The Path to a Sustainable Civilisation

  1. Introduction
  2. The sustainability crisis
  3. An ecologically sustainable, socially just civilisation
  4. Transitioning the energy system
  5. Transitioning natural resources
  6. Unravelling the bonds of corporate capture
  7. Transforming the economic system
  8. Community action for social change
  9. Conclusion

In ecological terms, we are booked on the Titanic and steaming toward the iceberg, with uninformed or irresponsible leaders still throwing coal into the boilers. It is still possible to avert the collapse we are heading for, but it will require concerted and urgent action. This book documents the hopeful way forward and shows what you can do now to improve our chances. It may be the most important book you ever read.

Ian Lowe, Emeritus Professor, Griffith University

Its conclusions about the need for social movements to fight the corporate capture of our politics seem particularly relevant.

Bill McKibben, Schumann Distinguished Scholar, Middlebury College, and author of The End of Nature

This highly accessible book is essential reading for policymakers, their advisors, and informed citizens generally.

Stephanie Kelton, Professor of Economics & Public Policy, Stony Brook University

It’s situation critical and time’s running out. Here’s a book that, without indulging in blind optimism, crisply sets out solutions that can work if we get on with it immediately.

Kerryn Higgs, University Associate, University of Tasmania, Associate Fellow of the Club of Rome, and author of Collision Course: Endless Growth on a Finite Planet

Mark Diesendorf and Rod Taylor’s new book lays out that path and the substantial benefits of making the transition. It will take a new, ecological vision of the economy and its interdependence with the rest of nature and a new monetary theory to fund the transition. A must read for the movement to create the sustainable and desirable civilization we all want.

Robert Costanza, Professor, Institute for Global Prosperity, University College London, and co-founder, International Society for Ecological Economics

A brilliant call to action! With every Earth system in decline and corporate greed ravaging our society, it is no wonder people despair. But by taking action to reimagine and reconstruct our political, social and economic systems, we give ourselves hope that a sustainable future is not only possible, but within our power.

Christine Milne AO, former leader of the Australian Greens

The Path to a Sustainable Civilisation correctly identifies the dominant economic system as one of the fundamental drivers of the exploitation of our planet’s environment and the vast majority of its people. The book recommends ending economic growth by the rich countries and transitioning to a steady-state economy with sustainable prosperity for all, guided by the transdisciplinary framework of ecological economics and Modern Monetary Theory. In presenting its case, this book is readable, well documented and convincing.

Steve Keen, Honorary Professor and ISRS Distinguished Research Fellow, University College London

The Authors

Dr Mark Diesendorf is Honorary Associate Professor in the Environment & Society Group, School of Humanities & Languages at UNSW Sydney. Originally trained as a physicist, he broadened out into interdisciplinary energy and sustainability research.

From 1996 to 2001 he was Professor of Environmental Science and Founding Director of the Institute for Sustainable Futures at University of Technology Sydney. His previous books include Sustainable Energy Solutions for Climate Change (UNSW Press & Routledge-Earthscan, 2014), Climate Action: A campaign manual for greenhouse solutions (UNSW Press, 2009), Greenhouse Solutions with Sustainable Energy (UNSW Press, 2007); and Human Ecology, Human Economy: Ideas for an ecologically sustainable future (co-editor, Allen & Unwin, 1997, currently available from Taylor & Francis).

Originally an IT systems engineer, Rod Taylor is a freelance science and technology writer, journalist and broadcaster. He is author of Ten Journeys on a Fragile Planet (Odyssey, 2020) and co-editor of Sustainability and the New Economics (Springer, 2022). His weekly science column and other articles have been published in Fairfax and now Australian Community Media masthead papers for over 14 years. He has also produced for ABC Radio National.