Recently my focus has broadened further-- toward sustainability and ecosystem management-- including readings from disciplines as diverse as ecological economics, environmental ethics, conservation biology, landscape ecology, political science, cultural anthropology, and more. Many of you are traversing this same path, even though the ports of entry to the path are varied. I find it interesting that a steadily increasing number of economists (along with other professionals) are discovering this path and entering into the cross-disciplinary discussion called 'the ecological economics of sustainability.'
A couple of weeks ago I got a letter from a colleague who is spending a sabbatical rethinking economics, his chosen profession. Having had the time to stop and think, and to read quite a bit, changed his thinking remarkably. His recent and very much changed conclusion is that "the discipline of economics is strongly implicated in leading Western civilizations to a lifestyle that is not generally attainable to most of the world's people, is not sustainable by most modern societies, and is taking them to the brink of ecological disaster." He and I still believe that economics can be useful in helping us to avoid the 'disaster' that we economists helped to create. But we also agree that no change is possible unless and until we change some of the most cherished basic assumptions of economics and many other sciences. I won't bore you with the details of those assumptions, you've seen them for several years on Eco-Watch anyway. Instead, I simply want to help you understand the background materials I studied while working my way toward this path of discovery.
From among the many books I've used to help reframe my own thinking I put
together a list of my 40+ personal favorites, in several categories. This list
is just a beginning. With your help we may be able to agree on a core list of
readings for ecosystem management. Failing that, we can at least help each
other to become better acquainted with the literature. My list follows....
Ecosystem Health: New Goals for Environmental Management, Robert Costanza, Bryan G. Norton, and Benjamin D. Haskell, eds., Island Press, 1992.
Ecological Integrity and the Management of Ecosystems, Stephen Woodley, James Kay, and George Francis, St. Lucie Press, 1993.
Discordant Harmonies: A New Ecology for the Twenty-first Century, Daniel B. Botkin, Oxford University Press, 1990.
Ecological Literacy: Education and the Transition to a Postmodern World, David W. Orr, State University of New York Press, 1992.
Filters Against Folly: How to Survive Despite Economists, Ecologists, and the Merely Eloquent, Garrett Hardin, Penguin Books, 1985.
Caring for the Earth: A Strategy for Sustainable Living, The World Conservation Union, United Nations and Environment Programme, and The World Wide Fund for Nature, Galand, Switzerland, October 1991.
State of the World 1994: Worldwatch Institute Report on Progress Toward a Sustainable Society, Lester R. Brown (and others), W.W. Norton and Co., (updated and published annually).
Earth in the Balance: Ecology and the Human Spirit, Senator Al Gore, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1992.
The Next One Hundred Years: Shaping the Fate of our Living Earth, Jonathan Weiner, Bantam Books, 1990.
Biodiversity, edited by E.O. Wilson, National Academy Press, 1988.
Compass and Gyroscope: Integrating Science and Politics for the Environment, Kai N. Lee, Island Press, 1993.
Adaptive Management of Renewable Resources, Carl Walters, MacMillan Pub. Co., 1986.
For the Common Good--Redirecting the Economy Toward Community, the Environment, and a Sustainable Future, Herman E. Daly and John B. Cobb, Jr., Beacon Press, 1989.
Valuing the Earth: Economics, Ecology, Ethics, edited by Herman E. Daly and Kenneth N. Townsend, The MIT Press, 1993.
The Economy of the Earth, Mark Sagoff, Cambridge University Press, 1988.
Small is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered, E.F. Schumacher, Harper and Row, 1973.
The Illusion of Choice: How the Market Economy Shapes our Destiny, Andrew Bard Schmookler, State University of New York Press, 1992.
Ecological Economic: The Science and Management of Sustainability, edited by Robert Costanza, Columbia University Press, 1991.
Beyond Interdependence: The Meshing of the World's Economy and the Earth's Ecology, Jim MacNeill, Pieter Winsemius, and Taizo Yakushiji, Oxford University Press, 1991.
Philosophy Gone Wild, Holmes Rolston, III. Prometheus Books, 1989.
Crossing the Postmodern Divide, Albert Borgmann, University of Chicago Press, 1992.
The Arrogance of Humanism, David Ehrenfeld, Oxford University Press, 1981.
The Turning Point: Science, Society, and the Rising Culture, by Fritjof Capra (Author of The Tao of Physics), Bantam Books, 1983 (Simon and Schuster, 1982).
Belonging to the Universe: Explorations on the Frontiers of Science and Spirituality, by Fritoj Capra and David Steindel-Rast with Thomas Matus, HarperSanFrancisco (a division of HarperCollins), 1991.
Lila: An Inquiry into Morals, by Robert Pirsig (author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance), Bantam Books, 1991.
A Guide for the Perplexed, E.F. Schumacher, Harper Colophon Books, 1977.
Fractals: The Patterns of Chaos, by John Briggs, A Touchstone Book by Simon and Schuster, 1992.
Chaos: Making a New Science, by James Gleick, Penguin Books, 1987.
Order Out of Chaos: Man's New Dialogue with Nature, Ilya Prigogine and Isabelle Stengers, Bantam Books, 1984.
Leadership and the New Science: Learning About Organization from an Orderly Universe, by Margaret J. Wheatley, Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 1992.
Reinventing Government--How the Entrepreneurial Spirit is Transforming the Public Sector, by David Osborne and Ted Gaebler, Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, Inc., Reading, Mass., 1992.
Sustaining Long-Term Forest Health and Productivity, Society of American Foresters Task Force Report, 1992.
Timber and the Forest Service, David A. Clary, University Press of Kansas, 1986.
A Forest Journey: The Role of Wood in Development of Civilization, John Perlin, W.W. Norton and Co., 1989.
The Forest and the Trees: A Guide to Excellent Forestry, Gorden Robinson, Island Press, 1988.