45 years of Earth Day: transitions and transformations


It’s 45 years today since the first Earth Day. Plenty has happened since then to explore different pathways to sustainability – from big, high-profile international conferences and governance, to local activism and action, and all scales in between. This year, 2015, is a crunch year for science, environment and development agreements, with the COP21 climate conference and the launch of Sustainable Development Goals. But with so many initiatives and possibilities, and a sense of urgency, it is tempting to turn to technical or market fixes and top-down governance as the sole solution to interconnected environmental and social challenges.

The STEPS book The Politics of Green Transformations, launched last month, addresses the debate about what kind of transitions and transformations may be needed.

Technologies such as renewable energy, coupled with market incentives to encourage switching from high-carbon patterns, are being heavily promoted as solutions to avert imminent planetary disaster. But the book challenges the assumption that green transformations can be either solely market or technology-driven. Technical and market fixes may help with transitions to greener economies, but it does not amount to transformation, particularly transformation that is both green and just.

Dario Kenner has written a helpful summary of the book on the Why Green Economy? website, which outlines the key arguments made by each of the authors.

The Politics of Green Transformations – Why Green Economy?

The journal Sustainability: Science, Practice and Policy also has a new review of the book.

Transformation Amid Chaos: Putting Humpty Dumpty Together (for the first time). A Book Review

Image: Blue Marble – Arctic View from cblue98’s Flickr (cc-by-sa 2.0)