The New Normal: An Agenda for Responsible Living

The New Normal: An Agenda for Responsible Living

by David Wann
     
 

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In Simple Prosperity, Dave Wann showed readers how to have an abundant, sustainable life. In The New Normal, he challenges us to do some heavy lifting and transform our non-sustainable culture by transforming ourselves. For Wann, our current "old normal" lifestyle - buying water in disposable bottles, allowing the government to ignore global warming -

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Overview

In Simple Prosperity, Dave Wann showed readers how to have an abundant, sustainable life. In The New Normal, he challenges us to do some heavy lifting and transform our non-sustainable culture by transforming ourselves. For Wann, our current "old normal" lifestyle - buying water in disposable bottles, allowing the government to ignore global warming - will not preserve the planet. To nurture our world, he challenges us to rethink our lives, stand up for a healthy planet and move towards a "new normal" lifestyle in an agenda that includes:
- Initiating local business alliances that actively lobby for local buying.
- Creating an investment strategy that values the balance of nature.
- Supporting the design, manufacture, and use of products made with natural chemicals.
- Publicly advocating a more efficient use of water by placing a higher cultural value on wetlands, streams, rivers, and lakes.

The New Normal is Dave Wann's way forward, a blueprint for a better life that preserves our world.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
According to author and committed environmentalist Wann (Simple Prosperity), globalization is spiraling out of control. Unprecedented population growth has forced markets into a state of hyper-production, not only to meet demand, but also to satisfy an alarming state of over-consumption. Wann calls for a "renaissance"; the way of life of the last 50 years was unrealistic, and human beings require "reprogramming," via the step-by-step itinerary of this new effort. Citing personal accounts of both success and devastation, startling statistics, and press cuttings, the author presents a rational and surprisingly optimistic set of solutions to a distressing issue. Applying historical context and sociological frameworks, Wann indicates that radical change is required—now. Alongside well-known concepts of recycling and sustainability, the model agenda goes further in outlining ways for "optimized living" and a "leaner lifestyle" through communal living, "biomimicry," and a less materialistic, wasteful existence. Though it's unlikely that Wann's argument will be universally embraced, his shrewd analysis, passionate, pro-active take on the global change paradigm, and practical guidance will surely inspire. (Jan.)
Library Journal
Wann follows up on his previous book, Simple Prosperity, which teaches readers how to have a sustainable life, with this one that shows them how to transform a nonsustainable culture into one that will nurture the planet and preserve the world. Wann pulls from the disciplines of biology, anthropology, history, and psychology to make his case that the current paradigm of bigger and more is not working. He proposes the "Era of Emerging Restoration," in which healthy families, communities, and ecosystems are the best measures of wealth. What differentiates this from the more zealous ecological literature are Wann's 32 specific "New Normal Agenda Points," from buying organic and American to pushing for legislation to designing with nature. This is one of the best approaches to promoting a sustainable world.
Kirkus Reviews

A practical guide to moderating wasteful modern lifestyles to benefit the larger global community.

Wann (Simple Prosperity: Finding Real Wealth in a Sustainable Lifestyle, 2007, etc.) argues that changes in such variables as climate, population and resource availability are forcing consumer cultures to dispense with "the throwaway mind[set]." The author seeks "to evaluate and guide decisions that can steer us clear of both personal and planetary bankruptcy." Toward that end, Wann first examines the contexts—historical, social, economic—and the attendant value systems that have made "having more, and having it faster" the central mission of Western societies. The Industrial Revolution fostered a mentality that celebrated the pursuit of profit, regardless of human and environmental costs. In a world now threatened by overpopulation and resource depletion, however, that way of thinking is not only unsustainable, but also dangerous. According to Wann, three barriers exist to fully bringing about a saner, more holistic way of life for everyone: "cultural crisis, hyperindividuality and overproductivity." Rather than simply critiquing the problems that plague modern capitalist societies, the author offers a detailed 33-point "new normal agenda" built on convincing statistical and anecdotal information. The plan emphasizes informed activist approaches to problem-solving and focuses on such timely issues as decentralizing and localizing economic structures, reducing carbon emissions, promoting urban organic agriculture and restoring environmental integrity. While Wann's message is urgent, it is never strident and offers hope in an age of pessimism and scarcity. If humanity can understand that "the overall theme of nature is not bloodthirsty competition, but functional, celebratory interdependence and cooperation" writes the author, then individuals and groups can create lives that, though materially leaner, are healthier and more fulfilling.

Powerful, grounded reading for the challenges of 21st-century living.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780312575434
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
12/21/2010
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
959,870
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.00(d)

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