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Planet U Paperback – Jul 30 2009

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: New Society Publishers; 1 edition (July 30 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0865715572
  • ISBN-13: 978-0865715578
  • Product Dimensions: 19.3 x 1.8 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 590 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #921,177 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


Planet U places the university at the forefront of the sustainability movement. Questioning the university's ability to equip society to deal with today's serious challenges such as economic growth, democratic citizenship and planetary survival, it calls for a new social movement to take a lead in reforming the university - the world's largest industry.

The book reviews the university's 900-year history from medieval religious philosopher, to Renaissance nation-builder, to its modern function as training grounds for the world's managerial class and the world's largest industry. It examines diverse campus initiatives across North America and Europe and their traditional concerns of green buildings, renewable energy and transportation demand management. But it also demonstrates the promise for social and ecological progress open to the "planetary university" once the university takes its place seriously and discovers its new mission: to create diverse models of local and global innovation centered around tough new questions about what universities - and their societies - can achieve:

  • How might the university help move us to a post-automobile, energy-saving society?
  • How might universities help refashion the city to be sustainable?
  • How might universities be governed for sustainability?

Lively, engaging and perfectly timed for the UN Decade for Sustainability in Education launched in 2005, Planet U will have wide appeal.


About the Author

Michael M'Gonigle, Professor and Eco-Research Chair of Environmental Law and Policy at the University of Victoria, is a co-founder of Greenpeace International and has published widely on sustainability issues.

Justine Starke is a Research Associate in the POLIS Project on Ecological Governance at the University of Victoria.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
In this wonderful engaging book Michael M'Gonigle and Justine Starke bring their copious knowledge of the University of Victoria, its history, culture, structure, and potential, to bear on an engagement with both the history of universities in general, and their possible future. The result is a book which challenges and rewards the reader by combining cutting edge environmental innovation (both in engineering and governance) with a thorough and altogher enjoyable presentation of the university's people and history.

Importantly, this is more than a book about the University of Victoria, in British Columbia, Canada; it is more than a book about universities, although much is learned about them through this book; it is an odessy which takes seriously our present ecologically precarious situation on this planet with an eye to showing how universities can be transformative spaces of learning and action which create wonderful future possibilities and realities.

If you are interested in Universities, Institutional Governance, Local Activism, Ecological Building and Planning: including green energy, waste water recycling and more; Learning and Teaching or desire to read a positive yet realistic book that challenges you to see the world in a new (and hopefull!) light, then this book is for you.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.6 out of 5 stars 5 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The university as sustainability catalyst Sept. 2 2007
By P. Osmond - Published on
Format: Paperback
A useful and practical roadmap for positioning universities not only to address the unsustainable impacts of their own activities, but to catalyse broader "triple bottom line" sustainability interventions across society. Readers outside the USA and Canada should note that this book is very North America-centric; however, many of the lessons from the case studies presented therein can be generalised and applied in other national contexts.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A rare breed June 15 2006
By J. Biggar - Published on
Format: Paperback
This book is a rare breed. Few books come along and ask us to look at our social landscape in a completely new way. The ones that do offer us new strategies for making real change.

Planet U does both of those things. After reading this book you will never think of universities in the same way.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book; very timely given what's happening with food at universities Aug. 17 2014
By wayne roberts - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent book and deserves lots of attention, even now when it's a bit dated. The central point, as I read it, is that there is enormous power in universities to use their purchasing power to leverage positive social and environmental change.
The challenge the book puts out there is that we always imagine ourselves as powerless in this era of global corporations, but the reality is that we have access to power but don't use a fraction of it.
The book is well-written and the argument is based on lots of evidence and stories. It's blissfully short on academic mumbojumbo.
In my own book, The No-Nonsense Guide to World Food, I rely on it to present a major theme of the food movement -- the existence of public sector purchasing as a major force and major step forward for support of local and sustainable food.
The food movement is now alive and well throughout the university world ( a trend that followed this book, and needs to be covered in an update).
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars good textbook Feb. 11 2011
By Andrew Kucel - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Rhis is an insightful book about environmentl/conservational efforts somey college campuses have done to try to become more sustainable. Not as bland as any old textbook
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Speedy deliever. Great shape. June 14 2010
By Justin Myers - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Book was received promptly and was in great shape, as stated. would buy from again.