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"Environmentalism Unbound is a powerful reinterpretation of environmentalism and a trenchant
critique of established environmental organizations and the environmental justice movement. Filled
with historical insight and practical wisdom, the book serves as a road map for revitalizing America's
most important social movements, bringing urban issues, industrial development, the hazards of
work, and efforts to achieve livable communities to the center of the debate about society's relation
to the natural world. A tough, profoundly inspiring, and optimistic book." --Carl Anthony, Urban
Habitat Program and the San Francisco Bay Area Alliance for Sustainable Development
In Environmentalism Unbound, Robert Gottlieb proposes a new strategy for social and
environmental change that involves reframing and linking the movements for environmental justice
and pollution prevention. According to Gottlieb, the environmental movement's narrow conception
of environment has isolated it from vital issues of everyday life, such as workplace safety, healthy
communities, and food security, that are often viewed separately as industrial, community, or
agricultural concerns. This fragmented approach prevents an awareness of how these issues are also
After tracing a history of environmental perspectives on land and resources, city and countryside,
and work and industry, Gottlieb focuses on three compelling examples of this new approach to
social and environmental change. The first involves a small industry (dry cleaning) and the debate
over pollution prevention approaches; the second involves a set of products (janitorial cleaning
supplies) that may be hazardous to workers; and the third explores the obstacles and opportunities
presented by community or regional approaches to food supply in the face of an increasingly
globalized food system.
About the Author
Robert Gottlieb is Henry R. Luce Professor of Urban and Environmental Policy at Occidental
College and Director of the Urban and Environmental Policy Institute. He is the editor of the MIT
Press Urban and Industrial Environments series.
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