Created: 1995. Updated: September 24, 2000


Books on Sustainability

EcoFuture™ Population and Sustainability

Books on: Population | Sustainability | U.S. | Economics | Children | Fiction | Misc
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  • All-Consuming Passion (EcoFuture's online edition), Anne Mather; New Roadmap Foundation, PO Box 159811, Seattle, WA 98115; 1993, ISBN 0263117669, ($2). Available from Q.T.S., P.O. Box 15352, Seattle, WA 98115; 206 527-0437. Also available from A short booklet helping us wake up from the commercialized American Dream.
  • All of Us: Births and a Better Life, Pranay Gupte, Louis Silverstein Jack Freeman; Earth Times Books, ISBN 0967290902, (500p, $15). Contributors to the 500-page anthology include well known names such as President Bill Clinton; A. M. Rosenthal, columnist for The New York Times; Nafis Sadik, executive director of the United Nations Population Fund; Flora Lewis, Tom Wicker, Paul Hofmann, and John Corry, all formerly of The Times; Klaus Schwab, president and founder of the World Economic Forum; Audrey Ronning Topping, the Asia expert and photojournalist; Soon-Young Yoon, the anthropologist; Steven W. Sinding of the Rockefeller Foundation; and Seymour Topping, Administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes.
  • Betrayal of Science and Reason: How Anti-Environmental Rhetoric Threatens Our Future, Paul R. Ehrlich, Anne H. Ehrlich; Island Press, 1997, ISBN 559634847 (hard cover), (335p, $28), ISBN 1559634847 (paperback), ($15), (excerpts). The authors state that the planet is in real peril from overpopulation, depletion of the ozone layer, global warming, and loss of biodiversity, and that each of these threats is confirmed by solid scientific research. And yet, they suggest, these once-hot media issues have been diminished in the public imagination by a determined backlash from anti-environmental groups.
  • Excellent Better Not Bigger: How to Take Control of Urban Growth and Improve Your Community Eben Fodor; New Society Publishers, 1999, ISBN 0865713863, (176p, $12), (review). Also available from Exploding the myth that growth is good for us, this book clearly and convincingly shows how urban growth can, in fact, leave our communities permanently scarred, and saddled with very high costs. This book is for both the professional planner and the ordinary citizen.
  • Excellent Beyond Growth, Herman E. Daly; 1996, Beacon Press, ISBN 0-8070-4709-0, (224p, $15), (excerpt). Daly challenges the conventional wisdom that growth is always good, and bucks the environmental orthodoxy, arguing that the current focus on 'sustainable development' is misguided and that the phrase itself has become meaningless.
  • Beyond Oil: The Threat to Food and Fuel in the Coming Decades, John Gever, Robert Kaufmann, David Skole, Charles Vorosmarty; University Press of Colorado; 1991, ISBN 0-87081-242-4, (review). "The belief that the United States can increase its per-capita material standard of living and its population ad infinitum is a myth that arose from more than a century of economic success. Though U.S. material wealth has increased tremendously, it was created by the extensive depletion or degradation of nonrenewable and ecological resources, a process which is accelerating." A significant part of this book is reprinted in the Carrying Capacity Network Briefing Book.
  • Earth Odyssey, Mark Hertsgaard; Broadway Books, 1999, ISBN 0767900596, (384p, $12). "Earth Odyssey is a brilliant integration of global environmental trends and local environmental truths - a must-read for anyone who wants to understand how population growth and environmental deterioration are affecting the human prospect." - Lester R. Brown, Worldwatch Institute
  • Earth In The Balance, Al Gore (U.S. former Senator and Vice President); Houghton Mifflin, 1992, ISBN 0-395-57821-3 (hardcover) (369p, $23), ISBN 0452269350 (paperback), ($12). In this brave and provocative book, Gore argues that only a radical rethinking of our relationship with nature can save the earth's ecology for future generations.
  • Eco Homo, Noel T. Boaz; Basic Books, ISBN 0465018041, (288p, $12), (review). Boaz asks the whys of hominid speciation, and for his answers explores geology and paleoclimatology, the broadest ecological influences on evolution. For each of the half dozen currently known major species, from hominid to Homo sapiens, Boaz proposes a hypothesis of the environmental changes that could have favored or hindered its success. A fluently presented work. (From Booklist, July 19, 1997).
  • Ecology, Community, and Lifestyle, Arne Naess; 1989, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-34406-9 (hard cover), ISBN 0-521-34873-0 (paper), (304p). Naess is the acknowledged founder of 'deep ecology'. This book shows that people require not only an ethical system, but a way of conceiving the world and themselves such that the intrinsic value of life and nature is obvious.
  • Feeding the Ten Billion, Lloyd Evans; Cambridge Univ Press, 1998, ISBN 0521646855 , (242p, $20). (review - Books Online). This fascinating book looks at the intimate links between population growth and agricultural innovation over the past 10,000 years, so illuminating our present position and providing pointers towards possible future paths to food security for the planet. Evans states: "Feeding the ten billion can be done, but to do so sustainably in the face of climatic change, equitably in the face of social and regional inequalities, and in a time when few seem concerned, remains one of humanity's greatest challenges."
  • Excellent Filters Against Folly, How to Survive despite Economists, Ecologists, and the Merely Eloquent, Garret Hardin; Viking, 1986, ISBN 9993964646, (233p). Highly recommended. Cuts through fuzzy thinking to get to the heart of the issues.
  • Excellent Full House, Reassessing the Earth's Population Carrying Capacity, Lester R. Brown and Hal Kane; 1994, Worldwatch Institute, ISBN 0-393-03713-4 (hard cover), ISBN 0-393-31220-8 (paperback), (223p, $9). Also available from After decades of steady growth, the world's food supply is no longer keeping up with population increases. The authors show that the world's farmers can no longer be counted on to feed adequately the projected additions to our numbers.
  • Food, Energy, and Society, David and Marcia Pimentel; University Press of Colorado, 1996, ISBN 0-87081-386-2, (297p). A well-researched collection of papers on the threats of dwindling energy and food supplies.
