Traditional societies have much to teach the modern world about conservation and environmental management. "The Pursuit of Ecotopia" argues that the root of our environmental crisis is that we have failed to devise a modern strategy to persuade people with diverse interests to think and act cooperatively to secure shared interests. Anderson argues that we take a short-term, subjective view of resource management and ethical conduct instead of a long term, global view of 'ecotopia' - a conception in which the destructive corollaries of consumerism are curbed by emotionally grounded policies and ethics of sustainability, social justice, and stewardship.
In this controversial but well-argued book, author E. N. Anderson maintains that the world can escape impending ecological disaster only by embracing a political and ethical transformation that will imbue modern societies with the same shared sense of emotional rationality practiced by traditional cultures. He draws lessons from ecologically successful traditional societies - and also draws cautionary tales from traditional societies that have responded maladaptively to disruption and failed ecologically as a result. It is a compelling read.