Nature's Revenge: Reclaiming Sustainability in an Age of Corporate Globalization

Edited by Josée Johnston, Michael Gismondi, and James Goodman

© 2006

The social and political contest over the meaning of the term "sustainable development" is vital. Those who win will dictate the agenda and the policies around future environmental issues. This book proposes a radical definition of sustainability, reclaiming the word from the rhetoric typically used by corporations and governments to facilitate unrelenting economic growth and the notion of "business as usual."

The authors base their approach on the classic notion of the "commons." This key concept in environmental circles traditionally refers to commonly held, or shared, rights and property such as water, air, and other resources necessary for human survival. In this book the idea of the commons is also extended to include what the authors call the "social commons," encompassing areas such as community knowledge and culture.

The authors argue that the social commons should be democratically controlled, and at all levels of ecological reality from the local to the global. Here the "commons" are seen as operating in a spatially fluid manner, across not only geographical boundaries, but also human generations and ecological timescapes. The authors stress the complex interrelations that exist at local, regional, national, continental, and global levels of human organization and observe that there can be no simple solution confined to one particular scale of action. They critique advocates of an exclusive concentration on localism just as much as those who argue it is enough simply to write global treaties. This book seeks to reclaim public power against private interests, thus creating an empowered, sustainable ecological community.

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Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 336 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.6in x 9.0in
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  • PUBLISHED FEB 2006
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Quick Overview

"An indispensable and timely collection which confronts the core questions at the multi-scale intersections of political ecology and political economy today." - Roger Keil, York University

Nature's Revenge: Reclaiming Sustainability in an Age of Corporate Globalization

Edited by Josée Johnston, Michael Gismondi, and James Goodman

© 2006

The social and political contest over the meaning of the term "sustainable development" is vital. Those who win will dictate the agenda and the policies around future environmental issues. This book proposes a radical definition of sustainability, reclaiming the word from the rhetoric typically used by corporations and governments to facilitate unrelenting economic growth and the notion of "business as usual."

The authors base their approach on the classic notion of the "commons." This key concept in environmental circles traditionally refers to commonly held, or shared, rights and property such as water, air, and other resources necessary for human survival. In this book the idea of the commons is also extended to include what the authors call the "social commons," encompassing areas such as community knowledge and culture.

The authors argue that the social commons should be democratically controlled, and at all levels of ecological reality from the local to the global. Here the "commons" are seen as operating in a spatially fluid manner, across not only geographical boundaries, but also human generations and ecological timescapes. The authors stress the complex interrelations that exist at local, regional, national, continental, and global levels of human organization and observe that there can be no simple solution confined to one particular scale of action. They critique advocates of an exclusive concentration on localism just as much as those who argue it is enough simply to write global treaties. This book seeks to reclaim public power against private interests, thus creating an empowered, sustainable ecological community.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 336 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.6in x 9.0in
  • Reviews

    Nature's Revenge expertly confronts the depredation of nature that we call the ecological crisis, covering a great range of issues with a rigorous and hopeful eye. Its essays provide an unusually fine combination of concreteness, practicality, and theoretical sophistication.


    Joel Kovel, author of The Enemy of Nature and the editor of Capitalism, Nature, Socialism

    Nature's Revenge achieves something that is increasingly rare in academic books: an incisive critique of modern society that is both highly relevant and readily accessible to a wide audience. It offers insight into the social and political causes of environmental decline and provides inspiration and strategic direction for those interested in affecting change. Nature's Revenge will stimulate and invigorate anyone who cares about the future of our world.


    Sharon Beder, University of Wollongong, New South Wales

    An indispensable and timely collection which confronts the core questions at the multi-scale intersections of political ecology and political economy today.


    Roger Keil, York University, author (with Gene Desfor) of Nature and the City: Making Environmental Policy in Toronto and Los Angeles
  • Author Information

    Josée Johnston works in the Department of Sociology at the University of Toronto. Her major area of research is the sociology of food and her work brings together several research threads including globalization, political ecology, consumerism, and critical theory.



    Michael Gismondi teaches at Athabasca University in northern Alberta, where he is a third-term Town Councillor and active in community and sustainability issues. In 2005, he helped collectively edit Consuming Sustainability: Critical Social Analyses of Ecological Change (Fernwood Press).



    James Goodman researches at the University of Technology, Sydney, where he co-convenes the Research Initiative on International Activism. He has been involved in a range of joint projects with counter-globalist social movements.

  • Table of contents

    Acknowledgements
    Introduction

    1. Politicizing Exhaustion: Eco-social Crisis and the Geographic Challenge for Cosmopolitans
    Josée Johnston, Michael Gismondi, and James Goodman

    Part I: Corporate "Sustainability"

    2. Who Cares About the Commons?
    Josée Johnston

    3. Electricity Restructuring's Dirty Secret: The Environment 
    Marjorie Griffin Cohen

    4. Wet Dreams: Ideology and the Debates over Canadian Water Exports
    Andrew Biro

    5. Corporate Social Responsibility and Codes of Conduct: The Fox Guarding the Chicken Coop?
    Ineke C. Lock

    Part II: Alternative Sustainabilities

    6. The Nature of Local Reach
    Michael Gismondi

    7. Leave It in the Ground! Eco-social Alliances for Sustainability
    James Goodman

    8. Local Participation and Sustainability: A study of Three Rural Communities in Oaxaca, Southern Mexico
    Evelinda Santiago Jimenez and David Barkin

    9. Toward a Movement of Multiple Scales: The Canadian Jubilee 2000 Initiative
    Janet Conway

    10. Beyond the Local and the Global: Scales of Resistance, Repression, and Sustainability
    Damian Grenfell

    11. Afterword: Only Sustain ... The Environment, "Anti-globalization," and the Runaway Bicycle
    James Anderson

    12. Conclusion: Moving from a Vengeful Nature towards Sustainability Pathways
    Josée Johnston, Michael Gismondi, and James Goodman

    References
    Contributors
    Index

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