Landmarks for Sustainability:Events and Initiatives that Have Changed our World

Author: Wayne Visser
Pub: Greenleaf Publishing
Price: £25

I don’t normally find books intimidating, but I approached Landmarks for Sustainability with a great deal of trepidation – not because it’s particularly heavy (I’ve read longer, denser works and this one even dedicates a lot of space to striking photography), but simply because I was afraid of what I would discover.
Landmarks for Sustainability details the state of the world, you see, and, despite its uplifting title, covers potentially depressing/ angering topics like global warming, environmental crises, poverty and corruption, all subjects that often leave me enraged rather than uplifted.
But this book, a product of the Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership, was written to celebrate “how far the sustainability agenda has moved in just two decades” and I was happy to be reminded that 20 short years ago, we’d barely just agreed on a definition of sustainable development and both public and private sector organisations had only one bottom line.
The book aims to be an essential resource for government officials, business managers, scholars and activists, though I imagine anyone remotely interested in the subject will get something out of it, whether it be a refresher course in the Kyoto Protocol or an introduction to the leadership initiatives that are changing the world.
Of course, this isn’t to say we can sit back and relax because the world’s problems are under control. The book doesn’t imply that we will become sustainable or even that we’re likely to – the boldest claim it makes is that future change is “perhaps, even possible”. By analysing what the sustainability movement has achieved over the past couple decades, though, it shows how change can be achieved and the sort of action we need to take to save the world.