Sustainability A History

ISBN-10: 0199372403
ISBN-13: 9780199372409
Edition: 2014
List price: $27.95 Buy it from $17.31
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Description: The sustainability movement didn't emerge as a distinct social, environmental, or economic ideal until as recently as the 1980s, but today its presence is felt in nearly every area of our lives. At the grocery store we shop for "sustainable foods"  More...

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Book details

List price: $27.95
Copyright year: 2014
Publisher: Oxford University Press, Incorporated
Publication date: 9/1/2014
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 336
Size: 5.75" wide x 8.50" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 1.166
Language: English

The sustainability movement didn't emerge as a distinct social, environmental, or economic ideal until as recently as the 1980s, but today its presence is felt in nearly every area of our lives. At the grocery store we shop for "sustainable foods" that were produced from "sustainable agriculture"; ministries of natural resources strive for "sustainable yields" in forestry; the United Nations has long touted "sustainable development" as a strategy for global stability; and woe be the city-dweller who doesn't aim for a "sustainable lifestyle." Although the movement can seem like a phenomenon that emerged practically overnight, in fact, the ideas that underlie sustainability can be traced back several centuries.In this lively and accessible book, Jeremy L. Caradonna approaches sustainability from a historical perspective, revealing the conditions that made possible the movement as it exists today. Sustainability has taken shape in recent decades, fueled by a growing awareness about climate change, peak oil, and the limits to economic growth. Yet Caradonna argues that very few people today have a clear understanding of the movement's historical underpinnings, or even a solid grasp on what exactly "sustainability" means--despite the ubiquity of the term. Sustainability: A Short History offers a very thorough definition of sustainability, in addition to an overview of its many applications in the 21st century--from permaculture to renewable energy to the local food movement. But crucially, Caradonna also places these developments within a historical lineage. Covering the period from the 1660s to the present day (and even the future), with particular attention placed on developments within Europe and North America, Caradonna considers the origins of sustainability across many fields. He discusses sustainable yield forestry and changing attitudes toward economics in the late 17th and 18th century; the Industrial Revolution and early critics of modernity; the birth of ecological economics and the environmental movement in the 1960s and '70s; the UN conferences of the 1980s and '90s that gave shape to sustainability and sustainable development; and the emergence of a concrete movement in the last decades of the 20th century.Ultimately, Caradonna shows that while sustainability draws upon ideas of social justice, ecological economics, and environmental conservation, it blends these ideas together into a dynamic philosophy of connected systems. By tracing the deep historical roots of the movement, Sustainability: A Short History broadens our understanding of its significance today, and shows how sustainability went from being a relatively marginal idea to being the centerpiece of international accords; a top priority for governments, corporations, and non-profit organizations; and a philosophy of hope and resilience with widespread appeal.

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