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Creating a Sustainable World

Creating a Sustainable World
Past Experiences/Future Struggles

Trent Schroyer and Thomas Golodik

For years now, promoters of development and growth have attempted to paint themselves “green,” claiming that development is sustainable. In a new book, Creating a Sustainable World: Past Experiences/Future Struggles, co-editor Trent Schroyer, Professor of Sociology-Philosophy at Ramapo College, argues that such efforts are a form of “greenwash,” that gloss over the real environmental consequences of growth and mask the divergence between development and sustainability.

Schroyer and his co-editor Thomas Golodik have pulled together some of the most influential theorists and practitioners of sustainability from around the world – Vandana Shiva, Wolfgang Sachs, Robert Engler, Peter Montague, Joan Dye Gussow and Michael Shuman, among others. These seminal essays offer critiques of the publicly accepted notion of sustainability that has evolved, devoid of democratic input and driven by market forces.

Schroyer, in his own chapters and in his introductions to each section of Creating a Sustainable World, exposes the market-driven agenda underlying the dominant “sustainable development” paradigm and shows us what would be required to advance society without having the Earth irreparably harmed. The authors offer contrasting concepts of sustainability derived from civil society and grassroots communities These are models untouched by the global free trade system and come to us through the voices of people directly affected by “sustainable development” projects.

In showing how voices of civil society have been pushed outside of the official decision-making, the collection demonstrates why world sustainability rests upon the capacity for establishing democratic procedures, and ultimately favoring some human and community rights over trade rights.

Douglas Lummis, former Rajni Kothari Chair in Democracy at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies in New Delhi, believes of Creating a Sustainable World that “finally we have a book that gets it right: what needs to be sustained is that which development is destroying: our world.”

For anyone seeking to make a positive mark on the world, this will be both an inspiring read and an invaluable handbook.

Learn more about this book

What they say about this book:

“For decades people have been trying to rescue the disastrous notion of ‘development’ by giving it a new adjective: ‘true’ development, ‘pro-people’ development, ‘genuine’ development, ‘alternative’ development, ‘appropriate’ development, and most recently ‘sustainable’ development. This last has a good sound to it, until you notice that what it proposes to sustain is – development. Finally we have a book that gets it right: what needs to be sustained is that which development is destroying: our world.” – Douglas Lummis, Rajni Kothari Chair in Democracy, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, New Delhi

“Creating a Sustainable World: Past Experience/Future Struggle” offers hope in the midst of despair over advancing human misery and environmental degradation. Rather than abandon the promise of a more sustainable world proclaimed at Rio’s 1992 Earth Summit, the writers herein signal a critical mid-course correction. Exposing world government’s complicity in the corporate takeover of ‘official sustainable development,’ they affirm and describe emerging world sustainability movements that retain the view of humanity and economic activity as intrinsically part of nature and subject to its constraints. Case studies detail many efforts to democratize power, wealth and knowledge necessary for meeting human needs while respecting bioregional limits. Philosophically and scientifically engaging, Schroyer and Golodik et al. produce a timely set of essays for all who care about the future of healthy and meaningful life on this planet.” – Jeff Boyer, Professor of Anthropology and Founder of The Goodnight Family Sustainable Development Program, Appalachian State University

“Schroyer and Golodik’s edited collection, Creating a Sustainable World, is not only an urgent wake-up call for those who still believe in the myths of deregulation and privatization, but it is also an important tool for international activists and educators working to democratize economic, technological, and environmental resources.” – Pepi Leistyna, Applied Linguistics Graduate Studies, University of Massachusetts, Boston

“In the wake of pompous calls from the leaders of the so-called advanced nations to ‘make poverty history,’ Trent Schroyer has once again brought together some of the world’s most prescient thinkers to remind us that the emperor is still running around naked. Building on his work at The Other Economic Summit, he has assembled a unique collection of essays that clarifies the tasks that face us in the struggle to build ‘A World that Works.’ As courageous peoples around the world persevere in their struggles to build more sustainable societies, this book will prove to be an invaluable tool to deepen our knowledge and shore up our resolve as we search for ways to collaborate. A creative and readable introduction to the wonderful diversity of concrete experiences now underway, this book is a brilliant antidote to the notion that ‘there is no alternative’ and a potent reaffirmation of our conviction that ‘Many Other Worlds Are Possible.'” – David Barkin, Author, Wealth, Poverty and Sustainable Development, Professor of Economics, Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana-Xochimilco, Mexico City, Mexico.

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