First Green member of New South Wales Legislative Council in 1995.
This book is a wakeup call - one can only hope that the emerging generation take time to read it and set themselves on a path to Save the Planet.
Beyond the Limits cuts through. This book is a racy guide to the impending catastrophe of 'business as usual' and a timely reminder that a mass awakening is needed to save this fragile planet of ours. Tom delves into past efforts and provides a valuable Green print for the future.
From the opening chapter 'Why Bother?' through to a hard-hitting assessment of the vital importance of an eco centric culture for our very survival, Tom postulates bold theses that are a challenge for all who care to think beyond the square. To paraphrase Manning Clarke: the time of the straighteners is over - it is time for the enlargers of life to have their say *. Tom calls on all to become one of those 'enlargers of life' and only in their multitudes will they/we succeed in changing the destructive course humanity has steered for this planet.
Tom calls for activism and in the political arena puts hope but not absolute trust in the Green political movement. This movement is at an early stage and not automatically destined to 'save the planet’ because of the potential pitfalls of self-interest and control by the old industrial left. Tom calls it for what it is and sends out a timely reminder that the price of democracy is constant vigilance - or the best of an organisation's original intentions can succumb to self-interest and destructive consciousness. Tom comments, not in a way to win friends but to cut to the point.
"Ideological sleepwalking by small numbers of 'true believers' can control meeting agendas, the election of office bearers and committee members and determine the outcome of discussions". At all levels we need to be constantly vigilant. This book is a wakeup call - one can only hope that the emerging generation take time to read it and set themselves on a path to Save the Planet, not a bad pastime at all.
* Or as Manning Clark puts it in History of Australia: "This generation has a chance to be wiser than previous generations. They can make their own history. With the end of the domination by the straighteners the enlargers of life now have their chance."
Norman Thompson PhD
Founding Director of Democracy4Sale Research Project
Tom Jagtenberg has written an excellent and frightening book about the possible devastation of our planet by the climate change we are currently experiencing.
He has carefully analyzed the problems we face in making a positive response to this crisis focusing on economic, social, political and population issues involved. This book is a "must read" for all people wanting to save our planet.
Byron Bay (Past Secretary of Byron Greens)
I have read much about Climate Change and the politics of the environment. I wish I could say that I believed those books would have widespread impact.
But one book tells the full story - Beyond the Limits: A Planet in Crisis - AND it includes an incisive analysis of the possibility of political solutions in Australia. Indeed the arguments are so clear that it's probable that our political systems are set up to preclude effective action to mitigate and reverse disastrous climate change. Be informed and ponder what steps we might take to be effective in this battle to persuade others and our politicians of the urgency.
Mullumbimby (Past Convenor of Byron Greens and prize winning historical fiction writer; author of The White Divers of Broome (NSW Premier’s Award for History, and the WA Premier’s Literary Award for Non-fiction), The Lost German Slave Girl, Mr Stuart's Track, and Jefferson's Second Father.
I admired your book very much.
It seemed to me that the reader was getting two books for the price of one: first on the environmental threat to our earth including by climate change, and then a commentary on the ability of Green parties, here and overseas to do anything about it. You raised so many important issues, without descending to glib solutions. I was particularly pulled up by your comment on p. 86 that it was Gore’s view that only the US can save us. Interesting thought!
Also the optimistic thoughts of Paul Gilding (whom is I believe the brother of the Macadamia Castle man) were challenging (and wrong in my view).
I also loved you choice of quotes, especially on p. 112 & 113.
I agree with your assessment of the Greens on p. 257 and following. Thank you for writing Beyond the Limits.
Your list on p. 326 should be given to all environmentalists.
Manna Heart is a practicing ecologist, horticulturalist, breeder of horses and talented sculptor. She lives with her partner on a farm in Northern NSW.
Did you ever have a sense that our collective progress with protecting the environment at the legislative level is painfully slow?
Tom Jagtenberg’s latest book, Beyond the Limits: A Planet in Crisis, explains the three ‘wicked’ problems we face, the difficulties with Greens policy in NSW, and proposes some positive and radical solutions. All members of the party are likely to find the book interesting, and anyone else considering political the aspects of solutions for global warming. Each problem is wicked because it has no easy or obvious solution. The three issues are: accelerating population increase, capitalism with its dependence on endless growth but finite resources, and the fact of global warming rapidly reaching an exponential and critical threshold. Each exacerbates the others. The prospects look very grim and yet Jagtenberg believes that there is reason to be optimistic if we can agree on a means to achieving legislation to protect the environment. Only a person like Jagtenberg, a former Senior Lecturer in Sociology (at Wollongong University), could accomplish the breadth and depth of research that backs up the insights, premises, and conclusions he proposes. He investigates why, knowing the science and the evidence, the majority of professionals and society still resist making the changes necessary to slow and halt global warming. Solutions must be found which can engage everyone in the task of cooperation. A compassionate approach to reducing the suffering of humanity is not possible without clean air, water, soils and shrinking population. Capitalism could survive with decreasing profits by becoming more innovative with green technology and development.
Finally, Jagtenberg proposes a change of emphasis for the Greens Party: a centrist fiscal approach and every policy re-written to support eco-centric goals. It is pragmatic. Yes, this centrist approach is likely to infuriate both the socialists and the conservatives. But the majority of voters probably would prefer the middle ground, and so that is where significant votes for the Greens can be won. In the long term, protecting the planet is the only way to ensure that people and ecosystems have the means to support life, and a green approach will be the only way that business can make a living. Jagtenberg writes well. The book is easy to read, careful in logic and evidence, and rich in detail. It leaves the reader with a clear understanding of the difficulties we face, and a hope that there is indeed a practical way to create positive change.