|About the Book|
We are living beyond our means, running up debts both economic andecological, consuming the planets resources at rates not remotely sustainable. Butits hard to imagine a different way. How can we live without cheap goods and easycredit? How can we consume without consuming the systems that suport life? How canwe live well and live within our means? In Treading Softly, Thomas Princen helps usimagine an alternative. We need, he says, a new normal, a new ecological order thatis actually economical with resources, that embraces limits, that sees sustainableliving not as a lifestyle but as a long-term relationship with theplanet, a connection to fresh, free-flowing water, fertile soil, and healthy food.That economies must grow is a fundamental belief among economists, politicians, andjournalists. But it is rampant material growth that has brought us to thisprecipice. Princen argues that it is time to build an economy that is grounded inthe way natural systems works- that operates as if we have just the right amount ofresources rather than endless frontiers. The goal would be to live well by livingwell within the capacities of those resources. Societys material foundations wouldbe grounded in the biophysical, its practices based on satisfying work, self-reliance, and restraint rather than the purchasing of goods. Princen doesntoffer a quick fix--theres no list of easy ways to save the planet to hang on therefrigerator. He gives us instead a positive, realistic sense of the possible, withan abundance of examples, concepts, and tools for imagining, then realizing, how tolive within our biophysical means.