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Island Press Staff Picks

This week is my staff pick. I'm Jason Leppig, the marketing manager at Island Press and I also edit this blog. I've been with Island Press for nearly six years and for part of that time I was pursuing a master's in natural resources from Virginia Tech. I took Dr. Brian Czech's Ecological Economics course and read Island Press' textbook on the subject. Although I had a limited background in economics, Ecological Economics, by Herman E. Daly and Joshua Farley, really opened my mind to an alternative way of thinking about our current economic system. The first edition, originally published in the pre economic-metldown days of 2004 was a sort of harbinger of what would happen to the world economy four years later. The ideas within the book aren't new. They've been around for decades; however, this book puts all of those ideas in one place. The chapter (chapter four from the revised and updated second edition) I'd like to share with everyone is: The Nature of Resources and the Resources of Nature. Simply put, this chapter explains how our current system does not play by the same laws that govern nearly ever other system known to humankind—that is, the laws of thermodynamics. Like a coming attraction at the end credits of a Hollywood blockbuster, I tacked on a great section at the end of chapter four on how money completely flaunts the laws of thermodynamics. Take heart, though, the book isn't all doom-and-gloom. It does lay the groundwork for policy and social change—it's up to us to put those changes into action. Enjoy and feel free to comment!