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How will humans adapt to the physical limitations of planet Earth? The Limits to Growth addressed this grand question 40 years ago, predicting that during the first half of the 21st century the ongoing growth in the human ecological footprint would stop-either through catastrophic "overshoot and collapse," -or through well-managed "peak and decline."
So, where are we now? And what does our future look like? In the book 2052, Jorgen Randers issues a progress report and makes a forecast for the next 40 years. One of the original co-authors of The Limits to Growth, Randers asks dozens of experts to weigh in with their best predictions on how our economies, energy supplies, natural resources, climate, food, fisheries, militaries, political divisions, cities, psyches, and more will take shape in the coming decades. He then synthesizes these scenarios into a global forecast of life as we will most likely know it in the years ahead.
The good news: We will see impressive advances in resource efficiency and an increasing focus on human well-being (rather than on per capita income growth). But this change might not come as we expect. Future growth in population and gross domestic product, for instance, will be constrained in surprising ways-by rapid fertility decline as a result of increased urbanization, productivity decline as a result of social unrest, and continuing poverty among the poorest 2 billion world citizens. Runaway global warming, too, is likely.
So, how do we prepare for the years ahead? With heart, fact and wisdom, Randers guides us along a realistic path into the future and discusses what readers can do to ensure a better life for themselves and their children during the increasing turmoil of the next 40 years.
Author: Jorgen Randers
In this age of climate change, killer germs and obesity, it's easy to feel as if we've fallen out of sync with the global ecosystem. This ecological anxiety has polarized a new generation of Americans: Many are drawn to natural solutions and organic lifestyles, while others rally around high-tech development and industrial efficiencies. Author Nathanael Johnson argues that both views, when taken to extremes, can be harmful, even deadly.
Johnson, raised in the crunchy-granola epicenter of Nevada City, Calif., lovingly and rigorously scrutinizes his family's all-natural mindset, a quest that brings him into the worlds of an outlaw midwife, radical doctors, renegade farmers and one hermit forester. Along the way, he uncovers paradoxes at the heart of our ecological condition: Why, even as medicine improves, are we becoming less healthy? Why are more American women dying in childbirth? Why do we grow fatter the more we diet? Why have so many attempts to save the environment backfired?
All Natural*: *A Skeptic's Quest to Discover if the Natural Approach to Diet, Childbirth, Healing, and the Environment Really Keeps Us Healthier and Happier, the book that resulted from Johnson's explorations, is a sparklingly intelligent, wry and scrupulously reported narrative. Johnson teases fact from faith and offers a rousing and original vision for a middle ground between natural and technological solutions that will assuage frustrated environmentalists, perplexed parents and confused consumers alike.
Author: Nathanael Johnson
Rationing: It's a word-and idea-that people often loathe and fear. Health care expert Henry Aaron has compared mentioning the possibility of rationing to "shouting an obscenity in church." Yet societies ration food, water, medical care and fuel all the time, with those who can pay the most getting the most. As Nobel Prize-winning economist Amartya Sen has said, the results can be "thoroughly unequal and nasty."
In Any Way You Slice It, Stan Cox shows that rationing is not just a quaint practice restricted to World War II memoirs and 1970s gas station lines. Instead, he persuasively argues that rationing is a vital concept for our fragile present, an era of dwindling resources and environmental crises. Any Way You Slice It takes us on a fascinating search for alternative ways of apportioning life's necessities, from the goal of "fair shares for all" during wartime in the 1940s to present-day water rationing in a Mumbai slum; from the bread shops of Cairo to the struggle for fairness in American medicine and carbon rationing on Norfolk Island in the Pacific. Cox's question: Can we limit consumption while assuring everyone a fair share?
The author of Losing Our Cool, the much-debated and widely acclaimed examination of air-conditioning's many impacts, here turns his attention to the politically explosive topic of how we share our planet's resources.
Author: Stan Cox
This groundbreaking book, by former MOTHER EARTH NEWS Publisher and Editorial Director Bryan Welch, cuts through the pessimism and denial that pervade today's discussions of sustainability and invites readers to visualize a verdant and prosperous future for humanity and all the living things that share our planet. As a practical guide, it offers a process for making our current lifestyles more sustainable and inspires us to look beyond the immediate obstacles to nurture the "destination fixation" that stimulates all of humanity's greatest achievements.
In the lives and accomplishments of farmers, gardeners, inventors and entrepreneurs, Beautiful and Abundant finds a path toward a world vision we can proudly pass on to future generations – a vision that is aesthetically beautiful, economically abundant, ethically fair and irresistibly contagious.
Humanity is at a turning point. Only one species in the universe can recognize its own impact on its habitat, so far as we know, and we are that species. In the early years of the 21st century we face the definitive human challenge – sustaining our quality of life on this miraculous, but finite sphere we call Earth.
