Book review: The necessary transition by Malcolm McIntosh

14th January 2014

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Alison Hunter

The necessary transition

Malcolm McIntosh / Greenleaf / £22.95 / ISBN: 978-1-906093-89-1

This interesting and timely book consists of 14 articles and papers covering a range of sustainability and transition related subjects, from long-term innovation cycles to sustainable entrepreneurship.

The necessary transition addresses its subject from a variety of angles giving the reader insights into several crucial, and often under explored areas of the transition debate. The overarching theme is of the current and future transition of society resulting from issues such as climate change, resource depletion, the financial crisis and social justice. The end point envisaged by many of these thinkers is of a socially-just sustainable enterprise economy.

Although these are enormous challenges, the tenor of the book is fundamentally positive, with a sense that, through a process of learning, adaptation and change, these challenges can be surmounted.

The book is roughly split into three sections. The first four chapters cover history and transition theory, while chapters five, six and seven focus primarily on activism. The final section concentrates on business and sustainable development, including a discussion of the role of policymaking institutions in shaping the transition debate and limiting potential outcomes.

This book gives an interesting overview of cutting edge thinking in the field and an outline of some of the potential pathways that transition may take.

Alex James, MIEMA, director at Brite Green

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