1st Edition

What Can I Do to Help Heal the Environmental Crisis?

By Haydn Washington Copyright 2020
    256 Pages 5 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    256 Pages 5 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The culmination of over three decades of writing by environmental scientist and writer Haydn Washington, this book examines the global environmental crisis and its solutions.

    Many of us know that something is wrong with our world, that it is wounded. At the same time, we often don’t know why things have gone wrong – or what can be done. Framing the discussion around three central predicaments – the ecological, the social, and the economic – Washington provides background as to why each of these are in crisis and presents steps that individuals can personally take to heal the world. Urging the reader to accept the reality of our problems, he explores practical solutions for change such as the transition to renewable energy, rejection of climate denial and the championing of appropriate technology, as well as a readjustment in ethical approaches. The book also contains 19 ‘solution boxes’ by distinguished environmental scholars.

    With a focus on positive, personal solutions, this book is an essential read for students and scholars of environmental science and environmental philosophy, and for all those keen to heal the world and contribute towards a sustainable future.

    List of figures and boxes

    Biographies of box authors

    Foreword 'Scorched Earth' by William Rees



    1. Our predicament: why we need to heal the world

    2. A healing worldview and ethics

    3. Reality, limits, denial and growthism

    4. The tragedy of denial of overpopulation denial 

    5. Transform society's assumptions

    6. Appropriate technology tempered by humility

    7. Reinvent and rejuvinate yourself: reject hubris

    8. Be in place, don’t own it

    9. Listen and wonder

    10. Is collapse coming?

    11. Seek to heal: the ‘Great Work’ of ten key solutions

    Conclusion - healing our world

    Ideas for educational exercises



    Haydn Washington is an environmental scientist and writer of over 40 years’ experience. He is currently an Adjunct Lecturer at the Pangea Research Centre, School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of New South Wales, Australia. He is the author of seven books on environmental issues, including Climate Change Denial: Heads in the Sand (2011 with John Cook), Human Dependence on Nature (2013), Demystifying Sustainability (2015) and A Sense of Wonder Towards Nature (2018).

    'Haydn Washington shows that everyone has several vital roles to play in the coming transition. Leadership is critical – each of us must: a) strive to be a model and catalytic inspiration for others, and b) become a well-informed active participant in the political process.' – William Rees, University of British Columbia, Canada

    'Haydn Washington continues to build his series of environmental analyses, here featuring the theme of healing – from Earth global picture to local "What can I do?". He challenges us, as he does himself, in the struggle to be honest with ourselves on our landscapes. Confronting overshoot, escalating growth, consumption, technology, and inequity, we face a broken society, a broken economy, a wounded nature. At this unprecedented point in world history, we must reinvent ourselves to re-enchant our wonderland Earth.' – Holmes Rolston III, University Distinguished Professor, Colorado State University, USA

    'Haydn Washington has done it again! This time he has built upon a spate of previously published and wide-read books on the wonder of nature, our dependence upon nature, sustainability demystified, steady-state economics, overcoming climate change denial, and a future beyond growth to write the worried citizen’s guide to restoring a healthy planet. What Can I Do to Help Heal the Environmental Crisis? offers can-do analysis and achievable prescriptions for eco-citizens becoming part of the solution to our ecological crisis mired in worsening global warming, growing unsustainable practices, and mounting ecological scarcities. While not for the faint of heart or for those with their heads in the sand, this work is in many ways the consummation of this environmental scientist and writer’s lifework dedicated to confronting our environmental predicament, and refusing to give in to cynicism and despair. His hope is our hope – and that of those who come after us.' – Ernest J. Yanarella, University of Kentucky, USA

    'At a time when more people than ever are suffering from solastalgia – mental distress brought on by seemingly unstoppable environmental change – this book is an indispensable natural medicine. It turns out that there is much we can all do to pry open the fingers of the human choke-hold on the natural world. Washington offers a practical guide to realistic actions everyone can take. And if everyone does, we might actually heal both our solastalgia and the Earth itself." – Robert Engelman, Senior Fellow with the Population Institute and the Worldwatch Institute, USA

    "The human enterprise’s unraveling of the tapestry of life is analogous to watching a train wreck in slow motion. Washington provides a factually solid assessment of changes needed if future generations are to survive. With its cogent arguments, this book will help those concerned with sustaining life on Earth.' – Colin L. Soskolne, University of Alberta, Canada

    'Haydn Washington's new book forms an excellent segue to his previous volumes reflecting upon the root causes of unsustainability, the need for urgent reform, both in political/social/economic systems, and in ethics. Washington's book underlines the necessity to heal the world ridden by environmental problems, ranging from biodiversity loss to climate change, and providing excellent ideas of the ways forward.' – Helen Kopnina, Hague University of Applied Science, The Netherlands

    'How have we come to our current predicament? Is there a way out? Haydn Washington offers clear analysis on how we got here and concrete steps on how each and every one of us can help heal our wounded Earth.' – Erik Assadourian, Senior Fellow, Worldwatch Institute, USA