State of the World 2012: Moving Toward Sustainable Prosperity

State of the World 2012: Moving Toward Sustainable Prosperity is the Worldwatch Institute’s latest in its State of the World series that comes out annually. Worldwatch Institute is one of the world’s leading environmental think tanks and is dedicated to advancing global sustainable development.

This edition starts with an illustrated timeline from October 2010 to November 2011 that summarizes a mix of good and not so good things related to environmental quality and social welfare that happened during that time.

The book includes a stimulating array of topics focusing on “current trends in global economics and sustainability,” and presents solutions to some of the world’s “most pressing environmental and human challenges.” Experts also address this year’s “sustainable prosperity” theme with ways economic institutions need to be reformed to “promote both ecological health and prosperity.”

Like previous editions, each chapter is written by different experts, and this year as with every year, the lineup is impressive. Like Michael Renner, Senior Researcher at WorldWatch Institute who writes about ways to make the green economy work for everyone. Or Eric Belsky, who lectures on urban planning and design a Harvard Graduate School of Design and is Managing Director of the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University and details real issues on sustainable urban development.

One of my favorites is the chapter by Allen White (and Monica Baraldi), who is a Senior Fellow at Tellus Institute and an expert on corporate responsibility. What an excellent piece on how corporations need to be reinvented to better serve society, not just shareholders and the bottom line. Ok, I am biased, as I have met him personally, and not only is he one of the leading experts in this area, he is a wonderful man.

Then there is the chapter by Robert Engelman, the President of Worldwatch Institute, who boldly takes on population issues. He presents nine strategies to “stop short of 9 billion” people on the planet. As Zoha Arshad on says, “Engelman’s policies call for a massive restructuring of political and social policies, especially towards women. Universal access to contraception, secondary education for all women, eradication of gender bias that limits women’s economic opportunity and growth, as well as higher taxes are some of Engelman’s strategies to nip the baby boom in the bud.”

These are just a few examples of how every year this report is an invaluable read and resource for understanding how we can get the world to a place where we have a safe and healthy global environment, as well as sustainable, prosperous and equitable economies.

This is an annual must in LiveTrue’s collection of Living Green Books!

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