Beginning on Mon., Feb. 4, Digging Deeper XLI will undertake a four-week exploration of some recent books on sustainability:  --  David Korten's The Great Turning (Berrett-Koehler, 2007);  --  McDonough and Braungart's Cradle to Cradle (North Point, 2002);  --  Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma (Penguin, 2006);  --  and Paul Hawken's Blessed Unrest (Viking, 2007).  --  More information about the books below.[1]  --  There is no charge for participation and sessions are open to the public.  --  Digging Deeper meets Mondays from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Mandolin Café in Tacoma....

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WHAT:  Digging Deeper XLI: The Sustainability Revolution
WHO:  Led by Mark Jensen
WHEN:   Monday, February 4, 11, 18, & 25, 2008 — 7:00 p.m.-8:30 p.m.
WHERE: Mandolin Café, 3923 South 12th St., Tacoma, WA 98405

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United for Peace
of Pierce County (WA)
Study Circle:
February 4, 11, 18, & 25, 2008
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DIGGING DEEPER XLI:  THE SUSTAINABLITY REVOLUTION

On four Mondays in February the book discussion group of United for Peace of Pierce County will examine four recent books on the Sustainability Revolution.  "Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."  This is the definition of "sustainability" proposed by the World Commission on the Environment and Development (the Brundtlund Commission, which published Our Common Future in 1987).  Sustainability, it has been said, is not so much about the environment as about how we as human beings live and work together and how we will survive into the future.  Digging Deeper XLI will examine four volumes that focus, respectively, on the Sustainability Revolution as a paradigm shift in human thinking, on how it affects industrial and agricultural economics, and on the social movement that brought it into being.

—David C. Korten, The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community (Berrett-Koehler, 2007).  "In The Great Turning [David Korten] argues that corporate consolidation of power is merely one manifestation of what he calls 'Empire':  the organization of society through hierarchy and violence that has largely held sway for the past 5,000 years.  The Great Turning traces the evolution of Empire from ancient times to the present day but also tells the parallel story of the attempt to develop a democratic alternative to Empire.  Finally, Korten draws on evidence from varied sources to make the case that "Earth Community" -- a life-centered, egalitarian, sustainable alternative to Empire based on democratic principles of partnership -- is indeed possible.  And he outlines a grassroots strategy for beginning the momentous turning toward a future of as-yet unrealized human potential."  —Book description.

—William McDonough and Michael Braungart, Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things (North Point Press, 2002).   "Environmentalists are normally the last people to be called shortsighted, yet that's essentially what architect McDonough and chemist Braungart contend in this clarion call for a new kind of ecological consciousness.  The authors are partners in an industrial design firm that devises environmentally sound buildings, equipment and products.  They argue that conventional, expensive eco-efficiency measures things like recycling or emissions reduction are inadequate for protecting the long-term health of the planet.  Our industrial products are simply not designed with environmental safety in mind; there's no way to reclaim the natural resources they use or fully prevent ecosystem damage, and mitigating the damage is at best a stop-gap measure. What the authors propose in this clear, accessible manifesto is a new approach they've dubbed 'eco-effectiveness': designing from the ground up for both eco-safety and cost efficiency.  They cite examples from their own work, like rooftops covered with soil and plants that serve as natural insulation; nontoxic dyes and fabrics; their current overhaul of Ford's legendary River Rouge factory; and the book itself, which will be printed on a synthetic 'paper' that doesn't use trees.  Because profitability is a requirement of the designs, the thinking goes, they appeal to business owners and obviate the need for regulatory apparatus.  These shimmery visions can sound too good to be true, and the book is sometimes frustratingly short on specifics, particularly when it comes to questions of public policy and the political interests that might oppose widespread implementation of these designs.  Still, the authors' original concepts are an inspiring reminder that humans are capable of much more elegant environmental solutions than the ones we've settled for in the last half-century."  —Publishers Weekly.

—Michael Pollan, The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals (Penguin, 2006; paperback 2007).  "In The Omnivore's Dilemma, Michael Pollan writes about how our food is grown -- what it is, in fact, that we are eating.  The book is really three in one: The first section discusses industrial farming; the second, organic food, both as big business and on a relatively small farm; and the third, what it is like to hunt and gather food for oneself.  And each section culminates in a meal -- a cheeseburger and fries from McDonald's; roast chicken, vegetables and a salad from Whole Foods; and grilled chicken, corn and a chocolate soufflé (made with fresh eggs) from a sustainable farm; and, finally, mushrooms and pork, foraged from the wild. The first section is a wake-up call for anyone who has ever been hungry.  In the United States, Pollan makes clear, we're mostly fed by two things: corn and oil.  We may not sit down to bowls of yummy petroleum, but almost everything we eat has used enormous amounts of fossil fuels to get to our tables.  Oil products are part of the fertilizers that feed plants, the pesticides that keep insects away from them, the fuels used by the trains and trucks that transport them across the country, and the packaging in which they're wrapped.  We're addicted to oil, and we really like to eat."  —Washington Post.

—Paul Hawken, Blessed Unrest: How the Largest Movement in the World Came into Being and Why No One Saw It Coming (Viking, 2007).  "Hawken (Natural Capitalism) traces the formation of the environmental and social justice movement from the beginnings of natural science across years and continents in this rousing and 'inadvertently optimistic' call to action.  Though it's argued that globalization; extinction of species, languages and cultures; and economic policies advantageous to the rich have degraded quality of life worldwide and engendered large scale feelings of fear, resentment and powerlessness, Hawken remains surprisingly hopeful.  Strength, he contends, lies in the many thousands (if not millions) of nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to environmental protection and social justice that collectively form a worldwide movement geared toward humanity's betterment.  A combination of history, current events, motivation and vision for the future, Hawken's book does a lot of work in its relatively few pages, though his perspective comes across in some passages as naïve (the thousands of protestors at the 1999 Seattle World Trade Organization meeting merely wanted to 'hold WTO accountable').  The book isn't likely to convert members of the World Bank, but readers already sympathetic to Hawken's position will find much here to chew on."  --Publishers Weekly.

MEETING SCHEDULE -- Mondays from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Mandolin Café, 3923 S. 12th St., Tacoma, WA.

No charge for participation. Some copies available for loan or sale.  Contact: Mark Jensen (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; 253-756-7519).

Regular meetings of United for Peace of Pierce County are held at 6:30 p.m. on 1st Thursdays and at 7:00 p.m. on 3rd Thursdays at First Congregational Church, 209 S. “J” St., Tacoma, WA.

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United for Peace
of Pierce County (WA)
Study Circle:
February 4, 11, 18, & 25, 2008
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