Understanding Sustainable Development from J Blewitt

Title: Understanding Sustainable Development
Author: J Blewitt
Publisher: Earthscan, London
ISBN No.: 978-1-84407-454-9
Year of Publication: 2008
Website: http://www.earthscan.co.uk

This is a text book on Sustainable Development and as a practitioner in the field, I found it an excellent refresher and reminder of basic concepts, issues and historical background.

The ten chapters in this book take the reader through a logical progression of information, starting with how globalisation and sustainable development are linked, working through ethical and cultural values, through to social capital and environmental justice, on to politics and governance, leading to economic growth and the necessary associations, and finally to tools and systems and the relevancy of leading the sustainability process.

Blewitt’s brief, dispassionate review of the role of sceptical environmentalists, in particular, Bjørn Lomborg, is an important education in academic tolerance and the value of debate and discussion. You may not agree with Lomborg, but his position forces one to test one’s own viewpoint and the validity of the facts that support it.

The section on tools and systems for sustainability is excellent and a perfect introduction to the new professional who may be moving from an environmental management level of thinking to the broader SD view.

The references (cited clearly in the different relevant parts of the book text) are a valuable listing of important background documents for the reader to drill down and dig deep, should he or she so desire.

I enjoyed this book and I continue to dip into it, using the practical and effective index.

This book is an ideal reference text for new managers who need to put sustainable development into context with their business responsibilities and understand where it fits into the larger picture. Although there is considerable detail and history, it all helps to explain why issues have developed the way they have and why it is important to apply the philosophy in business activities.

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