Believing Cassandra: an optimist looks at a pessimist's world by Alan AtKisson — YES! Magazine
Drawing on decades of helping corporations, networks, governments, and NGOs reach their change goals, the authors show you how to use systems- and sustainability-based change tools — and more importantly, how to develop your own capacities, question your assumptions, and learn to navigate complexity with attention and purpose. A short, simple, inspiring introduction to sustainability that has sold over 30, copies, been translated into several languages, and purchased by companies and universities for distribution to all their employees and alumni.
Originally written to help sustainability professionals reach new audiences by using simpler concepts, Sustainability is for Everyone was discovered to be equally effective as a way to engage newcomers.
Completely updated for the new edition in , Believing Cassandra remains one of the most comprehensive, engaging, and readable introductions to sustainability available. It has inspired people around the world to begin working on a sustainable future. As in Believing Cassandra , the highly engaging writing style mixes personal stories with clear explanations, tools, and case studies.
Believing Cassandra: an Optimist Looks at a Pessimist's World
The Sustainability Transformation introduces the reader to the tools and methods Alan developed in the late s, which have since spread around the world, helping people do sustainability more quickly and more effectively. The village of Gaviota in Colombia is a wonderful example of a community pulling together to do things cheaper, better, more ecologically, creatively and profitably, "They export many products including lightweight windmills called 'gaviotas' now by many Colombians , super-efficient pumps and pine resin, with minimal impact on Nature, through well-developed marketing channels.
They have been trying to be a model for village development throughout the so-called Third World Among other projects he mentions city planning in Curitiba, Brazil, which has transformed the business and public transport capacity while diminishing pollution: "All this innovation was done on the cheap.
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Creativity, ingenuity and passion substituted for money. In his former home city of Seattle, he shows how he and a group of dedicated activists pioneered "sustainability indicators" and through dialogue with the other important players in the city, got them to endorse what has become a norm for local government and business - the recognition that sustainability plays an integral part in urban functioning; something that was unheard of before.
His conclusion is that there are enough dedicated people in the world to face the enormous challenges ahead and build a better world. A different one, perhaps, but one that is going to reduce and hopefully reverse the damage that we are doing to our only planet. During the lecture he told the audience about the Swedish concept of Lagom. This means not having too little, nor too much, but having enough that is "exactly right". If we all practiced this, we would be well on the way to sustainability already. To find out more about the book: www. Topics: Sustainability. We use the tiger this is a prime Siberian example to show up our failure to conserve wild species, but while we monopolise all the food that animals require, we could remember that it is not only their conservation we urgently need to cover.
It is also our own indulgences. How can you describe the threats existing to species, both large and small? Sustainability, or development without growth, is the cure to the diseases that afflict the planet, ranging from urban sprawl to global warming. But sustainability is a transformation requiring thousands of innovations which advance Development while slowing Growth. The rapid diffusion of those innovations is the key to transformation.
The hour is late, he says. By the best scientific assessments overshoot and collapse is already in process. However, he believes the necessary transformation can happen.
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This affirmation is repeated towards the end of the book, in a passage from which I took comfort. He points out that the transformation of social and economic systems is in fact old hat to humanity. Even the global scale and the compressed timeline is not without precedent. During the Second World War we saw powerful nations reorganise their economies on very short notice and point them in radically new directions.
Innovations occurred throughout society at breakneck speed, in every sphere of life. And after the war the Marshall Plan directed huge amounts of capital into the reconstruction effort in Europe and Japan. He adds to this the fact that personal transformation, as many of us know, can be stunning in its suddenness.
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- [PDF] Believing Cassandra: How to be an Optimist in a Pessimist's World Read Online.
Those of us who look with despair at the prospect of any fast transition to solar energy from fossil fuels he invites to consider the effect on the development of the first computer chips in the s when the US government acting through NASA and the Department of Defence ordered mass quantities. It spurred extremely rapid innovation and a swift drop in prices. An intensive act of government purchasing made possible the arrival of the computer era years or decades ahead of when the market might have produced a transformation on its own.