Here’s an interesting book. Basically, the good folks at nef have spotted that people have had enough of both light-bulb-and-thermostat platitudes, and bike-riding-vegan sanctimony. Instead, what people need is a broad vision, and the realisation that good lives don’t have to cost the earth.
In the end, living within the earth’s biocapacity, commuting shorter distances, buying less stuff, living within our means, eating fewer processed foods, all these things are good for the environment, but also good for us. We are happier that way, our economies are fairer, our communities safer.
Andrew Simms and Joe Smith have brought together a great bunch of writers here. There are some we’re always harping on about, Oliver James, Tom Hodgkinson, Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall, all in one volume. Kevin McCloud of Grand Designs shares his views on sustainable architecture. Ann Pettifor discusses debt and credit. Philip Pullman critiques the environmentalists’ stories, comparing them to Old Testament prophets – and duly warning them that the prophets were “generally hounded out of the city and cast adrift on the waves.”
Perhaps Colin Tudge says it best in describing the movement as a ‘renaissance’ – something that is neither reformist nor revolutionary – just a hope that “soon, the cadre of people worldwide doing sensible things would reach critical mass, and then we would start to create a world that is worth living in.”
This is a really diverse and thought-provoking book that brings together the environment, economics, sociology and politics. Along the way, it touches upon dozens of the issues that we’ve written about here, and exemplifies the holistic approach we’ve tried to take. It’s also inspiring, and positive. It’s certainly challenged me to think more about the solutions than the problems. Highly recommended.