BUILDING A SUSTAINABLE SOCIETY by Lester R. Brown

BUILDING A SUSTAINABLE SOCIETY

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A rewrite of Worldwatch Institute president Brown's 1978 work, The Twenty-Ninth Day, with a few minor shifts of emphasis and practically no new ideas. Part I is a routine rundown of the deteriorating global situation: disappearing croplands and spreading deserts, deforestation and collapsing ecosystems, rising consumption and diminishing resources, the end of cheap energy, less food, economic and social stress. In Part II, the path to sustainability, Brown hopes to see the world population level off at six billion, long-range land use planning and ecological awareness, recycling, and a switch to renewable energy resources. The sustainable society will need more fuel-efficient vehicles and industries, a tilt in the job market (to alternative technology, recycling, computers, etc.), a check on urbanization, generally less affluent lifestyles, the uncoupling of Third World industries from the West, and a shift in economic emphasis from growth to replacement. The transition can be brought about, Brown thinks, by a financial carrot-and-stick approach--with government control of markets, more money for basic research, R & D programs reoriented from the military, and strong top-level leadership. New emphasis is placed on the roles that corporations, religious groups, universities, and other institutions can play in bringing about the transition to sustainability. A stark picture, and Brown's arguments are, as always, compelling.

Pub Date: Oct. 26th, 1981
Publisher: Norton