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‘These are the Top 50 Sustainability Books as voted for by the
THE TOP 50 SUSTAINABILITY BOOKS
Written by Wayne Visser on behalf of the
Published 7 December 2009, 200 pp
This unique title draws together in one volume some of the best thinking to date on the pressing social and environmental challenges we face as a society. These are the Top 50 Sustainability Books as voted for by the
Many of these authors have become household names in the environmental, social and economic justice movements - from Rachel Carson, Ralph Nader and E.F. Schumacher to Vandana Shiva, Muhammad Yunus and Al Gore. Others, such as Aldo Leopold, Thomas Berry and Manfred Max-Neef, are relatively undiscovered gems, whose work should be much more widely known.
The profiled books tackle our most vexing global challenges, including globalisation (Globalization and Its Discontents, No Logo), climate change (Heat, The Economics of Climate Change) and poverty (The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, Development as Freedom). Some of these featured thought-leaders are highly critical of the status quo (e.g. David Korten, Eric Schlosser and Joel Bakan), while others suggest evolutionary ways forward (e.g. Amory Lovins, Hunter Lovins, Paul Hawken and Jonathon Porritt). Some place their faith in technological solutions (e.g. Janine Benyus, Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker), while others are upbeat about the potential of business to be a force for good (e.g. John Elkington, Ricardo Semler, William McDonough and Michael Braungart).
By featuring these and other seminal thinkers, The Top 50 Sustainability Books distils a remarkable collective intelligence - one that provides devastating evidence of the problems we face as a global society, yet also inspiring examples of innovative solutions; it explores our deepest fears and our highest hopes for the future. It is a must-read for anyone who wants to tap into the wisdom of our age.
THE TOP 50 SUSTAINABILITY BOOKS
1 A Sand
2 Silent Spring Rachel Carson (1962)
3 Unsafe At Any Speed Ralph Nader (1965)
4 The Population Bomb Paul L. Ehrlich (1968)
5 Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth R. Buckminster Fuller (1969)
6 The Limits to Growth Donella H. Meadows, Dennis L. Meadows, Jørgen Randers and William W. Behrens III (1972)
7 Small Is Beautiful E.F. Schumacher (1973)
8 Gaia James Lovelock (1979)
9 The Turning Point Fritjof Capra (1982)
10 Our Common Future ('The Brundtland Report') World Commission on Environment and Development (1987)
11 The Dream of the Earth Thomas Berry (1988)
12 A Fate Worse Than Debt Susan George (1988)
13 Staying Alive Vandana Shiva (1989)
14 Blueprint for a Green Economy David Pearce, Anil Markandya and Edward B. Barbier (1989)
15 For the Common Good Herman Daly and John B. Cobb Jr (1989)
16 Human Scale Development Manfred Max-Neef (1989)
17 Changing Course Stephan Schmidheiny and Business Council for Sustainable Development (BCSD) (1992)
18 The Ecology of Commerce Paul Hawken (1993)
19 Maverick Ricardo Semler (1993)
20 When Corporations Rule the World David C. Korten (1995)
21 Biomimicry Janine M. Benyus (1997)
22 Cannibals with Forks John Elkington (1997)
23 The Hungry Spirit Charles Handy (1997)
24 Banker to the Poor Muhammad Yunus (1998)
25 The Crisis of Global Capitalism George Soros (1998)
26 Factor Four Ernst von Weizsäcker, Amory B. Lovins and L. Hunter Lovins (1998)
27 False Dawn John Gray (1998)
28 Development as Freedom Amartya Sen (1999)
29 No Logo Naomi Klein (1999)
30 Natural Capitalism Paul Hawken, Amory B. Lovins and L. Hunter Lovins (1999)
31 Business as Unusual Anita Roddick (2000)
32 The Mystery of Capital Hernando
33 The Civil Corporation Simon Zadek (2001)
34 Fast Food Nation Eric Schlosser (2001)
35 The Skeptical Environmentalist Bjørn Lomborg (2001)
36 Cradle to Cradle William McDonough and Michael Braungart (2002)
37 Globalization and its Discontents Joseph E. Stiglitz (2002)
38 The Corporation Joel Bakan (2004)
39 Presence Peter Senge, C. Otto Scharmer, Joseph Jaworski and Betty Sue Flowers (2004)
40 The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid C.K. Prahalad (2004)
41 The River Runs white Elizabeth C. Economy (2004)
42 Capitalism as if the World Matters Jonathon Porritt (2005)
43 Capitalism at the Crossroads Stuart L. Hart (2005)
44 Collapse Jared Diamond (2005)
45 The End of Poverty Jeffrey D. Sachs (2005)
46 The Chaos Point Ervin Laszlo (2006)
47 Heat George Monbiot (2006)
48 An Inconvenient Truth Al Gore (2006)
49 When the Rivers Run Dry Fred Pearce (2006)
50 The Economics of Climate Change Nicholas Stern (2007)
Mike Peirce, Deputy Director,
FROM THE INTERVIEWS...
We're going to solve these problems: extreme poverty will end by the year 2025. That's what I said in the book and I think that's what's going to happen.
Jeffrey D. Sachs
The simple truth is that there are no companies that are sustainable in the world today; there are none. What we have are companies that are experimenting with pieces of the puzzle.
Stuart L. Hart
Negligence begins tomorrow, because now we know what to do.
One tends to forget it's not the oil companies that drive our cars; we drive them and burn the fuel. We don't have to do it, and to entirely blame industry for making a profit from selling us petrol is quite naive. The whole of society is in the game together and to single out industry for attack is quite wrong.
I always remember, on Donella Meadows' office door was a little motto which said 'Even if I knew the world would end tomorrow I'd plant a tree today.'
Dennis L. Meadows
Will our grandchildren know what a company is? ... it seems that the real institutional challenge is to create a new type of institution.
I am very sceptical about a moralistic appeal and I'm extremely sceptical about markets providing sustainable civilisation.
Ernst von Weizsäcker
I was just in
Amory B. Lovins
Environmental concern is still very much a
I think there is unfortunately no level of human suffering that causes policy to change.
Sustainability is boring. What would you say if I were to ask you about your relationship with your wife? How would you characterise it? As sustainable? If this is the bigger goal - sustainability - then I feel really sorry because it doesn't celebrate human creativity and human nature.
I think the system as a whole is structurally unsustainable. That means it has to be transformed. It can't be patched up.
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