Interview with Larry Swatuk

Interview with Larry Swatuk, associate professor and director of the Environment Department at the University of Waterloo in Canada, about the Master’s in Development Practice (MDP) program.

Whole Earth Discipline

The Earth’s climate is changing and our civilization is being threatened by rising sea level, drought and disease. With unchecked human population growth we may be on the brink of self-inflicted extinction. We’ve heard the environmental forecasts, but how can we avert disaster? In his book, Whole Earth Discipline: Why Dense Cities, Nuclear Power, Transgenic Crops, Restored Wildlands, and Geoengineering are Necessary, long-time environmentalist Stuart Brand explains how these sometimes-controversial ideas might help save humanity and our fragile biosphere as we know it.
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The Story of Stuff

Leonard, a self-described “systems thinker,” aims to debunk the entrenched “growth at all costs” model. She does so by discussing the materials economy and its underlying paradigm of economic growth, but opts to not lay the blame with individuals or inspire feelings of guilt. … Readers, however, should not be misled by her bubbly prose: Leonard gets to the heart of serious subjects and exposes the inter-connectedness of today’s consumption, environmental, social and economic crises.
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The Bridge at the End of the World

The Bridge at the End of the World
James Gustave Speth.
At the end of his career as a litigator, academic and veritable environmental prophet, Gus Speth has reached a disturbing conclusion: “All we have to do to ruin the planet is to keep doing exactly what we’re doing today.” The environmental movement, he argues, is swimming upstream – limited by our cloistered approach to change and a failure to address the systemic failures of a myopic economic system. Passing the torch to the next generation, he offers a thoughtful analysis of these systemic challenges and outlines the necessary steps for transformative change. The Bridge at the Edge of the World is essential reading for those preparing to make the crossing.

Transitions to Sustainable Development

Transitions to Sustainable Development: New Directions in the Study of Long Term Transformative Change
John Grin, Jan Rotmans, and Johan Schot in collaboration with Frank Geels and Derk Loorbach
Routledge, 2010, 381 pages.

Many citizens and decision makers are able to define goals for sustainability. Achieving these goals in practice, however, is far more difficult.

Individuals are simply one part of a larger societal system composed of knowledge, institutions, norms and behaviours, as well as physical infrastructure. Once established, these larger systems entrench various patterns of unsustainable consumption, such as food choices, mobility patterns and energy consuming lifestyles. These path dependencies constrain communities and individuals from achieving their sustainable development goals.
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The Water Softener: Interview with David Brooks

David Brooks tells how the soft path strategy makes the most of the water we have.

Satisfying the world’s growing demand for clean water is a monumental challenge. With water supply infrastructure now stretched to the limit, editors David Brooks, Oliver Brandes and Stephen Gurman offer a new management approach in Making the Most of the Water We Have. Based on energy’s proven soft path strategy, the book goes far beyond touting water efficiency: it points the way toward decreasing worldwide demand for this precious resource and shows how we can save money getting there.

Kurtis Elton, one of the book’s many contributors, recently met with David Brooks for some background on this strategy as it begins to gain steam.
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The Transition Handbook: From Oil Dependency to Local Resilience

The Transition Handbook: From Oil Dependency to Local Resilience
Rob Hopkins
White River Junction, Vermont: Chelsea Green Publishing Company, 2008, 240 pages.

At last, here is a book about our common future that we don’t have to be afraid to read. Written by “transition movement” founder Rob Hopkins, The Transition Handbook offers an inspiring and practical blueprint for community-based action in response to the challenges of climate change and … [Click here to read more!]

Walkability Hero, Sexy Insulation, and Bottled Water Free Day – GC News #671

671: 8 March 2010 – Published by Green Communities Canada 10TH ANNIVERSARY. Resource Conservation Manitoba is turning 25 and celebrates its anniversary on 9 March.  RSVP . BOTTLED WATER FREE DAY. As a follow-up to EcoSuperior’s Back to the Tap Taste Challenge, Thunder Bay residents are being asked to celebrate Bottled Water Free Day on…

Food, Sex and Salmonella: Why Our Food is Making Us Sick

Food in Canada has never been cheaper: only 10 per cent of our income is now spent in the grocery store, half of what this number was 40 years ago. Yet for most Canadians, decisions about what to eat have become a matter of high anxiety.

Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods and Genetically Modified Diplomacy: The Global Politics of Agricultural Biotechnology and the Environment

ased on his analysis of dozens of studies, reports and personal accounts, Smith reveals shocking instances when governments and corporations misled, lied and covered up evidence about the health and safety risks of GM foods. These deceptions allowed the products to be fast-tracked to the market, thereby externalizing the costs of this infant science.

Example Dream Job Post @ Your Company

EXAMPLE JOB POST: This dream job envisions the development of a global spatial plan for global use within one year. The successful candidate will help to develop a management plan, working for [Your Company Name] and partners in the Global Coalition to assemble and analyze data to support management decisions for sustainable use.

Right Relationship: Building a Whole Earth Economy

Perhaps it is the economic crisis. Maybe it is climate change, soaring extinction rates or the ever-widening gap between the rich and poor. Or then again, it could simply be the nagging sense among more and more people that the human project has somehow gone awry. Whatever the case, in recent years, we have witnessed an explosion of popular interest in books that question, even excoriate, the most fundamental assumptions of our current, growth-at-all-costs economic system.