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The Monterey List: Growing toward a sustainable future for ourselves and for the planet.

Preservationism is obsolete.
Sustainability and reintegration with nature are no longer optional.
The paradigm shift begins here.

This timely and provocative book reframes the discussion of environmental issues in a way that fits them more successfully to the world we inhabit in the 21st century. We face an immense array of problems - global climate change, water and energy shortages, mass extinctions, and the general decay caused by carrying capacity overshoot, to name just a few. Anxieties brought on by these problems have been exploited by politicians, who have used them to consolidate power and wealth within a tiny fraction of the population. Many of the protections won in the last century are being rolled back; ideologies have taken hold that threaten not only our existing environmental regulations, but the very idea of regulation itself.


Arrayed against these forces is an environmental movement whose philosophical underpinnings have not changed much since the 1890s. It is based primarily on the concept of preservation - the belief that nature is a thing apart from us, which requires our protection to survive. Preservation is an emotionally satisfying idea, but it is of little use against mass extinctions or water and food shortages, and it is of no use at all against climate change and carrying capacity overshoot. It is time for environmental activists to switch their emphasis from preservation to sustainability. This will require a deep paradigm shift. We must stop seeing nature as "a thing apart from us" and begin seeing it as "everything, including us." Nature is not just pretty places to visit on vacations; nature is our support system. Protecting it is a necessary precondition for our own survival.


"The Monterey List" originated as an actual list made in a Monterey, California hotel room one November night in 1997. The items on the list are all short observations pertaining to sustainable living on this planet, couched as aphorisms, mostly made up on the spot; the aphorisms have been rearranged into a coherent order, expanded into essays, grouped into chapters, and collected in this book. The paradigm shift begins here.


"An amazing beautiful book of wise koans, warnings and instructions for a new relationship with nature."
-- John Darling, Ashland (Oregon) Daily Tidings