving this difficult problem requires a drastic redesign of society in all aspects—technological, economic, and social. Advocates paradigm shifts in both economic growth and socioeconomic development, in terms of social common capital, contemporary social discipline, and economic valuation of the environment.  Presents climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies (the latter with a focus on technology), and recommends a “Green New Deal” leading to a low-carbon society by 2050.
(CLIMATE CHANGE * SUSTAINABILITY* LOW CARBON SOCIETY * “GREEN NEW DEAL”)
 
* Whole Earth Discipline: An Ecopragmatist Manifesto.  Stewart Brand (Sausalito CA).  NY: Viking, Dec 2009/316p/$25.95.  Founder of The Whole Earth Catalog views climate change as the single largest threat to humanity.  A carbon-free future is needed, with rapid deployment of a new generation of nuclear power plants as the leading component of a green energy plan.  Other key ideas: 1) large-scale geoengineering is now imperative because it is too late to completely prevent or mitigate climate change; 2) booming megacities facilitate beneficial arrangements between humans and the environment (e.g., allowing half of humanity to live in 2.8% of the land); 3) urban slums (“squatter cities”), home to more than half of city dwellers, are the new sustainable communities pioneering in urban farming; 4) GM crops must be embraced so as to reduce pesticide and water use; 5) “open-source biotech” is needed to develop non-patent-protected seeds.                              (CLIMATE CHANGE * SUSTAINABILITY * NUCLEAR ENERGY * MEGACITIES * SQUATTER CITIES * GM CROPS * GEOENGINEERING)
 
* Urbanism in the Age of Climate Change.  Peter Calthorpe (Berkeley CA; Congress for New Urbanism).  Washington: Island Press, July 2010/225p/$49.50.  A leader of the New Urbanism movement argues for sustainable development that combines good urbanism with renewable energy, energy conservation, smart grids, climate-responsive buildings, electric cars, next-generation transit systems, and integrated services and utilities.                                         (CITIES * SUSTAINABILITY)
 
* Sustainability by Design: A Subversive Strategy for Transforming Our Consumer Culture.    John R. Ehrenfeld (www.johnehrenfeld.com; director, Int’l Society for Industrial Ecology; Senior Research Scholar, Yale School of Forestry). Yale U Press, Aug 2009/272p/$17pb (hc Feb 2008/$28). Former director of the MIT Program on Technology, Business, and Environment argues that eco-efficiency and corporate social responsibility are band-aids, discusses consumption as addiction and adaptive government, and proposes a new definition of sustainability as the possibility that humans and other life will flourish on Earth forever.                                     (SUSTAINABILITY * CONSUMPTION)
 
* Treasures of the Earth: Need, Greed, and a Sustainable Future. Saleem H. Ali (Assoc Prof of Env. Studies, U of Vermont). Yale U Press, Oct 2009/320p/$30. A natural history of consumption and materialism, arguing that simply disavowing consumption of materials is not likely to help in planning for a resource-scarce future. Rather, a new environmental paradigm is proposed that accepts our need to consume “treasure” responsibly but warns of our concomitant need to conserve, to distinguish between needs and wants, and to alleviate global poverty. (SUSTAINABILITY * CONSUMPTION * RESOURCES)
 
* Bringing in the Future: Strategies for Farsightedness and Sustainability in Developing Countries. William Ascher (Prof of Govt and Economics, Claremont McKenna College). U of Chicago Press, April 2009/288p/$27.50pb.  On strategies to overcome powerful obstacles to long-term planning in developing countries, such as creation and scheduling of tangible and intangible rewards, cognitive exercises to understand long-term consequences, and restructuring policy-making processes.
(DEVELOPMENT * LONG-TERM PLANNING)
 
* The New Economics: A Bigger Picture. David Boyle and Andrew Simms (both New Economics Foundation, London). London & Sterling VA: Earthscan, Oct 2009/160p/$24.95. A new economics derived from Ruskin and Schumacher, turning assumptions about wealth and poverty upside down: real wealth can be measured by increased well-being and environmental sustainability, rather than consuming more things.                                 (ENVIRONMENT * SUSTAINABILITY * ECONOMICS)
 
* Ecological Economics: Principles and Applications (Second Edition). Herman F. Daly (Prof of Economics, U of Maryland) and Joshua Farley (Gund Institute for Ecological Economics, U of Vermont). Washington: Island Press, Oct 2009/488p/$50. An introductory-level textbook designed to address the significant flaw in conventional economics that excludes biophysical and social systems, thus ignoring many costs. The interdisciplinary framework embraces linkages between economic growth, environmental degradation, and social inequity. (First published in Jan 2004/454p).
(ENVIRONMENT * ECONOMICS)
 
* Toward Sustainable Communities: Transition and Transformations in Environmental Policy (Second Edition). Edited by Daniel A. Mazmanian (Center on Governance and the Public Enterprise, USC) and Michael E. Kraft (Prof of Env. Studies, U of Wisconsin-Green Bay). Cambridge: MIT Press, May 2009/352p/$25pb. On the array of laws, programs, and approaches developed over the last four decades at the regional and state levels, their strengths and weaknesses, and the various meanings of sustainability.                                                                                       (CITIES * SUSTAINABILITY)

* Resilient People, Resilient Planet: A Future Worth Choosing.  Report of the United Nations Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Global Sustainability.  NY: United Nations, 30 Jan 2012, 94p (download full report or 22p Overview at www.un.org/gsp).   A reaffirmation of Our Common Future, the 1987 “Brundtland Report” of the World Commission on Environment and Development, asserting that it is “more urgent than ever” to take action that embraces the principles of sustainable development.  The long-term vision is to end poverty, reduce inequality, make production and consumption more sustainable, and combat climate change.  The Panel presents 56 recommendations to empower people to make sustainable choices, transform the global economy with price signals that value sustainability (including creation of a Sustainable Development Index or similar set of indicators by 2014), and to strengthen institutional governance (including a set of universal SD goals to galvanize action and complement the MDGs in a post-2015 framework.  For more details on all 56 proposals, see GFB  Book of the Month, June 2012. (SUSTAINABILITY * GLOBAL SUSTAINABILITY PANEL - U.N.)
 
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