  • For the Common Good - Redirecting Economies Toward Community, Environment, and a Sustainable Future, Herman E. Daly and John B., Jr.; Beacon Press, 1994, ISBN 0807047058 (paperback), (534p, $16). The authors conclude, that economic growth - the prevailing yardstick for measuring economic success - is no longer an appropriate goal as energy consumption, overpopulation, and pollution increase, and propose a new measure.
  • Ghost Bears, Exploring the Biodiversity Crisis, R. Edward Grumbine; Island Press, 1992, ISBN 1-55963-152-x (hardcover), ISBN 1-55963-151-1 (paperback), (248p, $15). Using the fate of the endangered grizzly bear--the "ghost bear"--to explore the causes and effects of species loss and habitat destruction, Grumbine presents a clear and inviting introduction to the biodiveristy crisis and to the new science of conservation biology. Rigorous, inspiring, and fun to read.
  • Global Issues, John L. Seitz; Blackwell Pub, ISBN 1557864403, ($32). Understandable discussion of major issues including population, environment, hunger.
  • Healing the Planet - Strategies for Resolving the Environmental Crisis, Paul and Anne Ehrlich; Addison-Wesley, 1991, ISBN 0201550466 (out of print).
  • Imperiled Waters, Impoverished Future: The Decline of Freshwater Ecosystems, Abramovitz, Janet; WorldWatch Institute l996, paper 138, ISBN 1878071300, ($7.50).
  • Managing the Commons, Ed. Garrett Hardin and John Baden; Indiana Univ. Press, 1998, (264p, $15). Also available from Eco Books. An anthology of essays that explore the implications of Garrett Hardin's classic essay, The Tragedy of the Commons. The commons are the world's common resources, and the tragedy is that it clearly to an individual's advantage to exploit a common resource as thoroughly as possible. Yet if all individuals were to follow this strategy the resource would be exhausted - to the detriment of all. Clearly, to maintain the world's resources there must be limitations on the individual's (and the corporation's) right to exploit.
  • Naked Emperors: Essays of a Taboo-Stalker, Garrett Hardin; William Kaufmann, Inc., 95 First St, Los Altos, CA 94022, 1982, ISBN 0-86576-032-2, (261p). A bold, thought-provoking and essentially hope-filled critique of majority opinion. Hardin examines, evolution, immigration, language as a subtle enemy, and human ecology.
  • Only One World: Our Own to Make and to Keep, Gerard Piel; W. H. Freeman and Co., ISBN 0-7167-2316-6. (367p, $21.95), (EGJ review). Saturated with facts but consistently engaging and readable, Piel's prescription for global salvation marshals history, anthropology, economics, and ecology to demonstrate the measures necessary to create an equitable and sustainable economy--one that's capable of absorbing a final doubling of the world's human population. While not quite starry-eyed, Piel, Chairman Emeritus of Scientific American, is more optimistic than might seem justified.
  • Our Angry Earth, Issac Asimov and Frederick Pohl; Tom Doherty Associates, 1991, ISBN 0-812-52096-3, (429p). A Wake-up call to the planet's citizens. A basic book, but recommendations and solutions offered are particularly weak.
  • Our Common Future (the Brundtland Report), Oxford University Press, 1987, ISBN 0-19-282080-X. (383p, $12), (EGJ review).
  • Our Country the Planet: Forging a Partnership for Survival, Sridath Ramphal; Island Press, 1992, ISBN 1-55963-165-1 (hard cover), ($32.00), ISBN 1-55963-164-3 (paper), (291p, $15.00), (EGJ review).
  • Excellent Our Ecological Footprint, Wackernagel and Rees; New Society Publishers, PO Box 189, Gabriola Island, B.C. Canada V0R 1X0, (hardback) U.S. ISBN 0-86571-312-X, (paperback) U.S. ISBN 0-86571-311-1, (157p, $15), (review). An easy-to-read book on accounting for the true cost of overpopulation on environmental impact.
  • Population, Technology, and Lifestyle: the Transition to Sustainability, Ed. by Robert Goodlund, Herman E. Daly, Salah El Serafy; Island Press, 1992, ISBN 1-55963-199-6. (154p, $19), (EGJ review).
  • Regarding Nature: Industrialism and Deep Ecology, Andrew McLaughlin; State Univ of New York Press ISBN 0791413845, (280p, $20)
  • State of the World: A Worldwatch Institute Report on Progress Toward a Sustainable Society, annual. Worldwatch Institute, W.W. Norton & Co., annual. Also available from (EGJ review). This well-researched series describes the rapid acceleration of trends that are rapidly driving human experimentation across thresholds of change.
  • Song for the Blue Ocean : Encounters Along the World's Coasts and Beneath the Seas, Carl Safina; Owl Books, 1999, ISBN 0805061223, (384p, $12). An absolutely important book that discusses the declining state of marine ecosystems, due primarily to man's activities. This well-researched book is immensely readable.
  • Technological Trajectories and the Human Environment, Ed. Jesse A. Ausubel, H. Dale Langford; National Academy Press, ISBN 0309051339, (230p, $43). This book provides the surprising projection of a much greener planet, based on long-range analysis of trends in the efficient use of energy, materials and land. The book concludes that the technological opportunities before us offer the possibility of a vastly superior industrial ecology.
  • The Curve of the Future: Food-Trees, Solar Cars, War-Math, the Fun Economy and Other Essential Knowledge, Edward Passerini; Kendall/Hunt Publishing Co, Dubuque, Iowa, 1992, ISBN 0-8403-7381-3, (review). This book attempts to explain, in plain English, some of the major problems we face and how to solve them. "Everyone who has thought seriously about the problem recognizes that the population of the United States (and of the Earth) will reach a maximum density and begin to contract at some point in time. However, people do not recognize that, unless a voluntary contraction begins soon, then a forced contraction in the future is inevitable...."
  • The Limits to Growth; A Report for the Club of Rome's Project on the Predicament of Mankind, Donella H. Meadows; ISBN 0876632223, (out of print). (Also see bi-weekly column by D. Meadows).
  • The Sixth Extinction, Richard Leakey and Roger Lewin; Doubleday, 1995, ISBN 0385468091, (252p, $12). Shows that the number of current human-caused species extinctions is similar in magnitude to each of the five major extinctions in the past.

