State of the World 2015
7 x 9.25
illustrations, tables, boxes
We think we understand environmental damage: pollution, water scarcity, a warming world. But these problems are just the tip of the iceberg. Food insecurity, financial assets drained of value by environmental damage, and a rapid rise in diseases of animal origin are among the underreported consequences of an unsustainable global system.
In State of the World 2015, the flagship publication of The Worldwatch Institute, experts explore hidden threats to sustainability and how to address them. How will nations deal with migration as climate change refugees cross borders in order to escape flooding, drought, or other extreme weather events? What will happen to the price and availability of fossil energy—the foundation of industrial civilization--as these resources oscillate between surplus and scarcity? If perpetual economic growth on a finite planet is impossible, what are the alternatives? Can national governments manage the transition? Eight key issues are addressed in depth, along with the central question of how we can develop resilience to these and other shocks.
For decades, The Worldwatch Institute has been a leader in identifying and analyzing emerging environmental threats. With the latest edition of State of The World, the authorities at Worldwatch bring to light challenges we can no longer afford to ignore.
"This well-written book makes a strong case for an urgent reduction in demands on resources such that Earth can remain a sustainable home for humanity...important observations are not accompanied by a 'wringing of hands' approach that is sometimes evident in environmental volumes, but instead a rational analysis of each sustainability threat is presented and a solution offered."
Quarterly Review of Biology
"The State of the World report has always been at the forefront of bringing new issues and new perspectives to wide public attention in the U.S. and abroad. Devastating findings about our world have been matched with exciting opportunities for action. For 30 years, there has been nothing quite like it, and now comes another major contribution in the series. The 2015 volume once again explores new territory, including, I am happy to see, an examination of whether GDP growth, as we now experience it in places like the United States, brings more costs than benefits. Overall, an extremely important contribution."
James Gustave Speth, Author, "America the Possible: Manifesto for a New Economy"
"Each year, we can count on State of the World for up-to-date research revealing critical issues of sustainability for our planet and its people. Get it if you want to understand emerging threats and new possibilities. Probably the best investment you will make in 2015!"
Mathis Wackernagel, President, Global Footprint Network
"State of the World lays out the essential knowledge of what is happening to the planet and the solutions we need to sustain civilization. A cutting-edge compass for a sustainable future: no leader should be without it."
Thomas E. Lovejoy, Professor of Environmental Science and Policy, George Mason University
"As the world has evolved over the past three decades, so has the annual State of the World report. This edition offers an even more systemic analysis than past ones, integrating finance into its snapshot of ecological and societal trends on Planet Earth. Everyone who cares about the overarching issues shaping our future should pay attention, as the warning lights on our dashboard are glowing."
Richard Heinberg, Senior Fellow, Post Carbon Institute
PART I. Introduction
Chapter 1. The Seeds of Modern Threats \ Michael Renner
PART II. Emerging Issues
Chapter 2. Energy, Credit, and the End of Growth \ Nathan John Hagens
Chapter 3. The Trouble with Growth \ Peter A. Victor and Tim Jackson
Chapter 4. Avoiding Stranded Assets \ Ben Caldecott
Chapter 5. Mounting Losses of Agricultural Resources \ Gary Gardner
Chapter 6. The Oceans: Resilience at Risk \ Katie Auth
Chapter 7. Whose Arctic Is it? \ Heather Exner-Pirot
Chapter 8. Emerging Diseases from Animals \ Catherine C. Machalaba, Elizabeth H. Loh, Peter Daszak, and William B. Karesh
Chapter 9. Migration as a Climate Adaption Strategy \ Françios Gemenne
PART III. Conclusion
Chapter 10. Childhood's End \ Tom Prugh
2-1 The Power of Fossil Slaves
2-2 Peak Oil, or Peak Benefits?
2-3 A Brief Guide to Fracking \ Robert Rapier
2-4 Oil Prices: Walking on a Wire
3-1 What is Economic Growth?
4-1 The Tentacles of Stranded Assets
4-2 Nature's Contributions to Healthy Economics
4-3 Tools for Retiring Assets
8-1 The Chain of Infection
9-1 Natural Disasters and Human Displacement: Recent Trends \ Michael Renner
1-1 World Metal Emissions to the Atmosphere, 1901-1990
1-2 Social, Economic, and Environmental Trends Between the First and Second Rio Earth Summits
1-3 Types of Unexpected Environmental Change
2-1 Costs of Human Labor versus Fossil "Labor"
4-1 Environmental-related Risks That Could Produce Stranded Assets
4-2 Direct Environmental Damage as a Share of Revenue for Select Economic Activities
5-1 Number of Countries and Populations Subject to Water Supply Challenges, 1962 versus 2011
5-2 Land Grabbed by Foreign Entities, by Region
5-3 Leading Investor and Target Countries for Land Investments
5-4 Number of Grain Importing and Exporting Countries, 1961 versus 2013
5-5 Potential Water Savings from Increases in Water Efficiency in Agriculture
5-6 Water Needed to Produce Various Types of Meat
6-1 Employment in Fisheries and Aquaculture in Selected African Countries, 2011
1-1 World Metals Production, 1950-2013
2-1 Global Energy Consumption and Population, 1830-2010
2-2 World Primary and Useful Energy Consumption versus GDP, 1980-2008
3-1 Material Footprint "Decoupling" in OECD Countries, 1991-2008
3-2 A Low/No Growth Scenario for Canada, 2005-2035
4-1 Time Horizons for Environmental-related Risks in Agriculture
5-1 Grain Import Dependence in Two Regions, 1960-2012
6-1 World Fisheries and Aquaculture Production, 1960-2012
7-1 Mean Increases in Global Surface Temperature by Latitude in 2008-2013, Compared to 1951-1980 Baseline
7-2 Average Arctic sea Ice Extent in September, 1979-2014
7-3 Prolongation of the Continental Shelf in the Arctic
9-1 Variations in Disasters and Population Movements
9-3 Climate Change Adaption and Migration
Did you see this week's blog post from The Worldwatch Institute about how urban communities are growing green spaces? As we look forward to the launch of State of the World: Can a City Be Sustainable? this spring, it's nice to take a look back at other editions of The Worldwatch Institute's flagship publication. In State of the World 2015: Confronting Hidden Threats to Sustainability, experts explore hidden threats to sustainability and how to address them. How will nations deal with migration as climate change refugees cross borders in order to escape flooding, drought, or other extreme weather events? What will happen to the price and availability of fossil energy—the foundation of industrial civilization--as these resources oscillate between surplus and scarcity? If perpetual economic growth on a finite planet is impossible, what are the alternatives? Can national governments manage the transition? Eight key issues are addressed in depth, along with the central question of how we can develop resilience to these and other shocks.
Check out an excerpt of the book below.
Katharine is the Publicity & Marketing Associate at Island Press.