A practical, bipartisan call to action from the world's leading thinkers on the environment and sustainability
Sustainability has emerged as a global priority over the past several years. The 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change and the adoption of the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals through the United Nations have highlighted the need to address critical challenges such as the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, water shortages, and air pollution. But in the United States, partisan divides, regional disputes, and deep disagreements over core principles have made it nearly impossible to chart a course toward a sustainable future.
This timely new book, edited by celebrated scholar Daniel C. Esty, offers fresh thinking and forward-looking solutions from environmental thought leaders across the political spectrum. The book's forty essays cover such subjects as ecology, environmental justice, Big Data, public health, and climate change, all with an emphasis on sustainability. A Better Planet focuses on moving toward sustainability through actionable, bipartisan approaches based on rigorous analytical research.
Daniel C. Esty is Hillhouse Professor of Environmental Law and Policy at Yale School of the Environment and Yale Law School. He served as head of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection from 2011 to 2014 and in several leadership roles at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from 1989 to 1993.
– Axiom Award silver medal winner in the Philanthropy/Nonprofit/Sustainability category, sponsored by Axiom Business Book Awards
"Sustainability represents the overarching challenge of our day, which must be met with a commitment to a spirit of progress across the global community. A Better Planet offers an array of ideas for helping to deliver the ecological transition that is now an imperative."
– Emmanuel Macron, President of France
"A Better Planet offers new approaches to the world's most pressing environmental problems. It's a timely and urgently needed volume."
– Elizabeth Kolbert, author of The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History
"Pressing the reset button, this book brings together refreshingly new and profoundly compelling approaches to environmental policy and action in the USA and beyond."
– Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary UN Climate Change Convention 2010-2016
"A Better Planet: 40 Big Ideas for a Sustainable Future creates 40 opportunities to start accelerating the transition to a better planet today. The direction is clear; now we need to work together, at scale."
– Peter Bakker, President and CEO, World Business Council for Sustainable Development
"No one can criticize Dan Esty and his talented colleagues for not thinking big: there are ideas in this book that will appeal to anyone – and maybe a couple that will raise your hackles. It's the kind of spirited, discipline-crossing, deep-dive that will help reorient a sometimes-stale environmental debate!"
– Bill McKibben, author of Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out?
"A remarkable collection of essays by leading environmental scholars and practitioners, A Better Planet offers great wisdom and powerful practical insights into the urgent task of 'reigniting environmental progress' for the twenty-first century. Its central message about the need to think and act systemically and its compelling case studies provide invaluable insights for every reader."
– Jeffrey D. Sachs, University Professor at Columbia University, Director of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, and author of The Age of Sustainable Development
"A Better Planet offers insightful and practical solutions to the complex, multifaceted climate change challenge – and ones with potential bipartisan appeal! This book deserves consideration by anyone who cares about moving us toward a clean-energy future."
– Ryan Costello, Member of the U.S. House of Representatives, 2015-2019
"This thoughtful and challenging book sets out how we can close the talk and action gap, making it essential reading for anyone that cares about the future of our planet and humanity."
– Paul Polman, former CEO and Chairman, Unilever
"A Better Planet will leave readers inspired to reimagine the balance between responsible development today and preservation of resources for tomorrow."
– Monika U. Ehrman, University of Oklahoma College of Law
"A comprehensive overview of the case for system-wide transformation – combined with the kind of breakthrough ideas needed to make it happen – A Better Planet offers a compelling manifesto for change."
– Alan Jope, CEO of Unilever
"An important contribution to the effort to advance sustainability as a global goal."
– Angel Gurría, Secretary-General, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
"Let the debates begin! This volume launches a critical and timely dialogue on reform of environmental governance."
– Maria Ivanova, Associate Professor of Global Governance and Director of the Center for Governance and Sustainability, University of Massachusetts Boston
"A masterful summation of and reflection on past environmental efforts – and a valuable outline of principles to guide and inspire a new era of progress."
– William K. Reilly, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, 1989-1993
"Comprehensive, balanced, thought-provoking, thorough and, above all, readable! This book will become a must-have for anyone who wants to understand what has happened, and is happening, to our environment, why we should care, and what we can do about it."
– Christine Todd Whitman, Governor of New Jersey, 1994-2001, and Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, 2001-2003
"A Better Planet offers lucid, honest, wide-ranging, and diverse perspectives that strive to move us beyond political divides toward renewed actions to secure private-sector innovation, public engagement, and better policies for a better planet. Bravo!"
– Lynn Scarlett, Global Vice President of Policy, The Nature Conservancy
"At the state level – where much of the action takes place – fresh approaches and new voices are needed to address complex environmental and public health challenges. Written by some of the best minds in their fields, A Better Planet draws upon science, experience, and innovation to offer a way forward."
– Janet Coit, Director, Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management
"Here is practical hope for specific actions to support sustainability and to mitigate climate disruption. Comprehensive, accessible, and authoritative, this book makes possible a brighter planetary future."
– James Engell, Harvard University, co-editor of Environment: An Interdisciplinary Anthology
"The book provides excellent ideas"
– Financial Times (A 2019 Best Book of the Year in Economics)