The Myth of Progress: Toward a Sustainable Future (Hardcover)

The Myth of Progress: Toward a Sustainable Future By Tom Wessels Cover Image
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Description


A powerful argument that our current path toward progress, based on continual economic expansion and inefficient use of resources, runs contrary to three foundational scientific laws.
 
In this compelling, cogently argued, and acclaimed book, Tom Wessels demonstrates how our current path toward progress, based on continual economic expansion and inefficient use of resources, runs contrary to three foundational scientific laws that govern all complex natural systems. It is a myth, he contends, that progress depends on a growing economy. Wessels explains his theory with his three laws of sustainability: the law of limits to growth; the second law of thermodynamics, which exposes the dangers of increased energy consumption; and the law of self-organization, which results in the marvelous diversity of such highly evolved systems as the human body and complex ecosystems. Wessels argues that these laws, scientifically proven to sustain life in its myriad forms, have been cast aside since the eighteenth century, first by Western economists, political pragmatists, and governments attracted by the idea of unlimited growth, and more recently by a global economy dominated by large corporations, in which consolidation and oversimplification have created large-scale inefficiencies in both material and energy usage.
 
Wessels makes scientific theory readily accessible by offering examples of how the laws of sustainability function in the complex systems we can observe in the natural world around us. Demonstrating that all environmental problems have their source in a disregard for the laws of sustainability, he concludes with an impassioned argument for cultural change. This new edition has a new preface wherein the author regards The Myth of Progress as his most important work. It has been in constant demand since it was first published in 2006.
 

About the Author


Tom Wessels is professor of ecology and the founding director of the master’s degree program in conservation biology at Antioch New England Graduate School. He is the author of Reading the Forested Landscape: A Natural History of New England; Forest Forensics: A Field Guide to Reading the Forested Landscape; and Granite, Fire, and Fog: The Natural and Cultural History of Acadia.
 

Praise For…


“Wessels is a tried-and-true master of nature writing. . . . [He] argues deftly that due to the limits of material resources, the finitude of time itself and the laws which govern the states in which energy can be captured, transferred or lost, we simply cannot expect to progress for no other reason than progress itself. We must have a moral underpinning that grounds and informs our interactions, both economic and interpersonal, within the world we inhabit.”
— Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

“This is an impassioned, critical, and bold book. Wessels is guided by his overwhelming sense that the laws of sustainability demand respect, understanding, and interpretation, and unless we educate ourselves about their full complexity and truth, we will do irreparable damage to the landscapes we love.” 
— Northern Woodlands


Product Details
ISBN: 9781684581528
ISBN-10: 1684581524
Publisher: Brandeis University Press
Publication Date: May 1st, 2023
Pages: 184
Language: English