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Deep Economy - the Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future

A provocative look at how we need to move beyond "growth" as the ideal and pursue prosperity in more locally.

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From Environmentalism to Survival

Americans like to be first. And like to think of themselves as first, as leaders. But we've got a rude awakening coming. "Modern environmentalism was invented in the Unites States -- we pioneered everything from national parks to clean air legislation -- but an index prepared by Columbia University found that America ranked 51st of 142 nations in environmental sustainability." pg 102, Deep Economy, Bill McKibben, 2007


But it's more than ouch. It's a health problem. It's a jobs problem. It's a water supply problem. It's a quality of life problem. Sustainability affects every aspect of our work, our homes, community stability and even national security.

Deep Economy Bill McKibben Local economy for global climate change solutions Bill McKibben has released his latest book titled, "Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future." It's a book that I hope will quickly be ready by business and community leaders, as well as be adopted by classes in both college and high school. It's a book about our present and our future -- about how every person needs to be a leader in their own sphere of influence. It looks at the study of "economics" and how a philosophy of "growth" just won't fit our new reality that is shaped by global climate change that is affected by every business decision that is made. And even most of our personal decisions.

The time has come to move beyond “growth” as the paramount economic ideal and begin pursuing prosperity in a more local direction, with cities, suburbs, and regions producing more of their own food, generating more of their own energy, and even creating more of their own culture and entertainment. This concept is already blossoming around the world with striking results, from the burgeoning economies of India and China to the more mature societies of Europe and New England.

Practical Solutions for Leadership

Bill advocates for some practical solutions that also can be part of our leadership footprint. Local business. Redefining what we value as "wealth". Thinking about a durable future. Taking a hard look at how America does business in a global world of innovation and new ideas.

Growth No Longer Makes People Wealthier

His book isn't about "less is better." It's about "less AND better". "Deep Economy" argues that growth is no longer making most people wealthier -- but instead generates inequality and insecurity. Growth is bumping against physical limites so profound -- like cimate change and peak oil -- so that continuing to expand the economy may be impossible and the very attempt may be dangerous.

"May you live in interesting times" is an ancient Chinese curse...not blessing...a curse. We're definitely living in interesting times, and we need new visions to lead us into this storm cloud stage of our business and community journey.

Bill's book offers a thoughtful look at where we are. How we got here and most of all, some options that are working better on a small scale. And could inspire better solutions of the massive scale facing us if we are to provide for our exploding population and dwindling supply of essentials like water and food.

I highly recommend reading this book both for motivation and for inspiration to grow your business in a more sustainable way.

"It's extremely hard to imagine a world substantially different from the one we know. But our current economies are changing the physical world in horrifyng ways. It's our greatest challenge -- the only real qustion of our time-- to see whether we can transform those economies enough to prevent some damage and to help us cope with what we can't prevent. To see if we can manage to mobilize the wealth of our communities to make the transition tolerable, even sweet, instead of tragic." Bill McKibben is the author of ten books, including The End of Nature, the Age of Missing Information, and Enough: Staying Human in an Engineered Age. He writes regularly for Harper's, The Atlantic Monthly and The New York Review of books and is a scholar in residence at Middlebury College.

Bill McKibben, Author

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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