Book Review: Gus Speth’s America the Possible

I read Gus Speth’s The Bridge at the Edge of the World: Capitalism, the Environment, and the Crossing from Crisis to Sustainability9780300180763(2008), before I met the man. I recall it ending on something of a down note, with an acknowledgment that the environmental movement had in many ways failed to fulfill its mission and a sense of “over to you next generation.” Fortunately, however, and to my great personal enrichment, Gus did not quit.

Like most environmentalists who came of age following the publication of Silent Spring, Gus no doubt underestimated the forces working against the interests of the planet, mostly the unintended consequences of an economic system whose destructive side effects we did not comprehend, or did not want to acknowledge. Gus’s brave and bold new book, America the Possible: Manifesto for a New Economy, confronts head-on the enormity of the challenge facing America. It is the unfolding of a powerful vision—grounded in a scientific understanding of the planet’s life support systems—for retaking our democracy, and restoring an economy in service of people by one of the true sages of the New Economy movement.—John Fullerton