In his third thought-provoking RMB Manifesto Peter Denton explains how we can change course toward a sustainable future in immediate and practical ways – and why it could make all the difference for ourselves and for future generations.
As individuals and as a culture and society, we have increasingly emphasized the global village over the village in which we actually live. Our preference for the faraway is at the heart of the environmental and social catastrophes that today seem utterly unavoidable. If things are going to change, there are four words of power we need to embrace: Live close to home.
If we do, if we focus on changing and improving the aspects of our lives over which we have control, the system effects of such a transformation can only be positive for ourselves, our families, our communities and the world.
Gift Ecology: Reimagining a Sustainable World (2012) explored the historical choices underlying our Machine Civilization, with its emphasis on the material world and mechanical systems, fuelled by the economics of exchange. It offered an alternative perspective, expressed in relationships and grounded in the possibilities unleashed by gifts, as the key to an ecologically sustainable society.
Technology and Sustainability (2014) looked at how values underpin all the choices we make every day about our lives, our technologies and our world. Technology is in our heads, not our hands, so we have both the power and the responsibility to make better choices, based on different values, if we are going to advance toward a sustainable future.
Live Close to Home (2016) completes the picture, arguing that in a climate-changing world, ecological and social resilience must be rooted in local communities, in our relationships with each other and with the physical place we call "home".
"Denton employs his background as an environmental advocate and ordained minister to explore responsible stewardship in the age of globalization. His gospel of living simply recalls Thoreau as he reminds readers that solutions to today's obstacles can often be found in returning to simpler ways of living, and that many elders can still share this wisdom."
– Publishers Weekly
"Live to Close to Home, the final chapter in Denton's compelling trilogy on how to create sustainable communities, is compulsory reading for all politicians, educators, auto mechanics, parents and inhabitants of this planet. This final chapter creates an historical argument and challenges us to focus on the local – on what we can influence. Denton exquisitely offers a call to action to us to change how we think, how we live, and how we care for the planet and each other. Live Close to Home dispels the myth of the global village and outdated conceptualizations of sustainability and turns current destructive paradigms on their heads. Reengaging in each other, the land, and on how we live might give our species a fighting chance in the most challenging decades that lie ahead. Denton truly provides a field book of hope in an age of despair."
– Matt Henderson, Principal, Maples Met High School
"What a stimulating book! The stories draw the message home, bringing the reader into the practical ways we can all learn to live close to home. In completing his trilogy Denton has added to the library of key books on our path toward sustainability."
– Mary Evelyn Tucker, Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology, co-author of Journey of the Universe
"Live Close to Home is much more than a book title. It is a practical guide to living in the complicated modern world, but with two targets in mind. It offers a way to both discover and lead a flourishing life, and also enriching the Earth in the process."
– John R. Ehrenfeld, author of Flourishing: A Frank Conversation about Sustainability
"This book offers a very smart account of what it might mean to live closer to home – a choice with profound ecological, economic and personal ramifications, most of them for the better. It will make you think and think hard!"
– Bill McKibben, author Deep Economy