Andres R. Edwards. The Sustainability Revolution: Portrait of a Paradigm Shift. Foreword by David W. Orr. Gabriola Island, British Columbia: New Society Publishers, 2005. Paperback, xv + 206 pages.
During the past two decades, “sustainability” has become a catchword, yet few people know exactly what it is supposed to mean. Most dictionaries don’t even define it but rest content with a definition of the adjective “sustainable.” Part of the problem is that the word can signify several things, depending on the context. Even David Orr, in his foreword to the present book, speaks of it as an “indefinite term,” and yet in the context of ecology and economy, “sustainability” does in fact have a specific sense.
Edwards, who is an educator and environmental systems consultant, has written over 200 pages to explain what sustainability stands for and why it is such a vital concept today. Already millions of people have rallied around this notion, so that it is possible to speak of a “Sustainability Revolution”—an international social movement that emphasizes a mature, responsible approach to living, which is not detrimental to our Earth habitat nor our fellow beings (both human and nonhuman). This movement is made up of thousands of interest groups worldwide, each of which has its own concerns and agenda, but these synchronize with the concerns and agendas of other groups.
The present book is something of a manifesto for the Sustainability Revolution. After examining the movement’s history, he analyzes its core concerns—the three “E’s,” namely ecology/environment, economy/employment, equity/equality, to which he adds education of the larger public. He then goes on to analyze sustainability in terms of community, commerce, natural resources, ecological design, and the biosphere—all key issues in the Sustainability Revolution and all related to each other.
Edwards’s clear mind, formidable command of his material, and sharp eye for common principles make his book a remarkable and convincing document, which undoubtedly will become a classic reference work.
Copyright ©2006 by Georg Feuerstein. All rights reserved.
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