For the past two decades, scientists have urged us to abandon fossil fuels as rapidly as possible and pursue a range of other environmental reforms to avert the many crises climate change will bring. The reforms have not occurred at the expected rate, and their absence raises questions about when they might occur. In Shocks, States, and Sustainability, Thomas K. Rudel addresses this question. He outlines a theory of environmental revolutions and when they will likely occur through a comparison of radical environmental reforms throughout the 20th century. By looking at farmers in the American Dust Bowl, land-use planners in post-war England, small farmers in post-Soviet Cuba, and lobster fishers along the coast of Maine, Rudel emphasizes how sudden focusing events can spur radical reforms by providing a fresh realization about the scarcity of natural resources. Shocks, States, and Sustainability explains how earth-shaking events like droughts, depressions, and wars can provide the foundations necessary for the pursuit of global sustainability.
About the Author
Thomas K. Rudel is Distinguished Professor Emeritus in the Departments of Human Ecology and Sociology at Rutgers University.