09 September 2010

Cents and Sustainability

Written by Published in Book Reviews

This weighty tome is a collaborative response to the 1987 Brundtland Report, which called for a new era of economic growth that was both socially and environmentally sustainable.

Gro Brundtland’s imperative to sustainable development, while considering the reduction of poverty and adhering to clean and green investment may have been considered utopian then, but books such as Cents and Sustainability, or Paul Collier’s The Plundered Planet demonstrate it is a real possibility. Massively researched and meticulously put together, Cents and Sustainability is positioned to be used as a guide in the lead-up to the 2012 United Nations Earth Summit. 

The authors stress the need to disconnect, or ‘decouple’, economic growth from a wide range of environmental pressures – all of which interact with each other to amplify their negative effects. The risk of pushing ecosystems beyond their thresholds is supported by analysis of the world’s ecosystems by the UN, the World Bank and the World Resources Institute. However, factors political, social, environmental and psychological undermine or block the process and add complexities to the situation. Replete with data, graphs, tables and statistics, Cents and Sustainability follows up the messages from 1987’s Our Common Future to an audience who are, hopefully, profoundly more switched on to the challenges we face. An important publication that anyone interested in the future of the planet should have on their shelves. 

Cents and Sustainability Michael H. Smith, Karlson ‘Charlie’ Hargroves and Cheryl Desha (Earthscan) £24.99

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