Widener Law professor leads national book project on sustainability
Public Relations - Published: January 7, 2009
The national discussion about the future of America gets an influential new source of information this month with the release of the country’s only comprehensive assessment of U.S. progress toward sustainability. The assessment, put forth in a book edited entirely and authored in part by Widener Law Distinguished Professor John C. Dernbach, looks at what sustainability means to our national security, economic development, social well-being and environmental quality.

Agenda for a Sustainable America is broken into 31 chapters authored by 41 writers. Dernbach conceived of the idea, chose the chapter topics, found the writers and edited the manuscript. He has worked on the project since 2006. The Environmental Law Institute is publishing the book, which will be released the week of Jan. 12.
The book is the only publication of its kind. It examines U.S. actions since the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa. It also contains recommendations for the next five to 10 years. It is intended to provide a broad framework for moving the United States toward sustainability. It also magnifies Dernbach’s standing as an international expert on sustainable development and global climate change.

“No one else outside of government comprehensively and continuously reviews U.S. actions from a sustainability perspective and makes recommendations for a sustainable future. This is it,” said Dernbach, who teaches on the Harrisburg Campus.
The book comes as the nation prepares for a change in administration, which presents an opportunity to revisit policies and start anew. It contains many chapters that focus on the role of the executive branch, making it a key resource for new efforts by Washington – and it has already caught the attention of law and policymakers at the national level.

U.S. Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin said of the book, “This comprehensive review of the United States’ environmental efforts is a reminder that despite our progress, we have further to travel on the road toward sustainability. As this book makes clear, we must pursue new, sustainable solutions that will allow future generations, and the environment they depend on, to thrive.”