Tragically, a lot of human energy is being squandered in conflict over short-term environmental obstacles. People debate symptoms and solutions but societies persistently fail to offer positive incentives for change. To harness the full power of human imagination and community initiative we need a positive vision for humanity's future. We need a believable collective vision for the beautiful, abundant planet where our grandchildren will live.
Read what people are saying:
"Beauty is the new black. Abundance – for all! – is our North Star. Bryan Welch is a businessman who serves beauty, a rancher who champions interdependence, and a leader who recognizes the sweet spot we're looking for is at the nexus of self-reliance and sustainability." – Jay Coen Gilbert, Co-Founder, B Lab
"This is a book that invites us all to cut through the negativity of doomsday prophets and other 'progressive' thinkers. … Bryan Welch is a rare business leader who writes prose that is nuanced, eloquent and visionary. This luminous call to action will inspire you. … It happened to me." – Wanda Urbanska, author of The Heart of Simple Living: 7 Paths to a Better Life
About the author:
As a boy herding goats in rural New Mexico, Welch formed an intuition for the intricate and interdependent relationships among plants, animals and people. He's developed that intuition into the very model of a productive, balanced and sustainable life.
Before starting Ogden Publications (publishers of MOTHER EARTH NEWS, Mother Earth Living, Utne Reader and other media brands) in 1996, Welch worked at newspapers in several states. He graduated from the University of Denver and holds a master's degree from Harvard University, where he studied media policy and management at the Kennedy School of Government and Harvard Business School.
Welch serves on the board of directors of the MPA (Association of Magazine Media), the Social Venture Network and the Down Home Ranch Foundation. He and his wife, Carolyn, raise grass-fed cattle, sheep, goats and free-range chickens at the farm they call Rancho Cappuccino, which they also share with donkeys, dogs and the rogue mule, Zero.
Author: Bryan Welch
The trade gap between the United States and China is a perennial news staple. Our commonplace goods are manufactured in such far-flung places as Honduras, Mexico, and Korea. Why has the distinction "Made in America" become such a rarity? The cynics always talk about the "hard economic realities" of our times. They suggest that American manufacturing has reached the end of its road; this is the price we pay for "globalization". Alan Uke sees it differently. Buying America Back outlines his plan to turn back the tide with a grass-roots movement to promote American industry by helping American consumers have a better understanding of where their goods (and services) come from. Buying America Back emphasizes the importance of grooming a culture of self-informed consumers in the U.S.A., while reinforcing this with initiatives from the federal government. Surprising and enlightening, Buying America Back encourages us to take action to serve our part as responsible consumers and conscientious citizens. American prosperity is not a thing of the past, and this book shows us the way back!
San Diego entrepreneur Uke presents a straightforward thesis in this engaging policy proposal: consumer thirst for cheap imports has strangled U.S. manufacturing employment and stifled our economy. The manufacturing sector, which lost 5.2 million jobs from 2000 to 2010, accounts for only 10% of the economy compared with its dominant role in 1965. Uke explodes the myth of a shift to high-tech output and notes that Germany and other countries with higher labor costs than ours compete successfully with Asia. He argues convincingly that the offshore exodus of production facilities entails the loss of high-paying spinoff jobs, the departure of R&D facilities and other centers of innovation, and the erosion of service-sector jobs. The proper response, Uke plausibly argues, is not across-the-board protectionism or isolationism, but empowering the consumer by toughening disclosure of country-of-origin product data. Accurate disclosure would enable consumers to reward local producers or those with high local-product content. Uke perceptively points out that this approach is increasingly popular with food, and prevalent in many other countries. Determined consumer leadership on this issue, he maintains, could goad Congress into action and prompt corporations to revive domestic production. Uke’s refreshingly invective-free writing and hands-on manufacturing experience compel our consideration; his proposal is simple and his goals are lofty. Attention should be paid.
Author: Alan Uke
It is easy to feel overwhelmed by the urgency of global climate change. But when author Guy Dauncey assembles the world's best solutions in one place, as he does in The Climate Challenge, a vision emerges of a sustainable energy revolution. He opens the door to a century of exciting change, characterized by renewable energy, sustainable farming, carbon-rich forestry, green cities, electric vehicles, high-speed trains, a blossoming of innovation, and a host of new "green collar" jobs.
The Climate Challenge draws on working solutions from around the world, and lays out the best actions for students and scientists, musicians and mayors, policy-makers and presidents, showing how it is possible to reduce our carbon footprint to almost zero by 2040. Each solution describes steps that are already being used in homes, schools, businesses, cities, and governments around the world - with full scientific references to help the reader dig deeper and push farther.
If you worry about climate change, whether you are an enquiring teenager, a concerned householder, a farmer, forester, business leader, city mayor, or global policy-maker, this book will help you join the movement to help restore the planet's climate and build a new green economy.
