Sustainability books: Cambridge ranks the top 50

Got a favorite book on sustainability? One that changed your view of our relationship to the environment? In my case, Paul Hawken’s The Ecology of Commerce, Daniel Quinn’s Ishmael series, and Ray Anderson‘s Mid-Course Correction all opened my eyes to ideas of more sustainable relationships between the economy and the environment.

One of those books (Hawken’s) made the University of Cambridge’s Top 50 Sustainability Books. The university’s program for sustainability leadership polled it’s “alumni network of over 2,000 senior leaders from around the world,” and created the list based on the feedback it received.

By and large, the list contains the titles you’d expect to see in any such rankings: Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, Janine Benyus’ Biomimicry, William McDonough and Michael Braungart’s Cradle to Cradle, and Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth. Policy reports such as Sir Nicholas Stern’s The Economics of Climate Change, and Our Common Future (aka The Bruntland Report) made the list. And there is a fairly broad representation of topics: climate change (George Monbiot’s Heat), water issues (Fred Pearce’s When the Rivers Run Dry), food issues (Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation), and poverty (Muhammad Yunus’ Banker to the Poor).

Of course, there’s already discussion on what didn’t make the list. Given the group polled, you’d expect to see a clear slant towards business books, and a bit of a preference for more academic titles. Guardian blogger Leo Hickman notes the complete absence of creative works: he mentions Cormac McCarthy’s The Road and Edward Abbey’s The Monkey Wrench Gang.  A commenter on his post notes the absence of Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax (and who hasn’t been influenced by that one?). I’d throw in Quinn’s novels. And, even if you accept the unofficial parameters created by the group giving input, what about Anderson’s books, or Andrew Winston and Daniel Etsy’s Green to Gold?

It’s also easy to second-guess such rankings… by and large, this is a valuable resource for anyone interested particularly in the relationship between the economy and the environment.

Got a favorite sustainability book that either did or didn’t make Cambridge’s list? Share it with us…

via The Guardian

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