In his previous book, the well-received and often-quoted Agenda for a Sustainable America (2009), John Dernbach made more than a hundred recommendations for making the United States more environmentally sustainable. Yet it is increasingly clear that the modest progress made by the United States since the Earth Summit in 1992 is not caused by the absence of specific and feasible policy recommendations. What we need to do is well known. How we are going to do it is much less clear.
Acting as if Tomorrow Matters is a guide to making the United States environmentally sustainable. It is based on the views of more than four dozen nationally known experts in a variety of fields. Synthesizing answers to essential questions about sustainability, Dernbach provides an empirically based framework to explain the progress made in the United States to date on sustainability, including a description of the most significant obstacles to rapid and increased success. Building on the framework that has guided real progress so far, Dernbach explains in detail how to make a greater variety of more sustainable decisions even more attractive, how law can provide an even better enabling environment for sustainability, and how public opinion and leadership can more effectively be engaged to support sustainability. The book thus provides a checklist of ideas and opportunities for moving toward sustainable development-starting now.
"Acting as if Tomorrow Matters offers a sweeping review of America’s sustainability journey, tracking progress—and slippage—across a wide range of critical issues over the past 20 years. Even more powerfully, it charts a course toward a truly sustainable future, highlighting the advances in law, governance, incentives, education, and political mobilization that will be required."
- Daniel C. Esty, Hillhouse Professor of Environmental Law and Policy, Yale University
"From Rio '92 to Rio '12: America's pledge to achieve sustainability has been honored too often in the breach. The reasons for both failures and successes are many and complex, as are the tasks ahead. Acting as if Tomorrow Matters offers redemption and a vision of success."
- Paul R. Ehrlich, Bing Professor of Population Studies, Stanford University, and author of The Dominant Animal
"John Dernbach has been the leading chronicler of the 20-year quest for sustainability in the United States since the 1992 Rio Earth Summit. What Professor Dernbach has observed in the United States is reflective of what is going on around the world."
- Jacob Scherr, Director of Global Strategy and Advocacy, Natural Resources Defense Council