Thursday, 21 February 2008

James Bruges, The Big Earth Book

reviewed in Positive News 4 Feb 2008: "Are you concerned about climate change and pollution, nuclear power, the future of water and oil, farming and food?... We all know the Earth is in crisis... it is big enough to sustain us if we can only mobilise politicians and economists to change course now. This book explores environmental, economic and social ideas to save our planet. It helps us understand what is happening to the planet today, exposes the actions of corporations and the lack of action of governments, weighs up new technologies, and champions innovative and viable solutions. "
About the author: James Bruges, a Quaker ecologist, grew up in India. He practised as an architect and urban planner for more than 30 years in London, Khartoum and finally Bristol, where he now lives. By 1995 his children had grown up, and he had become deeply concerned by the trends he saw in technology, city growth and industry. He became a fulltime adviser to co-housing and land trusts, developed an Urban Village project to exemplify sustainable development, and is an active contributor to FEASTA (Foundation for the Economics of Sustainability) founded by Richard Douthwaite, author of The Ecology of Money. Bruges makes annual visits to Indian rural projects based on the ideas of Gandhi and Bhave. On the edge of Bristol, he and his wife set up Leigh Court Farm, an organic community garden with 40 volunteers in addition to paid staff, which provides training and advice to other groups. In 2000 he wrote the best-selling Little Earth Book in the Fragile Earth series. It set out principles of sustainability:
  • We must not extract more toxic minerals from the Earth than can be safely contained or reabsorbed.
  • We must not allow any new, stable and persistent molecules we make to increase in nature.
  • We must not diminish the world's life-support system by disrupting its natural cycles.
  • We must recognise that all people in the world need the benefits of nature -- equally.
The Big Earth Book (Sawday 2007, ISBN: 978 1 901970 87 6) is a massive reference work on eco-economics, urbanism and green technology. See also previous posts on Nickerson, Monbiot, Faith and the Common Good, Schumacher, eco-economics.

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