Are there practical solutions to the many global challenges–climate change, poverty, insufficient healthcare–that threaten our way of life? Author John Thackara has spent a lifetime roving the globe in search of design that serves human needs. In this clear-eyed but ultimately optimistic book, he argues that, in our eagerness to find big technological solutions, we have all too often ignored the astonishing creativity generated when people work together and in harmony with the world around them.
Drawing on an inspiring range of examples, from a temple-led water management system in Bali that dates back hundreds of years to an innovative e-bike collective in Vienna, Thackara shows that below the radar of the mainstream media there are global communities creating a replacement economy–one that nurtures the earth and its inhabitants rather than jeopardizing its future–from the ground up. Each chapter is devoted to a concern all humans share–land and water management, housing, what we eat, what we wear, our health, how and why we travel–and demonstrates that it is possible to live a rich and fulfilling life based on stewardship rather than exploitation of the natural environment.