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Past. Present. Future.

The Sustainability Revolutionists:      Heroes and Hope for Our Common Future


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                 Building an Emerald City:                       A Guide to Creating Green Building           Policies and Programs

Island Press

Available from Book People or Amazon 

This book is for you if, like thousands of others, you realize that sustainability’s moment has finally come. Hope is one of sustainability’s critical components. The book delivers a hearty serving of optimism about our ability to achieve a sustainable future. Shifting our world from its current unsustainable path will require a revolution of hearts, minds, and bodies. It will take people from every corner of the planet, at every level, from the grassroots to those in power, to be a part of the change.

One of sustainability’s biggest challenges is that there are still many among us who are left out of the story. This book serves up sustainability as an integrative, inclusive concept, reliant upon solutions that address and balance environmental, social, and economic needs. These three key pillars represent the widely recognized framework for sustainability, and the book’s central organizing concept. 

The Sustainability Revolutionists delivers a masterclass in one of today’s most elusive concepts. Learn the deeper meanings of sustainability through the powers of story. This collection of tales, surrounding a pantheon of relatable revolutionist super-heroes, draws a roadmap to guide you through a challenging subject. Revolutionists are special people. They are the change-makers who don’t take no for an answer, and who march to the beat of a different drummer. Revolutions tend to be messy endeavors, but without them we’d be forever stuck in the past, chained to realities that no longer serve us.

Riding on a rich menu of stories, researched with extensive notes, an imaginary dinner party brings three historical revolutionist figures around the author’s dinner table. Renowned explorer Jacques Cousteau provides a foundation in environmental sustainability. Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop retail chain, offers lessons in economic sustainability. The heartbeat of social sustainability appears in the trials and triumphs of legendary labor organizer César Chávez.   

Sustainability is a journey. The Sustainability Revolutionists takes you on an unforgettable trip, full of faraway places and inspiring people. Based in research and reporting, these stories of sustainability in action provide new perspectives for tackling the challenging times we live in. With equal measures of wisdom and hope, this book is a manifesto for the Sustainability Revolution.


In 2000, Seattle, Washington, became the first U.S. city to officially adopt the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) “Silver” standards for its own major construction projects. In the midst of a municipal building boom, it set new targets for building and remodeling to LEED guidelines. Its first LEED certified project, the Seattle Justice Center, was completed in 2002. The city is now home to one of the highest concentrations of LEED buildings in the world.

Building an Emerald City is the story of how Seattle transformed itself into a leader in sustainable “green” building, written by one of the principal figures in that transformation. It is both a personal account—filled with the experiences and insights of an insider—and a guide for anyone who wants to bring about similar changes in any city. It includes “best practice” models from municipalities across the nation, supplemented by the contributions of “guest authors” who offer stories and tips from their own experiences in other cities.

Intended as a “roadmap” for policy makers, public officials and representatives, large-scale builders and land developers, and green advocates of every stripe, Building an Emerald City is that rare book—one that is both inspirational and practical.

Order it here.

                 The Rise of the                     Chief Sustainability Officer
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