Environmentalists have been demanding change in the name of sustainability for more than four decades: from the renewed neo-Malthusianism of the 1970s to the green economy optimism of the first decade of the twenty-first century; from spaceship earth to ‘earth plc’. So why do we need drastic change now, just as the world is getting comfortable with the idea of sustainability? Surely we are all environmentalists now?

“I know of no good reason for anyone to be optimistic about the human future.”

                                                                                                                 David Orr1

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