  • Excellent The Tragedy of the Commons, Garrett Hardin; ISBN 093577615X, (140p, $5). (EGJ review) and additional information and essays. Very worthwhile reading.
  • The Ultimate Resource 2, Julian Simon; Princeton Univ Press, 1998, ISBN 0691003815, (656p, $20). (review and book online). Simon is a cornucopianist -- he believes that human ingenuity and technology will solve all of our overpopulation and environmental problems, and has stated (in other publications) that we will be able to feed a growing population for the next 7 billion years. He concedes that our physical resources are finite in the mathematical sense of the word, but argues cogently that this is irrelevant to our wellbeing. Arguments against Simon's position have been made by Prof. Al Bartlett and Paul Ehrlich, author of The Population Bomb.
  • Valuing the Earth, Herman E. Daly and Kenneth N. Townsend; MIT Press, ISBN 0262540681, (387p, $24) (excerpts).
  • What is Enough?, Jean-Michel Cousteau; 1999. One of the most intriguing books to appear in recent years is called "material world." It's a volume of photographs in which the "author," Peter Menzel, presents images of families from around the world -- with their material possessions. The book's subtitle explains that it is a portrait of the human family, and so it is.
  • Excellent Who Will Feed China?: Wake-up Call for a Small Planet, Lester R. Brown; Worldwatch Institute Environmental Alert Series, Norton, 1995, ISBN 0-393-31409-X, (141p, $9). Also available from To feed its 1.2 billion people, China may soon have to import so much grain that this action could trigger unprecedented rises in world food prices, and water scarcity in China will affect the entire world. We are colliding with the earth's capacity to feed us. It could well lead us to redefine national security away from military preparedness and toward maintaining adequate food supplies.
  • Whose Common Future? - Reclaiming the Commons, The Ecologist; Earthscan Publications Ltd., 120 Pentonville Road, London N1 9JN 1993, (paperback), ISBN 1-85383-149-2, (197p, $10); (hardcover), ISBN 1550922203. The authors trace degradation of the environment to the enclosure of the commons and the denomination and dispossession of local communities.

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Books on: Population | Sustainability | U.S. | Economics | Children | Fiction | Misc
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Thanks to the many contributors to this bibliography.

Copyright 1995-2003 Fred Elbel. This material may be freely used and distributed only for non-commercial purposes, with credit. Trademarks and copyrighted items remain the property of the owner.