Book review: Vital signs: the trends that are shaping our future (volume 21)

10th April 2015

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  • Natural resources ,
  • Waste ,
  • Pollution & Waste Management


Elizabeth Tierney

The Worldwatch Institute/$21.99/ISBN: 978-1-61091-539-7

The annual Vital signs from The Worldwatch Institute is targeted at policymakers, planners and environmental advocates – us!

Presented in a concise, digestible format, it delivers global trends information on selected key issues on which most IEMA members would wish to be updated. From energy, transport, food, resources and conflicts to societal trends, it clearly presents data essential to maintaining currency and credibility to those involved in promoting the transition to sustainable business and economy.

In 2012, the book tells us, global fossil fuel subsidies were on a par with global military spend (itself second highest); world car production was at a record at 67 million; the capacity of decommissioned nuclear plants topped 50GW, while only seven new plants, with a combined capacity of 6.9GW, were built; and the cost of solar photovoltaic panels fell 80% as support for renewables continued to grow. Most indicators concern continuing growth as pressure continues to increase on natural resources. Typically, UK contribution and performance are included.

This book provides an excellent analysis of the challenges that society faces, and is a valuable tool in the development of solutions applicable to organisations seeking a framework that is sustainable in terms of ecological and human health.

Dave Stanley, director at e3.


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