Every day, we are presented with a range of "sustainable" products and activities-from "green" cleaning supplies to carbon offsets – but with so much labelled as "sustainable," the term has become essentially sustainable, at best indicating a practice or product slightly less damaging than the conventional alternative. Is it time to abandon the concept altogether, or can we find an accurate way to measure sustainability? If so, how can we achieve it? And if not, how can we best prepare for the coming ecological decline? In the latest edition of Worldwatch Institute's State of the World series, scientists, policy experts, and thought leaders tackle these questions, attempting to restore meaning to sustainability as more than just a marketing tool. In State of the World 2013: Is Sustainability Still Possible?, experts define clear sustainability metrics and examine various policies and perspectives, including geo-engineering, corporate transformation, and changes in agricultural policy, that could put us on the path to prosperity without diminishing the well-being of future generations. If these approaches fall short, the final chapters explore ways to prepare for drastic environmental change and resource depletion, such as strengthening democracy and societal resilience, protecting cultural heritage, and dealing with increased conflict and migration flows. State of the World 2013 cuts through the rhetoric surrounding sustainability, offering a broad and realistic look at how close we are to fulfilling it today and which practices and policies will steer us in the right direction.
Founded in 1974 by farmer and economist Lester Brown, Worldwatch was the first independent research institute devoted to the analysis of global environmental concerns. Worldwatch quickly became recognised by opinion leaders around the world for its accessible, fact-based analysis of critical global issues. Now under the leadership of population expert and author Robert Engelman, Worldwatch develops innovative solutions to intractable problems, emphasising a blend of government leadership, private sector enterprise, and citizen action that can make a sustainable future a reality.
"State of the World 2013 assembles the wisdom and clarity of some of the Earth's finest thinkers, visionaries, and activists into a dazzling array of topics that merge to offer a compellingly lucid and accessible vision of where we are – and what is the wisest and healthiest course for the future."
- Nina Simons, Cofounder, Bioneers
"State of the World 2013 is a powerful collection of articles, and the vision behind it is impressive. Here is a book that gets beyond 'sustainababble' and asks the tough, essential questions. It should make readers more determined than ever to do their part in avoiding planet-wide disaster – and better informed about how to do that."
- Peter Singer, Professor of Bioethics, Princeton University, and author of Animal Liberation
"This edition forges a new path for the [State of the World] series, and for environmental thinking in general [...] . A pivotal book that marks a defining moment for our species."
- Richard Heinberg, Senior Fellow Post Carbon Institute; author of The End of Growth and The Party's Over
"State of the World 2013 cuts through the rhetoric surrounding sustainability, providing a broad and realistic look at how close we are to achieving it and outlining practices and policies that can steer us in the right direction [...] . A must read for those seeking authentic sustainability."
- Hunter Lovins, President of Natural Capital Solutions and author of Climate Capitalism
"This is a book of hope for a world in profound crisis. It gives honest assessments of the enormous challenges we face, and points us toward institutional and cultural changes that are proportional to our dire situation. State of the World 2013 reaffirms that we are not helpless, but that we have real choices, and that transformation is both possible and desirable."
- Reverend Peter S. Sawtell, Executive Director, Eco-Justice Ministries
"State of the World 2013 cuts through 'sustainababble' with crisp coverage that puts the news of the year in context and provides an expert survey of today's and tomorrow's big issues. It's a perennial resource for everyone concerned about our common future."
- Karen Christensen, publisher of Berkshire Encyclopedia of Sustainability and author of The Armchair Environmentalist
"Every elected official in the world needs to read this book. Mass denial is no longer an option. An 'all hands on deck' approach to transforming our culture and economy is the only path to a safe, resilient future. This book is the blueprint for that safe path forward."
- Betsy Taylor, President, Breakthrough Strategies, & Solutions and Founder, Center for a New American Dream
" [...] there is definitely something in this book for everyone. Easy to read, and understand [...] "