IUCN - Time to live lightly on Earth, says new IUCN book

Time to live lightly on Earth, says new IUCN book

08 September 2008 | News story

A new book, Transition to Sustainability: Towards a Humane and Diverse World, by William M. Adams and Sally J. Jeanrenaud, has been launched by IUCN today. The world is facing unprecedented challenges from climate change, continuing loss of biodiversity, and the end of the era of cheap oil, according to the book.

All these issues affect nature and people with cascading effects on food, water and energy security. They are coming to a head together, and at a faster pace than most policy makers could have predicted. No one is immune from their influences, although they hit the poorest and most vulnerable groups the hardest. The future isn’t what it used to be, and there are no road maps for the path ahead.

A transition to sustainability is urgent, but is it possible? This book calls on the environmental movement to play a decisive role in planning and inspiring a transition to a world that sustains abundant and diverse life, human and otherwise, and does so humanely. 

"We must help ‘decarbonise’ the world economy,” says Bill Adams, one of the co-authors of the book. “Society needs to reduce, redirect and redistribute global consumption, and achieve dramatic reductions in carbon use. We must change the way we think about growth and prosperity, to achieve more with less.”

“We need a new era of conservation that creates a social movement for change and relates to the nature of everyday living – one that embraces sustainable lifestyles and livelihoods as well as endangered species and spaces,” says Julia Marton-Lefèvre, Director General, IUCN.

“The environmental movement must make a step-change in the way it addresses the sustainability challenges facing the world at the beginning of the twenty-first century. We must support on-going efforts to mainstream environmental issues into the economy,” says Valli Moosa, President of IUCN.

“Justice and poverty reduction have to be central to any effective transition to sustainability,” says Steve Bass, from IIED, one of the project partners. “The root causes of environmental problems are often identical to those of social problems – poor governance – and the environmental movement must commit itself to a path of justice and global equity.”

“The environmental movement must go beyond counting the problems and ‘doom and gloom’ messages to foster the vision that gives us hope, encourages creativity, and inspires us to change,” says Sally Jeanrenaud, one of the co-authors of the book.

For more information please contact:

Sarah Horsley, IUCN Media Relations Officer, t +41 22 999 0127, m +41 79 528 3486, e sarah.horsley@iucn.org

About IUCN

IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, helps the world find pragmatic solutions to our most pressing environment and development challenges by supporting scientific research; managing field projects all over the world; and bringing governments, NGOs, the UN, international conventions and companies together to develop policy, laws and best practice. www.iucn.org