Ecocultures: Blueprints for Sustainable Communities, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover


Blueprints for Sustainable Communities, 1st Edition

Edited by Steffen Böhm, Zareen Pervez Bharucha, Jules Pretty


296 pages | 35 B/W Illus.

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The world faces a ‘perfect storm’ of social and ecological stresses, including climate change, habitat loss, resource degradation and social, economic and cultural change. In order to cope with these, communities are struggling to transition to sustainable ways of living that improve well-being and increase resilience. This book demonstrates how communities in both developed and developing countries are already taking action to maintain or build resilient and sustainable lifestyles. These communities, here designated as ‘Ecocultures’, are exemplars of the art and science of sustainable living. Though they form a diverse group, they organise themselves around several common organising principles including an ethic of care for nature, a respect for community, high ecological knowledge, and a desire to maintain and improve personal and social wellbeing.

Case studies from both developed and developing countries including Australia, Brazil, Finland, Greenland, India, Indonesia, South Africa, UK and USA, show how, based on these principles, communities have been able to increase social, ecological and personal wellbeing and resilience. They also address how other more mainstream communities are beginning to transition to more sustainable, resilient alternatives. Some examples also illustrate the decline of ecocultures in the face of economic pressures, globalisation and climate change. Theoretical chapters examine the barriers and bridges to wider application of these examples. Overall, the volume describes how ecocultures can provide the global community with important lessons for a wider transition to sustainability and will show how we can redefine our personal and collective futures around these principles.


"Ecocultures: Blueprints for Sustainable Communities is a much needed antidote to the many illnesses now pervading the planet. The earth is unwell and its temperature is rising. The contributors to Ecocultures give us good medicine and demonstrate that healthy cultures mean healthy people and a healthy earth."Glenn Albrecht, environmental philosopher, former Professor of Sustainability, Murdoch University, Perth, Western Australia.

"This book contributes novel perspectives on existing and emerging ecocultures across the world, offering hope and pathways for a more sustainable future."Peggy F. Barlett, Goodrich C. White Professor of Anthropology, Emory University, USA; Co-editor, Sustainability in Higher Education: Stories and Strategies for Transformation and Editor, Urban Place: Reconnecting with the Natural World.

"The contexts for the concerns of Ecocultures is the global polycrisis of ecological despoliation and human social inequalities. But this is not a despairing account of inevitable demise. Instead, the authors, drawing on the perspectives, practices and wisdom of traditional and emerging ecocultures across the globe, explore the possibilities of an interlinked Three Rs – Revisioning, Reconnection and Rebraiding – to achieve new ways of human wellbeing lived within and with a new planetary wellbeing. Ecocultures is a magnificent contribution to present debates about, and practices of, environmental ethics."Garry Marvin, Professor of Human-Animal Studies, University of Roehampton, London, UK.

Table of Contents

Part 1: Established Ecocultures

1. Ecocultures: Towards Sustainable Ways of Living

Steffen Böhm, Zareen Pervez Bharucha and Jules Pretty

2. Maritime Ecocultures: Bajau Communities of Eastern Indonesia

Julian Clifton

3. Ice Fishing Cultures of North Karelia, Finland: The Case of Puruvesi Winter Seining

Tero Mustonen

4. Environmental Knowledge in Motion: Ingenuity and Perseverance of Hunters among North Greenland

Naotaka Hayashi

5. Resilience and Returning to Country: Rainforest Aboriginal People of the Wet Tropics of Queensland, Australia

Leanne Cullen-Unsworth and Marilyn Wallace

6. Changing with the Seasons: How Himalayan Communities Cope with Climate Change

Chicu Lokgariwar

Part 2: Emerging Ecocultures

7. "Distant Music of the Future": Lessons from Lynedoch EcoVillage, Stellenbosch, South Africa

Eve Annecke

8. Social-ecological Resilience at São José Ecovillage, South Brazil

Leopoldo Cavaleri Gerhardinger, Gustavo C.M. Martins, Alexandre Paulo Teixeira Moreira, Cristian Curti and Cristiana Simão Seixas

9. The Evolution of Eco Detroit

Jacob Corvidae

10. Promoting Home Energy Retrofitting to Combat Climate Change: The Case of Bristol Green Doors

Jane Hindley

11. Living Ecocultures of the Great Transition

Larch Maxey

Part 3: The Future for Ecocultures

12. Ecocultures of Transition: New, Traditional and Alternative Ways of Living in the ‘Adjacent Possible’

Steve Quilley

13. Ecocultural Assemblages in the Urbanizing Global South

Mark Swilling

14. Ecocultures: Lesson Learnt and Paths into the Future

Steffen Böhm, Zareen Pervez Bharucha and Jules Pretty

About the Editors

Steffen Böhm is Director of the Essex Sustainability Institute and Professor in Management and Sustainability at the University of Essex, Colchester, UK.

Zareen Pervez Bharucha is Senior Research Officer in the Department of Sociology, University of Essex and a member of the Essex Sustainability Institute.

Jules Pretty is Professor of Environment and Society and Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Essex.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
NATURE / Environmental Conservation & Protection
NATURE / Natural Resources
SCIENCE / Environmental Science