A Short History of Progress

Each time history repeats itself, so it’s said, the price goes up. The twentieth century was a time of runaway growth in human numbers, consumption, and technology, placing a colossal load on all natural systems, especially earth, air, and water – the very elements of life. The great question of the twenty-first century is how, or whether, this can go on. In “A Short History of Progress” Ronald Wright shows how our modern predicament is as old as civilization, a 10,OOO-year experiment we unleashed but have seldom controlled. Only by understanding the patterns of progress and disaster that humanity has repeated around the world since the Stone Age can we rec_ognize the experiment’s inherent dangers, and, with luck and wisdom, shape its outcome. If you must read only one book, – or plan to be lost in a remote island – take this one!
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the Corporation (the book)

Joel Bakan’s book is an account of the corporation’s pathological pursuit of profit and power. An eminent law professor and legal theorist, Bakan contends that the corporation is created by law to function much like a psychopathic personality whose destructive behavior, if left unchecked, leads to scandal and ruin. In the most revolutionary assessment of the corporation as a legal and economic institution since Peter Drucker’s early works, Bakan backs his premise with the following claims:

  • The corporation’s legally defined mandate is to pursue relentlessly and without exception its own economic self-interest, regardless of the harmful consequences it might cause to others-a concept endorsed by no less a luminary than the Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman.
  • .

  • The corporation’s unbridled self-interest victimizes individuals, society, and, when it goes awry, even shareholders and can cause corporations to self-destruct, as recent Wall Street scandals reveal.
  • While corporate social responsibility in some instances does much good, it is often merely a token gesture, serving to mask the corporation’s true character.
  • Governments have abdicated much of their control over the corporation, despite its flawed character, by freeing it from legal constraints through deregulation and by granting it ever greater authority over society through privatization.

Despite the structural failings found in the corporation, Bakan believes change is possible and outlines a far-reaching program of concrete, pragmatic, and realistic reforms through legal regulation and democratic control. Backed by extensive research, The Corporation draws on in-depth interviews with such wide-ranging figures as CEO Hank McKinnell of Pfizer, Nobel Prize-winner Milton Friedman, business guru Peter Drucker, and critic Noam Chomsky of MIT.
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Fueling The Future

Assembled by the editing team of Andrew Heintzman and Evan Solomon, co-founders of Shift magazine, this coolly designed book reflects their respected talents: It is smart, hip and engaged. As such, this book gives readers a concise course on how the depletion of fossil fuels is about to change everyone’s future. The book is the first of a series intended to cover a wide range of topics such as water, globalization, or third world debt). Why energy? Kyoto, Middle East crisis, price of gas, health hazard of smog, North-America blackouts, there is plenty of evidence that energy is at the heart of the world’s most critical problems and concerns. Innovative solutions exist and a new generation of thinkers, inventors and engineers are already busy supplying the kind of ingenuity needed to develop and implement them. This book is a survey of these quests for solutions taking a non-critical, non-theoretical, consensus-building approach.
from: Andrew Heintzmanin detailsee also: Energy XlnkS624 XlnkC18D6

Good News for a Change: How Everyday People are Helping the Planet

Author: Dr. David Suzuki, and Holly Dressel Publisher: Greystone and the David Suzuki Foundation Inspiring stories about the people who are making positive environmental and social contributions to our world, illustrating the hundreds of working solutions that can help all of us to achieve a better future.
weblink: The David Suzuki Foundationfrom: The David Suzuki Foundationin detail XlnkS61D XlnkC18D4

Solar Manifesto

In the decade since the ‘Earth Summit’ in Rio de Janeiro, the response of the world’s governments and authorities to the threats to the global environment has been to enforce the reduction of energy consumption and harmful emissions – solulions primarily based around conventional energy resources and conventional thinking. The question is, though, whether this strategy is radical enough to address the key challenges now facing the environment, and whether it can be effective in avoiding catastrophe on a global scale. For Herman Scheer, the answer is a definite no. In this fully updated edition of A Solar Manifesto, he once more attacks the lack of political will to find answers outside a conventional frame of reference. Climate change, pollution, deforestation, destruction of the ozone layer, poverty and the population explosion are all problems created or exacerbated by the use of conventional energy. Seven years after the first edition of this book, answers are now more urgently required than ever, as current policies serve merely to alleviate the escalating symptoms rather than attempting a cure for what could become a terminal affliction. Herman Scheer shows that this crisis may yet be reversed – but it can only be made to happen through a fundamental change in political and economic strategies, paving the way towards a global solar energy economy sustained by new social principles. A Solar Manifesto champions the replacement of fossil and nuclear fuels with solar energy, as a real solution to the threat to the environment and associated social consequences. Scheer constructs a radical yet innovative political and economic model and argues the case with passion and conviction for the global solar economy as the route to a sustainable environment. Thought-provoking and profoundly challenging, this book will be an inspiration to anyone concerned with energy and the global environment.
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The Selfish Gene

