Getting Down to Earth Getting Down to Earth
Practical Applications of Ecological Economics


Robert Costanza, Olman Segura, et al
Format: Soft Cover
Length: 494 pages
Publisher: Island Press
ISBN: 1559635037
Copyright: 1996

Achieving global sustainability will require the development and integration of three elements: a shared vision of what a sustainable society is; new methods of analysis and modeling to understand and describe that vision; and new institutions and instruments that can make the vision a reality. Getting Down to Earth examines these three elements and the importance of their integration for the creation of a sustainable world.

Drawing on materials from a workshop following the third international conference of the International Society for Ecological Economics, Getting Down to Earth brings together scientists, managers, and national and international policy makers to identify practical strategies for implementing sustainability based on ecological economic principles. The book:

  • Reexamines the status quo from biophysical as well as social perspectives.
  • Considers the collaborative process of developing a shared vision of a sustainable and desirable society.
  • Addresses the need for models that incorporate precepts of ecological economics.
  • Suggests institutional changes necessary for implementing the ecological economics vision of sustainability.
  • Illustrates the importance of social, economic, cultural, and ecological factors in achieving sustainability using case studies from Latin America.

Joining a shared vision of a sustainable and desirable world with adequate analysis and innovative implementation promises to be the "full package" necessary to achieve sustainability. Ecological economics, a transdisciplinary approach that focuses directly on the problems facing humanity and the life-supporting ecosystems on which we depend, is helping to foster the dialogue necessary to pull the package together and move toward newly articulated goals. Getting Down to Earth presents an important overview of the practical applications of ecological economics for students, researchers, faculty, and anyone interested in the development of a sustainable society.


“A rich collection of insights from many of the leading lights of the new ‘eco’-nomics, and a valuable aid to envisioning – and creating – a sustainable community.”
-- Sandra Postel, Director, Global Water Policy Project

“This book offers food for thought for theorists, policy makers, students, and activists. The authors provide vision, analysis, and means of implementation, and have brought together an extraordinary rich set of contributors to provide new ways to approach the critical issues of our time.”
-- Elinor Ostrom, Co-director of the Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis, and Arthur F. Bentley Professor of Political Science

“No single trend in academia is more cheering than the growing collaboration between ecologists and economics. Getting Down to Earth is a landmark in that trend, containing chapters by many of the leaders of ecological economics. The book will be of interest to concerned lay persons, and should be required reading for students of environmental science.”
-- Paul Ehrlich, Bing Professor of Population Studies, Stanford University

About the Editors

Robert Costanza is director of the International Society for Ecological Economics.

Olman Segura is professor at the National University of Costa Rica.

Juan Martinez-Alier is professor at the University at Autonoma in Barcelona, Spain.

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