I do care about our planet, although I doubt anyone that knows me would call me a ‘Tree Hugger’, but I do try and recycle, and I do try to keep my carbon footprint down. Yes, I have bad habits, at the store I pick plastic over paper, but that is driven from necessity, a mild stroke makes carrying paper bags too much of a challenge.

Agenda For A Sustainable America is an interesting book, this is actually the third iteration, it all started back in 1992 with the Earth Summit that took place in Rio De Janero, a gathering that garnered more than 110 heads of state to discuss the thorny subject of global sustainability.

This third edition focuses on where we have moved in the period 2002-2007, and the results are not encouraging. In fact I think that we are moving backwards.

Much is made of sustainability in the press, yet in reality we have achieved very little. The prospects for our future generations look bleak.

Agenda For A Sustainable America is not one single story, but rather a combination of 41 contributing writers who offer scholarly essays and recommendations.

Sustainability is a subject that every single person should be concerned about. It is the key to keeping the Earth alive. Yet many businesses and Governments fail to recognize the need.

Agenda For A Sustainable America contains so many great essays that it is hard to pick examples, but one that caught my eye written by Ira Robert Feldman about Business and Industry, he had this wonderful comment:

…in October 2007… Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott summoned the CEO’s of 250 supplier’s and told them Wal-Mart would be watching their carbon footprint.

He went on to say that Wal-Mart were dedicated to a zero waste environment, one that could sustain the resources and environment. Kudos to Lee Scott.

While I do believe that Agenda For A Sustainable America is a non partisan work, numerous contributors to take pot shots at George W. Bush. All of which seem very valid. However it is not just politicians that get a bashing, even organized religion gets a bit of a going over. In 2007 the Southern Baptist Convention in Fort Worth, Texas had this to say:

Scientific evidence does not support computer models of catastrophic human-induced global warming

All I have to say about that is ‘what a load of bull’! Clearly the Earth is in a problem zone.

Agenda For A Sustainable America may not be light reading, but I certainly found it fascinating. In my opinion this kind of book is what more people need to read. It is a fragile world we live in, and we need to take better care of it. My wife and I live in a small town in Mississippi, walking around all we see is bad things. Plastic waste thrown on the ground, it will take thousands of years to break that down. The plastic grocery bag thrown on the ground will outlive Jan and I by many generations.

You can get your own copy of Agenda For A Sustainable America from Island Press. There is also an accompanying web page that is worth a visit. Don’t be snowed, be in charge! And this book will give you some tools to help. Great book, and a wonderful way to get up to speed on a very, very important subject.

Simon Barrett


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