the third era

sustainable development and the race against climate change

by Beryl Magilavy contact

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Climate change

is the greatest threat ever faced by civilization, and its advent will create a major turning-point in history: a third era. The only hope for slowing it down?

Sustainable development

, a process already part of government in Europe for over fifteen years, is the only proven way of getting greenhouse gas emissions down. It results in a more equitable, prosperous society, in which taxpayers get their money's worth and politicians are answerable to the public.

Climate change—sustainable development—these themes, and the governance issues on which they are based, are explored in a book of conversations spanning places and eras, describing the achievements in sustainable development and implementation of the Agenda 21 process in Barcelona, Berlin, Hamburg, Paris, Siena, Stockholm, and Vienna. With ideas of Machiavelli as a framework definition of good government and how government works, the book discusses corruption, the climate-science denial conspiracy, the decline of investigative reporting, and lack of local democracy and government accountability.

From the table of contents

Life at the Top of the Palatine, Rome,
at the Dawn of the Second Era

Corruption in Business and Government - Institutional Inefficiency - Government that Operates for the Few, Rather than the Many - The Balance of Power between Social Classes - The Survival of Culture under New Conditions


A Diplomatic Dinner in Paris,
at the Dawn of the Third Era, the Beginning of Climate Change

The History and An Overview of the Science of Climate Change - Projections by the Met Office and the Stern Report - New Technology

more table of contents


Anti-corruption Consulting and a Flirtation in Berlin

Tools for Reducing Corruption - An Example of Corrupt Activity in Local Government


The Roman Quaestor and the Historian

The Importance of Local Government Participation - The Balance of Factions in a State - The Public Harm Done by Corruption - The Commonwealth as Most Stable Form of Government - The Power to Accuse and Impeach


Hansen for Lunch in Vienna

Vienna's History - Sustainable Development Defined and Its Debt to the Indians of the USA - The Distribution of Political Power in a City - Vienna's 1978 Anti‑nuclear Power Campaign


The Eiffel Tower at Sunset and a Walk on the Seine

Wrong and Incomplete Information Hampering Climate‑change Action - The Organized Effort to Deny the Science - The Need for Investigative Reporting - The GNP's Lack of Attention to the Social Value of Economic Expenditures


A Tutorial Stroll in Springtime, Vienna

The History of the Sustainable Development Movement - Accountability, Auditing, and a Participative Planning Process - International Agreements on Sustainable Development - Vienna's Sustainable Development Programs


Art and Skill in Government, at Lunch in Sienna

Sienna's History - ISO and EMAS Certification - Local Characterization of Greenhouse Gas Emissions - Didactic Civic Artwork - The Local Nature of the Climate Change Challenge - Machiavelli on History and Governance


In Renaissance Sienna,
Machiavelli's Observations on Government

The Balance between Factions - The Challenge of Establishing Civic Equality - Instituting Reform of a Corrupt Government - The Difficulties of Making Changes in the Way Government Is Run


A Disconcerting Encounter at the Roman Baths

Who Most Effectively Runs a City - The Importance of Long‑term Political Vision - The Broad Public as Decision‑makers - The Importance of Allies and of Follow‑up Assessments - Policy to Preserve the Environment


Dinner on the Left Bank: a Parisian Couple Reunited

The Paris Climate Action Plan - The Heat Wave that Caught Their Attention - The City's Agenda 21 Public Information Process - The Philosophic and Political Bases of the Planning Process and Its Implementation - Paris's Political and Social History - The Parisian Climate Agency - The Difference between the Climate Plan and the Agenda 21 Process


Berlin to Hamburg in a Mercedes, with Lunch

Hamburg's History - Allocating Funding for Climate Change - Sustainable Development Public Education Programs - The Cultural Underpinnings of Sustainable Development


Planning Colleagues' Lunch in a Siennese Villa Garden

Sienna's Political History - Adoption of the Aalborg Declarations - Public Information on Agenda 21 Issues, Particularly Agriculture and Tourism - Sienna's Progress Report on Sustainability Indicators - Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions


Dangerous Talk in Renaissance Florence
with the Medici Back in Control

The Power of the Individual versus Government - The Political Situation of the Northern Italian City‑States - The Nature of Political Repression - Whether a Prince or the People Are More to Be Trusted - Who Best Determines What Is in the Public Welfare - The Importance of a Shared Set of Civic Values


Conversation with the Empress in a Villa outside Rome

The Good of the Individual Inseparable from the Good of Society - Equity and Social Fairness, Peace, Social Cohesion, and Civility - Public Speaking and Logical Fallacies - The Dangers of Advertising - The Distraction of Celebrity - The Importance of Participation in Civic Life


Teaching the Tutor in Stockholm

Stockholm's History and Present Government - The Swedish Educational System - Stockholm's Program for Environmentally Friendly Building Materials - Agenda 21 Work on Public Education - Programs for Cutting Greenhouse‑gas Emissions


Old Friends Talk New Planning in Barcelona

Barcelona's Solar Thermal Ordinance - Photovoltaics and the Plan to Increase Renewable Energy Use - Open Space and Biodiversity Programs - The Innovation District - One Percent for Solidarity and Promotion of a Culture of Peace


A Transatlantic Exchange of Ideas
Over Lunch at the Bode Museum, Berlin

Germany's Zero‑waste Program and Packaging Ordinance - Reducing Corruption in Local Government - Anti‑corruption Agencies, Accountability, Audits, and Ombudsmen - Investigative Reporting - Participative Democracy - The Agenda 21 Process in Berlin - What Can Go Wrong with Participative Democracy Processes


The Urgent Need for Action on Sustainable Development

Public Policy Based on Good Information - Equitable Participation in Policy‑making and the Economy - Long‑term Sustainable Development Planning - Accountable Government - Leadership