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Acting as if Tomorrow Matters: Accelerating the Transition to Sustainability

Overview

In his previous book, the well-received and often-quoted Agenda for a Sustainable America (2009), John Dernbach made more than a hundred recommendations for making the United States more environmentally sustainable. Yet it is increasingly clear that the modest progress made by the United States since the Earth Summit in 1992 is not caused by the absence of specific and feasible policy recommendations. What we need to do is well known. How we are going to do it is much less ...
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Acting As If Tomorrow Matters: Accelerating the Transition to Sustainability

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Overview

In his previous book, the well-received and often-quoted Agenda for a Sustainable America (2009), John Dernbach made more than a hundred recommendations for making the United States more environmentally sustainable. Yet it is increasingly clear that the modest progress made by the United States since the Earth Summit in 1992 is not caused by the absence of specific and feasible policy recommendations. What we need to do is well known. How we are going to do it is much less clear.
Acting as if Tomorrow Matters is a guide to making the United States environmentally sustainable. It is based on the views of more than four dozen nationally known experts in a variety of fields. Synthesizing answers to essential questions about sustainability, Dernbach provides an empirically based framework to explain the progress made in the United States to date on sustainability, including a description of the most significant obstacles to rapid and increased success. 
Building on the framework that has guided real progress so far, Dernbach explains in detail how to make a greater variety of more sustainable decisions even more attractive, how law can provide an even better enabling environment for sustainability, and how public opinion and leadership can more effectively be engaged to support sustainability.  The book thus provides a checklist of ideas and opportunities for moving toward sustainable development-starting now.
 
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Editorial Reviews

The Dow Chemical Company

"John Dernbach's Acting As If Tomorrow Matters is a compelling supplement to his existing body of work on sustainable development. The book articulates the collaborative spirit needed to move the needle on sustainable development, while challenging each of us to play an active role in shaping that sustainable future. Not just a book to read, but one to be taken to heart."

— Neil Hawkins, Vice President, Sustainability and Environment Health & Safety,

Thomas E. Lovejoy
"A masterful account of sustainability in America since the 1992 Earth Summit and the imperative of where the country should go...filled with hope, imagination and inspiration...essential reading if we are to act as if tomorrow matters."
Mary Evelyn Tucker

"For many years John Dernbach has led one of the most important studies on sustainability. His unique contribution is that he has skillfully included an ethical and religious approach to this pressing subject. He has woven interdisciplinary responses from science and policy with environmental ethics. For this extraordinary effort and for this excellent book we are all in his debt."

The Dow Chemical Company - Neil Hawkins
"John Dernbach's Acting As If Tomorrow Matters is a compelling supplement to his existing body of work on sustainable development. The book articulates the collaborative spirit needed to move the needle on sustainable development, while challenging each of us to play an active role in shaping that sustainable future. Not just a book to read, but one to be taken to heart."
Timothy E. Wirth
"Using the knowledge and experience of leading sustainability practitioners, this book demystifies the quest for sustainability by providing a checklist of practical and tested ideas that can be used in any place or sector to create an attractive and sustainable future."
Director of Global Strategy and Advocacy, Natural Resources Defense Council - Jacob Scherr
"John Dernbach has been the leading chronicler of the 20-year quest for sustainability in the United States since the 1992 Rio Earth Summit.  What Professor Dernbach has observed in the United States is reflective what is going on around the world."
Paul R. Ehrlich
"From Rio '92 to Rio '12: America's pledge to achieve sustainability has been honored too often in the breach.  The reasons for both failures and successes are many and complex, as are the tasks ahead. Acting As If Tomorrow Matters offers redemption and a vision of success."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781585761586
  • Publisher: Environmental Law Institute
  • Publication date: 6/30/2012
  • Pages: 369
  • Sales rank: 1,397,679
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

John C. Dernbach is a professor of law at Widener University Law School in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. He has divided his career between teaching and government service.  Professor Dernbach teaches environmental law, property, international environmental law, international law, and a seminar on climate change. He is the editor of Agenda for a Sustainable America (2009) and author of Stumbling Toward Sustainability (2002), comprehensive assessments of U.S. sustainable development activities that include recommendations for future efforts. Before taking his teaching position at Widener, he worked in the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection for nearly 15 years, and served most recently as that agency's policy director.
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Table of Contents

Preface ix

Biographies of Authors xiii

Introduction 1

I Modest Progress Toward an Increasingly Distant Goal

1 Environmental and Public Health Protection: Steps Forward and Steps Back 15

2 Growing Consumption and Population 39

3 Greater Poverty, Unemployment, and Attention to Environmental Justice 57

4 The Built Environment: Shifting Toward Sustainability 69

5 Governance: Communities as Sustainability Leaders, States as Energy Leaders (and the Federal Government Catching Up?) 81

6 Improving Opportunities for Sustainability Education and Engagement 101

7 International Activity: A More-Sustainable Direction but Reduced Influence 113

II Drivers for Sustainability

8 Growing Support in Spite of Mixed Public Opinion 131

9 More-Sustainable Decisions Are Easier to Make and More Attractive 155

10 Lawmaking Is Not Limited to Environmental Regulation 173

III Obstacles to Further Progress

11 Habits, Lack of Urgency, and Uncertainty About Alternatives 189

12 Unsupportive Law and Governance 201

13 Political Opposition and Growing Influence of Other Countries 215

IV Accelerating Progress, Overcoming Obstacles

14 More and Better Sustainability Choices 229

15 Law for Sustainability 241

16 Visionary and Pragmatic Governance 267

17 An American Sustainability Movement 285

Endnotes 301

Index 355

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