Sustainability guide promotes a cleaner future

Anyone wishing to embrace green, ethical and healthy living next year may be helped by a new guide, The Sustainable Ireland Source…

Anyone wishing to embrace green, ethical and healthy living next year may be helped by a new guide, The Sustainable Ireland Source Book 2000.

It promises more than 1,000 "solution-driven" initiatives, products and services to enhance health, promote social justice and help those who wish to live in a more sustainable way.

Sustainability has many definitions but it is increasingly likely to drive environmental policy over coming decades and, in turn, health policy.

It has been defined as seeking to "improve the quality of human life without undermining the quality of our natural environment. It therefore embraces social, economic and environmental issues and recognises that none should be in conflict with the other".


Most of the ideas in the guide have been developed over the past 30 years as awareness of the effects of human activities on the environment has grown, according to Mr Davie Philip, who edited the book with Mr Caoimhin Woods.

"A sustainable lifestyle does not require a return to a pre-industrial society but a new approach to the future that integrates indigenous wisdom, natural healthcare and beneficial technology."

Ideas such as eco-design (a form of "green" construction) and permaculture (a system of farming closely mimicking natural ecosystems) are relatively new, but they have enjoyed rapid growth, they contend, because of their accessibility and community focus.

The book's credibility is enhanced by introductions to topics such as renewable energy, community development, organic foods, holistic health treatments and biotechnology from prominent - and often radical - thinkers under each heading; from within the Irish context and on the international stage.

These include the Third World campaigner Martin Khor; the economist Richard Douthwaite; the self-sufficiency guru John Seymour; the environmentalist George Monbiot; the food-writer and cook Darina Allen; and the post-modern theologian Matthew Fox.

The guide features businesses and individuals working in ways considered sustainable, whether it be wind farms, eco-villages or stress management. It also considers Ireland's position on issues such as climate change, pollution, biological patents and fair trade.

In an introduction, the Columban missionary and chairman of Voice environmental group, Father Sean McDonagh, says the world is waking up to the consequences of human activity which is now threatening the survival of many of the Earth's creatures, mankind included.

"We can only turn back the tide by pursuing fundamentally different policies across a wide range of human activities."

Source Book 2000, published by Source Media, retails at £5.99 and is available in bookshops and newsagents. Copies can be ordered from Source Media, 166 Lower Rathmines Road, Dublin 6. Tel: (01) 491-1711.

To obtain further information on Sustainable Ireland contact:

Kevin O'Sullivan is contactable at kosullivan@irish-

Kevin O'Sullivan

Kevin O'Sullivan

Kevin O'Sullivan is Environment and Science Editor and former editor of The Irish Times