Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. In the edition of its flagship report, Worldwatch celebrates the twentieth anniversary of the Earth Summit with a far-reaching analysis of progress toward building sustainable economies.
Written in clear language with easy-to-read charts, State of the World offers a new perspective on what changes and policies will be necessary to make sustainability a perma In the edition of its flagship report, Worldwatch celebrates the twentieth anniversary of the Earth Summit with a far-reaching analysis of progress toward building sustainable economies.
Written in clear language with easy-to-read charts, State of the World offers a new perspective on what changes and policies will be necessary to make sustainability a permanent feature of the world's economies. The Worldwatch Institute has been named one of the top three environmental think tanks in the world by the University of Pennsylvania's Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program. Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. More Details State of the World. Other Editions 3. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about State of the World , please sign up.
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State of the World 2012: Moving Toward Sustainable Prosperity / Edition 2
Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. We see various articles on climate change and sustainability nearly every day but it's not often we get to take the long view. This book from Worldwatch Institute covers the developments affecting the environment and the world at large from October through November It touches on major issues facing the world today including economic growth and the widening gap between rich and poor as the middle class continues to shrink.
Many of the articles make direct comparisons between where we are now and where we were at the time of the Earth Summit in Rio De Janeiro across metrics such as levels of emissions, population growth and urban development.
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Scholars have contributed essays that are rich in data and thick with recommendations for how to avert peril. The overall message is that, for developed countries, we need to do less of what we currently do. Work less. Buy less. Waste less. This leaves room for more things we could do on the sustainability front including more bicycling, gardening, and home cooking. Sure it all sounds a little bit like the Portlandia television series but these changes are part of an overall plan to change the current trajectory of over consumption.
Since the data shows that much of the population is increasingly concentrated in urban areas we are going to have to learn to get along somehow.
Issues of the distribution of resources become especially important when dealing with the growing problem of the urban poor. The issue of over consumption continues to grow as cities increase in size. The world is seeing a large increase in the amount of mega cities with over ten million in population. With numbers like that we are going to have to change some behaviors if we want our resources to hold out.
The various writers in this volume all drive home the message that real sustainability is a collaborative effort involving governments, corporations, and the general public. There has been a lot of discussion lately about the role of government in the lives of private citizens but major, sweeping change will not happen without collaboration between nations.
Humanity is confronting a severe and complex crisis. Mounting ecosystem stress and resource pressures are accompanied by growing socioeconomic problems. The global economy is struggling to get out of a severe recession that was triggered by the implosion of highly speculative financial instruments but more broadly is the result of bursting economic bubbles and unsustainable consumer credit. The economic crisis is sharpening social inequities in the form of insecure employment and growing rich-poor gaps within and among countries.
All this has led to a growing crisis of legitimacy of economic and political systems, as massive bank bailouts stand in sharp contrast to austerity and curtailment of spending for the public benefit. The de facto appeasement of a run-amok financial system has blocked the emergence of a vision of how the real economy could be both rescued and made sustainable.
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Growing numbers of people sense that their interests are not represented in legislative and policymaking processes whose outcomes are increasingly influenced by money. Over the years, this has led to declining voter participation in elections and to political apathy. On the other hand, and more recently, disenchantment with the status quo has spawned rapidly multiplying bottom-up protests now known as the "Occupy Movement. The new movement derives some inspiration from the Arab Spring in the Middle East, suggesting a commonality of concerns across economic and political systems.
The movement spread like wildfire. By mid-October , Occupy protests had taken place in more than cities around the world; by late December, there were activities in more than 2, locations. These protests have largely focused on social and economic concerns. Organizers of Occupy COP17 argued that "the very same people responsible for the global financial crisis are poised to seize control of our atmosphere, land, forests, mountains and waterways.
In the two decades since the Earth Summit, pressures on the planet's natural resources and ecological systems have increased markedly as the material throughput of the economy keeps expanding. Not surprisingly, the bulk of human consumption is concentrated in cities. Urban areas account for half of the world's population but 75 percent of its energy consumption and carbon emissions. Ecological stress is evident in many ways—from species loss, water scarcity, carbon buildup, and nitrogen displacement to coral reef die-offs, fisheries depletion, deforestation, and wetlands losses.
The planet's capacity to absorb waste and pollutants is increasingly taxed. Some 52 percent of commercial fish stocks are fully exploited, about 20 percent are overexploited, and 8 percent are depleted. Water is becoming scarce, and the supply is expected to satisfy only 60 percent of world demand 20 years from now. Although agricultural yields have increased, this has happened at the cost of declining soil quality, land degradation, and deforestation. A study of "planetary boundaries" showed that nine critical environmental thresholds had been crossed or were on track to be crossed, threatening to destabilize ecological functions on which economies, societies, and indeed all life on Earth critically depend.
Humanity has been acting as if fresh resources were always waiting to be discovered, as if ecological systems were irrelevant to human existence, as if an Earth 2. There are isolated examples in human history of civilizations that outstripped their resource base, crashed, and vanished.
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But never before has this happened on a planetary scale; humanity is crossing into totally uncharted territory. While the impacts will be felt everywhere and especially in the poorest quarters, it is the actions of a minority that have gotten us to the edge of the precipice. According to the World Bank, people in the world's middle and upper classes more than doubled their levels of consumption between and , compared with a 60 percent increase for those on the lower rungs of the income ladder. The global consumer class, about a billion people or so, mostly lives in western industrial countries, but the last two decades have witnessed the emergence of growing numbers of high consumers in countries like China, India, Brazil, South Africa, and Indonesia.
Another 1—2 billion people globally aspire to the consumer life and may be able to acquire some of its trappings. But the remainder of humanity—including the "bottom of the pyramid," the most destitute—have little hope of ever achieving such a life.
The global economy is not designed for their benefit. Over the last decade, countries outside the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development OECD have increased their share of the world economy. From 40 percent of global gross domestic product GDP on a purchasing-power parity basis in , their share has risen to 49 percent in and could grow to 57 percent by And economic expansion in countries like China, India, and Brazil has improved the economic lot of many people.
The rest of us, it seems, have to redefine our give and take relationship with the earth. About Contact Subscribe. Greener Ideal. Guide to an Environmentally-Friendly Office. Burn in Your Fireplace. Guide to an Environmentally-Friendly Bedroom.
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