To see accurate pricing, please choose your delivery country.
United States
All Shops
We're still open for business - read our Brexit and Covid-19 statements

British Wildlife

8 issues per year 84 pages per issue Subscription only

British Wildlife is the leading natural history magazine in the UK, providing essential reading for both enthusiast and professional naturalists and wildlife conservationists. Published eight times a year, British Wildlife bridges the gap between popular writing and scientific literature through a combination of long-form articles, regular columns and reports, book reviews and letters.

Subscriptions from £40 per year

Conservation Land Management

4 issues per year 44 pages per issue Subscription only

Conservation Land Management (CLM) is a quarterly magazine that is widely regarded as essential reading for all who are involved in land management for nature conservation, across the British Isles. CLM includes long-form articles, events listings, publication reviews, new product information and updates, reports of conferences and letters.

Subscriptions from £18 per year
Academic & Professional Books  Environmental & Social Studies  Economics, Politics & Policy  Sustainable Development: General

Planetary Accounting Quantifying How to Live Within Planetary Limits at Different Scales of Human Activity

By: Kate Meyer(Author), Peter Newman(Author)
278 pages, 50 colour & 50 b/w illustrations, tables
Publisher: Springer Nature
Clamouring for change is easy, quantifying what each of us needs to sacrifice to limit our environmental impact is much harder. Planetary Accounting offers a valuable roadmap and lays out the first steps how to go about this.
Planetary Accounting
Click to have a closer look
Select version
Average customer review
  • Planetary Accounting ISBN: 9789811514456 Paperback Mar 2021 Usually dispatched within 1-2 weeks
  • Planetary Accounting ISBN: 9789811514425 Hardback Mar 2020 Usually dispatched within 1-2 weeks
Selected version: £74.99
About this book Customer reviews Biography Related titles Recommended titles

About this book

This book presents a novel way to enable people, regardless of their scale of influence, to take responsibility for global environmental problems including climate change. It introduces a new framework called Planetary Accounting, which allows the Planetary Boundaries, non-negotiable limits for the environment, to be translated into limits for human activity. It shows how such limits can be broken down into chunks that can be managed at different levels (from individual and community to business and sector levels, to cities and regions), and at any level of government.

Planetary Accounting begins by summarising the science of climate change and introducing the notion of the Anthropocene – the "human age". It highlights the importance of returning to and remaining within the Planetary Boundaries but shows that we can't realistically do so unless we have a new approach to environmental accounting.

The book then outlines how Planetary Accounting furnishes this new approach by combining sustainability science, change theory, and environmental accounting to create a scalable framework for environmental management that encourages systemic and individual change. The details of the science of and our human contribution to ten critical human pressures are then presented, and the book concludes with a guide for those seeking to apply Planetary Accounting in practice.

Planetary Accounting could form the scientific underpinning of behaviour change programs, guide the development of policy and regulations, and provide both the basis for environmental laws, and the foundation of future global environmental agreements. It has been 50 years since the first views from space showed a blue planet alone in our solar system. This book is a historic opportunity to provide humanity for the first time with sufficient information to begin implementing Planetary Accounting.

Customer Reviews (1)

  • What are we willing to give up?
    By Leon (NHBS Catalogue Editor) 14 Oct 2020 Written for Hardback

    What I am about to write is probably going to upset many people, but... I am growing frustrated with the narrative of much of the environmental movement. Taking to the streets to protest and demand change, to “do something!”, is all fine and dandy, but it is also a bit hypocritical. It fosters a narrative in which the onus is always on others and it begs the counter-question: “what are you willing to give up?”. That is the hard question.

    There, I said it. You have the option to stop reading now.

    In all seriousness, if we want to avert dangerous climate change or allow forests to recover from deforestation, how much change is enough? How much are we allowed to consume? Planetary Accounting will not offer you final prescriptive answers, but it is an important first step in quantifying per capita quota for what each of us can consume and pollute without it costing the planet.

    This book follows on perfectly from Kallis’s Limits that I just reviewed, which urged for a culture of self-limitation. The immediate follow-up question then is: how much? In Planetary Accounting, sustainability scientists Kate Meyer and Peter Newman take Rockström et al.'s planetary boundaries framework as their starting point and translate it into planetary quotas. The former is an Earth systems science framework that demarcates a “safe operating space for humanity” by identifying nine planetary processes and systems with their boundary values. For several of these, we have crossed the limit and are collectively pushing our environment towards a new state that is likely to be a lot less friendly to human life. If the former can be likened to a patient’s diagnosis, the latter can be interpreted as the doctor’s prescriptions: here is the amount and direction of change needed.

    You might ask why it matters that we emit more nitrogen and phosphorus into our environment than we should, or are seeing species extinction rates far above background values. Surely, our world always changes and is not a museum piece. Consider the following, I think very interesting, argument. Some authors propose that it took the stable climatic conditions of the Holocene for civilization to take off. Not because climate drove civilization – humanity was rearing to go – but because we needed a stable window of opportunity. Meyer & Newman mention Cook’s A Brief History of the Human Race, but I came across this same argument in Dartnell’s Origins. Rockström and colleagues argue that the state of the planet during the Holocene is the only one we know of in which settled societies can thrive. Whether we can in other environmental states is unknown, nor do we know what new balance the Anthropocene will reach. So, how lucky, really, are we feeling?

