Natural Capitalism: The Next Industrial Revolution

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Earthscan, 1999 - Business - 396 pages
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The first Industrial Revolution inaugurated 200 years of unparalleled material development for humankind. But the costs and the consequences are now everywhere evermore apparent: the living systems on which we depend are in retreat. Forests, topsoil, grasslands, wetlands, oceans, coral reefs, the atmosphere, aquifers, tundra and biodiversity are limiting factrs - the natural capital on which all economic activity depends. And they are all in decline. Add to that a doubling of the world's population and a halving of available per capita resources in the first 50 years of the 21st century and the inevitability of change is clear.This work offers forms of industry and commerce that can not only enhance enormously the wellbeing of the world's growing population, but will reverse the destruction and pollution of nature and restore the natural processes so vital to the future.The book introduces four central and interrelated strategies necessary to perpetuate abundance, avert scarcity and deliver a solid basis for social development. The first of these is: Radical Resource Productivity - getting two, four, or even ten times as much from the same quantities of materials and energy. A revolution in efficiency that provides the most immediate opportunities for businesses to grow and prosper.The second strategy is: Ecological Redesign - eliminating the very idea of waste by designing industrial systems on the model of ecological ones. Instead, for example, of digging merals out of the ground only to return them to landfill at the end of the product cycle, industrial processes will be designed to reuse materials constantly, in closed circles.The third strategy involves creating: A Service and Flow Economy - shifting from an economy of goods and purchases to one of service and flow, and redefining the relationship between producer and consumer. Affluence will no longer be measured by acquisition and quantity, but by the continuous receipt of quality, utility and performance.The final strategy is: Investing in Natural capital - reversing the worldwide ecosystem destruction to restore and expand the stocks of natural capital. If industrial systems are to supply an increasing flow of services in the future, the vital flow of services from living systems will have to be maintained or increased as well.

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User Review  - jlapac - LibraryThing

This is one of the best books of the type that I have ever read. It gives a clear blueprint to how we can save the world from ecological disaster. I think often of sending this book to Congresspeople ... Read full review

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User Review  - quantum_flapdoodle - LibraryThing

The author lays out a compelling case for economic evolution; he argues convincingly that we need to adjust our economic system to include "natural capital", and that our GNP needs to be adjusted to include damage to natural resources in the costs of products. Read full review

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About the author (1999)

Paul Hawken is an environmentalist, educator and best-selling author. He is known worldwide as on of the leading architects and proponents of corporate reform with respect to ecological practices. He is founder of several companies and author of numerous articles and scientific papers and of six books (published in over 50 countries, in 27 languages) including The Next Economy, Growing a Business and The Ecology of Commerce (voted in 1998 the number one college text on business and the environment by professors in 67 American business schools). He has served on the board of numerous organizations including Conservation International, Friends of the Earth and the National Audubon Society. He is the recipient of several honorary doctorates and the 1999 Green Cross Millennium Award for International Environmental Leadership from President Mikhail Gorbachev.Amory B Lovins and L Hunter Lovins are co-Chief Executive Officers of Rocky Mountain Institute which they co-founded in 182 in Colorado, USA. Physicist Amory Lovins is a MacArthur Fellow and the recipient of the Onassis Prize, the Heinz Award and six honorary doctorates, having been perhaps the youngest Oxford don in recent centuries. Hunter Lovins is a sociologist, political scientitst and barrister. The Lovinses have held visiting academic chairs and have been joint recipients of the Mitchell Prize, the Right Livelihood Award (the 'alternative Nobel Prize'), the Lindbergh Award and the Nissan Prize. Their pioneering technical, economic and policy work has been enormously influential in the energy, construction and car manufacturing industries. Consultants to scores of companies worldwide, they are co-authors of the best-selling Factor Four: Doubling Wealth, Halving Resource Use (with Ernst von Weizsacker) and of 25 previous books.

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