The Bridge at the Edge of the World

The Bridge at the Edge of the World

March 28, 2008

With mounting evidence that global warming, natural resource depletion and other effects have ramped up in with Americans' need to constantly consume, even active environmentalists like Gus Speth can't seem to do enough to stop the earth's rapid destruction. In his latest book, A Bridge at the Edge of the World, Speth posits that, in order to sustain a livable environment for generations to come, our culture of rabid consumerism must change.

It's important to point out that Speth isn't advocating Marxism or railing against capitalism in and of itself. Instead, Speth takes issue with America's constant push to always have more. He argues that this push to grow and consume relentlessly is incompatible with sustaining the environment as well as social well-being.

In The Bridge at the Edge of the World, Speth presents bold solutions to problems that go deeper than simply environmental issues. As he asserts, the environment is tied to so many other aspects of our existence, including our health, security and community. With so much at stake, Speth proposes transforming the status quo by:

  • Holding corporations accountable for their actions
  • Re-focusing our obsession with GDP growth to concentrate on ways to promote healthy, sustainable growth such as universal access to quality health care and education
  • Relying less on materialism as a measure of success and happiness
  • Changing the market to one that works with the environment, not against it
  • Acknowledging that environmental policy should be connected to issues of humanity in order to be complete

Speth recognizes that the dramatic changes he proposes might be overwhelming in our current period of economic uncertainty. But he remains hopeful that there are others, particularly young people, motivated to bring about this transformation.

Speth warns that a culture fueled by consumption is the passageway to destruction. The Bridge at the Edge of the World offers a solution that steers us away from catastrophe and toward a sustainable future.