This book should be read almost as though it were science fiction. It is designed to appeal to the imagination. But it is not science fiction: it is science. Cliché or not, ‘stranger than fiction’ expresses often how the truth is felt. We are survival machines-robot vehicles blindly programmed to preserve the selfish molecules known as genes. As Richard Dawkins writes in his introduction: this is a truth, which still fills him with astonishment. Dawkins explains the arduous theory of evolution with great simplicity and expresses his ideas in a way that non-scientists can understand. In this book he also introduce the notion of meme, a self-replicating ‘cultural gene’, which leads to he concept of (human) cultural evolution versus natural evolution and the hope that humanity is more than just a mechanism for replicating DNA molecules.
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Biomimicry

Biomimicry is a revolutionary new science that analyzes nature’s best ideas-spider silk and prairie grass, seashells and brain cells-and adapts them for human use. Science writer and lecturer Janine Benyus takes us into the lab and out in the field with the maverick researchers who are applying nature’s ingenious solutions to the problem of human survival: stirring vats of proteins to unleash their signaling power in computers; analyzing how spiders manufacture a waterproof fiber five times stronger than steel; studying how electrons in a leaf cell convert sunlight to fuel in trillionths of a second; discovering miracle drugs by observing what anima1s eat-and much more. The products of biomimicry are things we can all use-medicines, “smart” computers, super-strong materials, profitable and earth-friendly business. Biomimicry eloquently shows that the answers are all around us.
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Stupid White Men

Michael Moore’s critic of today’s USA is refreshing and very entertaining. Remember when everything was looking up? Then the government was running at a surplus, pollution was disappearing, peace was breaking out in the Middle East and Northern Ireland, and the Bridge to the Twenty-first Century was strung with highspeed Internet Cable. Well, so much for the future. Michael Moore the award-winning provocateur size up the new century and that big ugly special-interest group thats laying the waste to the world as we know it: Stupid White Men. In his book, Michael Moore will use well-documented facts and data to explain why: – The election of the current US president was in fact a coup. – You should never take a plane in the US – It is still bad to be black – US is an uneducated (and therefore idiot) nation – Everyone is the greatest threat to the environment – The end of men is near – America is one big happy prison
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Plan B

Modern civilization is in trouble. We have created a bubble economy, one whose output is artificially inflated by overconsuming the earth’s natural capital. Nowhere is the bubble economy more evident than in the food sector where the world grain harvest has been inflated by overpumping aquifers, a practice that virtually guarantees a future drop in production when aquifers are depleted. The wakeup call may come soon. In China, where water shortages are already shrinking the food supply, the grain harvest has fallen from 392 million tons in 1999 to 340 million tons in 2003. Within the next year or two as its grain reserves are depleted, China’s 1.3 billion consumers will begin competing with U.S. consumers for U.S. grain. Given China’s trade surplus with the United States of over $80 billion and strong buying power, this has the potential to drive up food prices worldwide. The resulting political instability in food-importing countries may convince us that business as usual-Plan A-is no longer a viable option. The alternative is Plan B-a worldwide mobilization to stabilize population and climate before these issues spiral out of control. The goal is to stabilize population close to the United Nations’ low projection of 7.4 billion, to reduce carbon emissions by half by 2015, and to raise water productivity by half. Lester Brown puts forth a workable blueprint that can be enacted now. Plan B: Rescuing a Planet under Stress and a Civilization in Trouble is a way of sustaining economic progress worldwide, an alternative to continuing environmental deterioration and eventual economic decline.
from: Lester Brownin detail XlnkS608 XlnkC18CC