    This introduction is accompanied by a very capable routing of the arguments of climate change denialists and a brief exploration of other environmental impact assessment frameworks before Meyer & Newman turn to the limits of the planetary boundaries framework. One issue is that it describes the problem, but does not prescribe solutions. Some translation is needed and to that end, Meyer & Newman here propose the planetary accounting framework.

    The bulk of the book describes this framework and develops quotas for each of the nine planetary boundaries, though it should be noted that readers might have to turn to supporting publications, including Meyer’s PhD thesis, for more details. What this exercise reveals is interesting. Four planetary boundaries have been exceeded, three not yet, and for two we lack information. The planetary quotas calculated here show we exceed seven, are at the limit of one and lack information for the last. If that seems confusing, remember that boundaries describe the state of the planet and quotas our annual impact. Some boundaries will be breached soon if we maintain current rates. Deriving quotas for all boundaries is not necessarily straightforward and Meyer & Newman have drawn on the knowledge of a large body of specialists when developing the planetary accounting framework, with caveats, justifications, and assumptions described here.

    Each chapter also gives suggestions on how these quotas can be achieved at different levels (from individuals to nations) and in different sectors (communities, governments, and businesses). They call their approach poly-scalar. Although this is a first step in translating planetary boundaries to something more actionable, you will notice that this is still several steps away from usable advice. The authors acknowledge that more work is needed, that there are different ways to achieve these quotas, that the quotas are moving targets subject to revision, and that there will be a lot of political and ethical horse-trading when it comes to deciding who has to sacrifice what (especially in the developed vs. developing world). In short, they have laid out the total amount of change needed but how we are going to achieve this is yet to be decided.

    I have two points of criticism. First, with the book itself. Though accessibly written, it suffers noticeably from typos and spelling errors that should have been picked out in the editorial stage. Furthermore, seeing the importance of the subject matter, the book is exorbitantly priced, probably putting it out of reach for many readers. I recommend you also have a good look at the website of The Planetary Accounting Network, the non-profit that Kate Meyer founded after completing her PhD.

    My second point of criticism is with the planetary accounting framework, which has its limitations. There is no mention here of non-renewable resources: all the ores and other minerals we extract from the planet’s crust, many of which, such as rare metals, are vital to the technological solutions we envision will help us address environmental problems. Whether their framework can be expanded and adjusted to account for these is questionable, seeing such resources are finite. Furthermore, Meyer & Newman are conspicuously silent about overpopulation, although occasionally mentioning that quota sizes will depend on future population growth. I know that I am starting to sound like a stuck record, but should there be a population quota? Depending on living standards plugged into your equations, some authors have tentatively concluded that 3 billion is a more sustainable limit and that we cannot justify having more than one child.

    Of course, it would be unreasonable of me to expect their framework to be a cure-all – they acknowledge it is not “one supersystem to solve everything”. Keeping that in mind, Planetary Accounting is a first step in translating the planetary boundaries to something more actionable, and Meyer & Newman provide a valuable roadmap that I expect will be widely welcomed.
    Was this helpful to you? Yes No


Kate Meyer graduated from the University of Auckland as the Senior Scholar for Mechanical Engineering with several awards for academic excellence and leadership including the Beca/Rotary Club Scholarship, Composites Association of NZ Prize, Rotary Youth Leadership Awards, and the Maurice Paykel Undergraduate Scholarship. Kate subsequently led sustainable building design teams at Arup in Singapore and Australia, where she guided the environmental design of many award-winning developments. She completed a Sustainable Leadership program at the University of Cambridge, received an Australian Postgraduate Award and an AuDA research grant to develop Planetary Accounting as a PhD at Curtin University, and is currently the Founding Director of the Planetary Accounting Network and Director of Ecometrics.

Peter Newman is the Professor of Sustainability at Curtin University in Perth, Australia. He has written 20 books and over 300 papers on sustainable cities. Peter's book with Jeff Kenworthy Cities and Automobile Dependence (1989) has been described as 'one of the most influential planning books of all time' by Reid Ewing, Professor of City and Metropolitan Planning at the University of Utah. In 2014 he was awarded an Order of Australia for his contributions to urban design and sustainable transport. Peter has worked in local government as an elected councillor, in state government as an advisor to three Premiers, and in the Australian Government on the Board of Infrastructure Australia and the Prime Minister's Cities Reference Group. He is a Fellow of the Planning Institute of Australia and the Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, is the Co-ordinating Lead Author on Transport for the IPCC's Fifth Assessment Report, and most recently published the book Resilient Cities: Overcoming Fossil Fuel Dependence. He was the 2018/19 WA Scientist of the Year.

By: Kate Meyer(Author), Peter Newman(Author)
278 pages, 50 colour & 50 b/w illustrations, tables
Publisher: Springer Nature
Clamouring for change is easy, quantifying what each of us needs to sacrifice to limit our environmental impact is much harder. Planetary Accounting offers a valuable roadmap and lays out the first steps how to go about this.
Current promotions
British WildlifeField Studies CouncilSpecial Offer: Ecology and Natural History bookOrder your free copy of our 2021 equipment catalogues