About the author
Guy Dauncey is an author, speaker, and futurist who is President of the BC Sustainable Energy Association, and founder of the Solutions Project. He has authored or co-authored nine books, including the award-winning Stormy Weather, Enough Blood Shed, Cancer, and Building an Ark.
Author: GUY DAUNCEY
A compelling book about the water crisis facing the West, grounded in history and important for residents as well as readers nationwide. This narrative weaves together the stories of human folly and grandiose endeavor that shaped the states and reveal the background of the critical economic and political issue that is how water is used and misused today.
Author: Stephen Grace
Every year over 200 million peasants flock to China’s urban centers, providing a profusion of cheap labor that helps fuel the country’s staggering economic growth. Award-winning journalist Michelle Dammon Loyalka follows the trials and triumphs of eight such migrants—including a vegetable vendor, an itinerant knife sharpener, a free-spirited recycler, and a cash-strapped mother—offering an inside look at the pain, self-sacrifice, and uncertainty underlying China’s dramatic national transformation. At the heart of the book lies each person’s ability to “eat bitterness”—a term that roughly means to endure hardships, overcome difficulties, and forge ahead. These stories illustrate why China continues to advance, even as the rest of the world remains embroiled in financial turmoil. At the same time, Eating Bitterness demonstrates how dealing with the issues facing this class of people constitutes China’s most pressing domestic challenge.
Author: Michelle Loyalka
In EcoMind, Frances Moore Lappé — a giant in the environmental movement — confronts accepted wisdom of environmentalism. Drawing on the latest research from anthropology to neuroscience and her own field experience, she argues that the biggest challenge to human survival isn’t our fossil fuel dependency, melting glaciers or other calamities. Rather, it’s our faulty way of thinking about these environmental crises that robs us of power. Lappé dismantles seven common “thought traps”— from limits to growth to the failings of democracy — that believe what we now know about nature, including our own, and offers contrasting “thought leaps” that reveal our hidden power. Like her Diet for a Small Planet classic, EcoMind is challenging, controversial and empowering.
Author: Frances Moore Lappe
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Finding community is as critical as obtaining food and shelter, since the need to belong is what makes us human. The isolation and loneliness of modern life have led many people to search for deeper connection, which has resulted in a renewed interest in intentional communities. These intentional communities or ecovillages are an appealing choice for like-minded people who seek to create a family-oriented and ecologically sustainable lifestyle - a lifestyle they are unlikely to find anywhere else.
However, the notion of an intentional community can still be a tremendous leap for some - deterred perhaps by a misguided vision of eking out a hardscrabble existence with little reward. In fact, successful ecovillages thrive because of the combined skills and resources of their members.
Finding Community presents a thorough overview of ecovillages and intentional communities and offers solid advice on how to research thoroughly, visit thoughtfully, evaluate intelligently and join gracefully. Useful considerations include:
Author: DIANA LEAFE CHRISTIAN
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A vivid, geeky travelogue of a journey to meet the inventors, engineers, and young scientists helping to give birth to the world's next scientific superpower—a nation built not on conquest, oil, or minerals, but on the scientific ingenuity of its people
A vivid, geeky travelogue of a journey to meet the inventors, engineers, and young scientists helping to give birth to the world's next scientific superpower—a nation built not on conquest, oil, or minerals, but on the scientific ingenuity of its people One in six employed scientists with science or engineering doctorates in the U.S. is Asian, and by the turn of the millennium, there were claims that a third of all engineers in Silicon Valley were of Indian origin, with Indians running 750 of its tech companies. In this entertaining exploration of India's rise as a center of scientific excellence, Angela Saini delves inside the psyche of the nation's science-hungry citizens, explaining how ancient science is giving way to new, and how the technology of the wealthy are passing on to the poor. She also explores why the government of the most religious country on earth has put its faith in science and technology. Through witty first-hand reportage and penetrative analysis, she explains what this means for the rest of the world, and how a spiritual nation squares its soul with hard rationality. Full of curious, colorful characters and gripping stories, it describes India through its people—a nation of "geeks."
Author: Angela Saini
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In Getting a Grip 2, Frances Moore Lappé, author of the groundbreaking Diet for a Small Planet, speaks to everyone distressed by the state of our world. In a vibrant, intimate voice, she challenges us to re-examine outdated assumptions about who we are and how the world works. She then weaves surprising facts and stories of courage into a novel narrative of meaning and action.
Drawing on breakthroughs from neuroscience to anthropology, Lappé offers us a way of seeing possibility based not in wishful thinking but hard evidence.
Getting a Grip 2, thoroughly rewritten for this moment, shows us how reframing the very meaning of democracy, power, fear, courage and even hope itself, can free us to create the lives and the world we really want.
Lappé's startling message leaves readers feeling liberated and courageous.
Author: Frances Moore Lappé
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