Sustainability is a nearly ubiquitous concept today, but can we ever imagine what it would be like for humans to live sustainably on the earth? No, says Bryan G. Norton in Sustainable Values, Sustainable Change. One of the most trafficked terms in the press, on university campuses, and in the corridors of government, sustainability has risen to prominence as a buzzword before the many parties laying claim to it have come close to agreeing how to define it. But the term's political currency urgently demands that we develop an understanding of this elusive concept. While economists, philosophers, and ecologists argue about what in nature is valuable, and why, Norton here offers an action-oriented, pragmatic response to the disconnect between public and academic discourse around sustainability. Looking to the arenas in which decisions are made-and the problems that are driving these decisions-Norton reveals that the path to sustainability cannot be guided by fixed, utopian objectives projected into the future; sustainability will instead be achieved through experimentation, incremental learning, and adaptive management.
Drawing inspiration from Aldo Leopold's famed metaphor of "thinking like a mountain" for a spatially explicit, pluralistic approach to evaluating environmental change, Norton replaces theory-dependent definitions with a new decision-making process guided by deliberation and negotiation across science and philosophy, encompassing all stakeholders and activists and seeking to protect as many values as possible. Looking across scales to today's global problems, Norton urges us to learn to think like a planet.
Publisher: The University of Chicago Press
Number of pages: 344
Weight: 590 g
Dimensions: 231 x 157 x 25 mm
Sustainable Values, Sustainable Change distills the considerable wisdom that Bryan Norton has acquired over four decades at the forefront of environmental philosophy and policy analysis. It provides a concise and readable entree to his thought while providing significant new insights into the link between pragmatist epistemology and Norton s advocacy of a procedural approach to democratic decision making in environmental matters. --Paul B. Thompson, Michigan State University "author of "The Agrarian Vision" and "From Field to Fork" ""
Norton provides a thoughtful account of the issues currently vexing sustainability, refracting them through the lens of environmental values and then drawing together these insights into a practical program of action. . . . Sustainable Values, Sustainable Change is a novel bridge linking environmental values to adaptive management, and practitioners in both fields will benefit from a close reading and reflection. --Marc Tadaki and Kai M. A. Chan, University of British Columbia "BioScience ""