October 24, 2016

A Blueprint for Survival – a review

This brief review of A Blueprint for Survival by Mark Anslow was published in The Ecologist, July 2007, in the “Classic book club” section – “Revisiting the books that shaped the environmental movement”.

Reading A Blueprint for Survival written by Ecologist founder Edward Goldsmith [with Robert Allen and colleagues], is at once incredibly refreshing and incredibly exasperating.

Refreshing because his grasp of global social and environmental problems is so piercingly accurate and concisely written, exasperating because this is a collection of wisdom published over 30 years ago, upon which the world has still failed to act.

Like a lone Cassandra, Goldsmith sings of the perils of runaway economic growth, the insanity of built-in obsolescence and throwaway products, the contamination of our food chains with pesticides, the failure of over-fertilised crops, the fragmentation of our social networks, and our extravagant use of energy.

All of this while ‘climate change’ was just one of the seven plagues whispered by bearded visionaries in the corridors of Greenpeace.

It is hard to underestimate the Blueprint’s impact. First published as an issue of The Ecologist, it led to the formation of the Green Party (initially known as the Ecology Party), it rocked the establishment, and gave a fledging environmental movement one of its early gospels.

Few works of non-fiction, 35 years after their publication, can challenge the status quo quite as well as this.


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