Population, Technology, and Lifestyle: The Transition to Sustainability

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Robert J. A. Goodland, Herman E. Daly, Salah El Serafy
Island Press, 1992 - Political Science - 154 pages
In 1987 the World Commission on Environment and Development, chaired by Gro Harlem Brundtland, issued a trail-blazing report that detailed the urgent need for achieving global sustainable development. Building upon the work of the Brundtland Commission, Population, Technology, and Lifestyle suggests changes that can and must be made if sustainability is to move beyond concept to reality. Three of the factors that most directly affect the potential for sustainability - population, technology, and lifestyle - are discussed and analyzed in-depth. In addition, the authors examine global patterns of income distribution and the pressing need for greater equality between the northern and southern hemispheres. The authors, all leading scholars in their fields, argue that traditional means of economic growth which rely on an ever-increasing use of energy and natural materials cannot be sustained. They advocate an imaginative pursuit of economic ends that are less resource intensive and allow for increases in quality of life without corresponding decreases in environmental quality. The authors contend that biophysical factors set firm limits on further expansion of the global economy and that the choice we face is not whether society should change but whether we will be able to plan for an orderly transition before physical limits and environmental damage dictate the timing and course of the transition.

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About the author (1992)

Robert Goodland is a tropical ecologist and Chief of the newly created Environmental Division in the Latin America Office of the World Bank in Washington, D.C. He started environmental assessments of tropical development projects for the World Bank in 1972, while creating a Department of Ecology in the then new University of Brasilia. He has held a position as Chairman of Environmental Assessment at Cary Arboretum in Millbrook, New York, as well as professorships at the University of Brasilia, INPA Manaus; the Organization of Tropical Studies, Costa Rica; and McGill University, Montreal. He has published many books on various topics, including environmental aspects of the Trans-Amazon Highway, the cerrado ecosystem of Brazil, tropical hydro-projects and agriculture, tribal peoples, wildland management, and cultural property. Dr. Goodland received his Ph.D. in tropical ecology from McGill University, Montreal.

Herman E. Daly is Professor Emeritus at the University of Maryland, School of Public Affairs. From 1988 to 1994 he was senior economist in the environment department of the World Bank. Prior to 1988 he was Alumni Professor of Economics at Louisiana State University, where he taught economics for twenty years. He is a co-founder and associate editor of the journal Ecological Economics. He is co-author with theologian John B. Cobb, Jr. of For the Common Good (1989; 1994) which received the Grawemeyer Award for ideas for improving World Order. His other books include Steady-State Economics (Freeman, 1977; second edition, Island Press, 1991); Valuing the Earth (MIT, 1993) and Beyond Growth (Beacon, 1996). In 1996, he received the Heineken Prize for Environmental Science awarded by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Right Livelihood Award, Sweden's alternative to the Nobel Prize.

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