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   The Sustainability Transformation
Reviewed by Sudhirendar Sharma
24 Feb 2011

Alan Atkisson does not belie expectations of those who have been following him ever since he first published Believing Cassandra, over a decade ago. The Sustainability Transformation is a must-read book for all those who have wanted to get a sense of what ‘sustainability’ means and how indeed can it be put into practice. Staying optimist, the author takes the reader into the world of immense possibilities.

Through case stories and personal anecdotes, Atkisson engages the reader on the essentials of making a sense of our interconnectedness with nature. The story of the dusky sparrow has transformative power – generating a desire to change things for the better. Faced with a choice between saving the dusky and reducing the bother of mosquitoes, local authorities chose the latter for setting up the space center at Central Florida, the habitat for this endemic bird.

Using his widely adopted ISIS Method – Indicators, Systems, Innovation and Strategy – Atkisson helps reader search for ‘sustainability’ within the complex jungle of such stories. Good Life Index is one such tool that helps awaken interest in sustainability and communicate its basic concepts to encourage people dig down into the details for a more systemic understanding, beyond the ordeal of the daily news.

Written in an informal and personal style, the Sustainability Transformation acts like a trigger towards positive change, both in thinking and in action. It demolishes many ill-conceived notions about ‘failure’ and helps the reader enter the world of immense ‘possibilities’. Through rigor of analysis, Atkisson has developed an excellent combination of theory and practice. No wonder, it is as much a book of theory as an operating manual, inspiring and visionary at each step.

Written with passion, conviction and foresight, the book argues that the ultimate vision of a sustainable world is immensely possible. And that too, in our life time only.

The Sustainability Transformation
by Alan Atkisson; Earthscan, London
323 pages, US$ 29.95


 
 Other books reviewed by Dr Sudhirendar Sharma
Features > Book Shelf
 
Spoiling Tibet
Posting Date: 28 Feb 2014

A Journey in the Future of Water
Posting Date: 28 Feb 2014

Yamuna Manifesto
Posting Date: 28 Feb 2014

 
Corruption Watch

The bad news is that corruption has not only sustained but has grown in size and stature in the country. With scams being a regular feature, seventy per cent respondents in a survey have rightfully opined that corruption has continued to increase in India. One in every two interviewed admit having paid a bribe for availing public services during last one year. Transparency International's latest survey reveals that the political parties top the chart for the most corrupt public institutions, followed by police force and legislatures. No wonder, India continues to make new records on the global corruption arena!

The shocking revelation is that the health and education sectors haven't remained untouched by this phenomenon. With 5th and 6th positions respectively for these sectors on the public perception chart on corruption, corruption has crept insidiously into these sectors of hope for the masses. With bureaucracy being fourth in the list of corrupt institutions in the country, corruption seems to have been non-formally institutionalized with little hope if public services would ever be effective in the country. With economic growth having literally institutionalized corruption, are we now expecting corrupt to be socially responsible - a different CSR.

Poor. Who?

Not giving 'aid' to India is one thing but calling it 'rich' is quite another. If one in three of the world's malnourished children live in India, what does average daily income of $3 indicate? It perhaps means that there is a relative decline in poverty - people are 'less poor' than what they used to be in the past. But having crossed the World Bank arbitrary threshold of $2 a day does not absolve the 'developed' countries of their obligation to part with 0.7 per cent of their Gross National Income in development aid. Should this three-decade old figure not be revised?  

An interesting debate in UK's House of Commons delved on future of development assistance by the British Government. While prioritizing limited resources has been a concern, there has been no denying the fact that development aid must be guided towards tangible gains over a short period of time to start with. There are difficult choices for elected governments to make - should they invest in long-term primary education or in short-term university scholarships? Which of these will bring gains and trigger long-term transformation in the society. As politicians continue to be divided on the matter, poverty persists!!   

Lead View
People, Partition and the Pain
By Rina Mukherji
15 Aug 2013

Dr Jayanti Basu's book analyzes the complex feelings of hatred and longing for the homeland that have contributed to shaping the personalities of a generation of people who were forced to ..
Book Shelf

Yamuna Manifesto

A Journey in the Future of Water

Spoiling Tibet

On Western Terrorism
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