SUSTAINABILITY: A History by Jeremy Caradonna

SUSTAINABILITY: A History by Jeremy Caradonna
05 Mar
2017
From food packets to fuel company manifestos, ‘sustainability’ is everywhere. Jeremy Caradonna tracks the explosion of this word into our lexicon; by fully understanding where it’s come from, we can figure out where it’s going

Though it has roots in some medieval practices, philosophies and indigenous traditions, sustainability has only been a self-defined movement since the 1970s. By then, ‘no longer was sustainability merely a concept or set of idea,’ he writes, ‘scholars began to describe in vivid detail what a sustainable society might look like and discussed in no uncertain terms the unsustainability of modern industrial society.’ Caradonna explains the word’s newfound legitimacy in great detail, exploring crucial milestones such as the creation of the United Nations Environmental Program, and its later commission of the IUCN.

However, it was not an easy sell – this was the era of Thatcher and Reagan, after all. Both had prioritised free-markets, the privatisation of public services and placed, Caradonna states, economic growth before the environment. ‘The point here is that sustainability did not magically win over the hearts and minds of business and government leaders,’ he explains.
In spite of the battles ahead, Caradonna believes sustainability will become a defining point in human history. ‘The practice of sustainability could give rise to the world’s third major socio-economic transformation, after the Agricultural Revolution that took place 10,000 years ago, and the Industrial Revolutions of the late 18th and 19th century’.

Click here to purchase ‘Sustainability: a History’ by Jeremy Caradonna

Geographical Week

Get the best of Geographical delivered straight to your inbox every Friday.

LATEST HEADLINES

Subscribe Today

EDUCATION PARTNERS

Aberystwyth University University of Greenwich The University of Winchester

TRAVEL PARTNERS

Ponant

Silversea

Travel the Unknown

DOSSIERS

Like longer reads? Try our in-depth dossiers that provide a comprehensive view of each topic

  • National Clean Air Day
    For National Clean Air Day, Geographical brings together stories about air pollution and the kind of solutions needed to tackle it ...
    The Air That We Breathe
    Cities the world over are struggling to improve air quality as scandals surrounding diesel car emissions come to light and the huge health costs of po...
    Diabetes: The World at Risk
    Diabetes is often thought of as a ‘western’ problem, one linked to the developed world’s overindulgence in fatty foods and chronic lack of physi...
    The Nuclear Power Struggle
    The UK appears to be embracing nuclear, a huge U-turn on government policy from just two years ago. Yet this seems to be going against the grain globa...
    When the wind blows
    With 1,200 wind turbines due to be built in the UK this year, Mark Rowe explores the continuing controversy surrounding wind power and discusses the e...

MORE DOSSIERS

NEVER MISS A STORY - follow Geographical

Want to stay up to date with breaking Geographical stories? Join the thousands following us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and stay informed about the world.

More articles in REVIEWS...

Books

by Robin Hanbury-Tenison •  IB Tauris •  £17.99 (hardback)

Books

by Daniel Schwartz •  Thames & Hudson •  £40 (hardback)

Books

by Nigel Hughes •  £25 (hardback)

Books

by Caitlin Doughty •  Weidenfeld & Nicolson •  £14.99/£7.99 (hardback/eBook)

Reviews

Directed by Ivo Van Hove •  National Theatre

Books

by Norman Davies •  Allen Lane •  £30 (hardback)

Exhibitions

This intimate east London exhibition provides a multi-sensory exploration into…

Books

by Kiyonori Kanasaka (translated by Nicholas Pertwee) • Renaissance Books…

Books

by Steven Price Brown • Bloomsbury • £16.99 (hardback/eBook)

Books

by Jo Woolf • Sandstone Press • £24.99 (hardback)

Films

An epic journey through the Amazon in a traditional dugout…

Books

by Victor Mallet • Oxford University Press • £20 (hardback/eBook)

Books

Get 30% off the cover price of this in-depth journey…

Exhibitions

Twenty one years, sixteen countries, seven continents... RGS-IBG director, Rita…

Books

by Peter Millar • Arcadia Books • £20 (hardback)

Books

by the National Archives • £25/£21.99 (hardback/eBook)

Books

by Leon McCarron • IB Tauris • £17.99 (hardback)