Sustainability in Austerity: How Local Government Can Deliver During Times of Crisis

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9781906093570: Sustainability in Austerity: How Local Government Can Deliver During Times of Crisis
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As the economic crisis of 2008/09 unfolded, it became apparent that the huge mountains of debt being built up by central governments were unsustainable and that savage cuts would be needed to balance budgets. It also became clear that the public sector would be one of the first in line when the axe started swinging. Yet, at the very same time, green advocates from business, academia and civil society were making calls for greater investment at the local level in the big sustainability issues of the day such as fostering sustainable consumption or educating communities on making the transition to a low-carbon economy.  The upshot is that leaders in local government are going to be asked to do a lot more work on environmental and social sustainability but with much less money. To make matters worse, increasing public scepticism about why we should deal with these dilemmas in the first place has been exacerbating the problem, notably exemplified by concerns over the robustness of the science of climate change. Local sustainability faces a perfect storm.  Sustainability in Austerity has been written to provide local leaders with a lifebelt in these turbulent times. It empowers local authorities to address the challenges they now face – by offering a treasure chest of cost-neutral and powerful ways for leaders in local government to advance sustainability as nations emerge from the global recession. The book sets out the required rules for leadership and proposes a myriad of innovative strategies for self-help achieved through habit-forming behaviour change among council members, staff and local communities alike. Packed with international case studies, anecdotes and management tips derived from a wealth of learning by like-minded peers across the world – all of whom have faced and overcome serious sustainability challenges – the book will be a touchstone for professionals working in areas such as: democracy and decision-making; corporate assets and resources; economic development and planning; waste and environmental services; fleet and logistics; and community management.  There is an impressive array of books that provide fresh and innovative thinking on sustainability, but the vast majority have ignored or overlooked inspirational stories of positive change in local government. Sustainability in Austerity is a game-changing book and will be essential reading for managers and councillors in local government across the world, in either emerging or developed economies; managers in central government; community organisation leaders; academics; and management consultants who work with this sector on policy and performance.

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About the Author:

Philip Monaghan is a recognised and highly successful leader with 16 years of experience as a strategist, change manager, programme deliverer and fundraiser in the fields of economic development and environmental sustainability across the public, non-profit and private sectors. He has a degree in Economics and is presently reading an MSc in Climate Change and Sustainable Development. He is a member of the Institute of Environmental Management & Assessment (IEMA) and in 2007 was also elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures & Commerce (RSA) in recognition of his work to date. Presently, Philip is Head of Environmental Sustainability for Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council, part of the Liverpool City Region in the UK. Prior to this he worked for the world renowned think-tank AccountAbility in numerous senior management roles. Before this he was with professional service providers WSP Group (a global engineering consultancy), The National Centre for Business and Sustainability, and PS EPEC (PS Economic, Planning & Environmental Consultants). This is in addition to assignments with North East Lincolnshire Council, Groundwork (an environmental charity) and Consumer Focus (a consumer advocacy body). During his career Philip has worked with an array of partners and clients across mainland Europe and in Hong Kong, Japan, Peru, Russia, South Africa, USA and Venezuela, including with the European Commission, the UK Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), WWF, Gap Inc., Marks & Spencer and Vodafone.

Review:

This is a well-written and well-structured book, and one that uses a simple language and other visual resources (tables, charts) to reach a non-scientific audience. The book collects and succinctly presents an important set of experiences on cities across the world to achieve sustainability (over 100 case studies). These ideas could easily navigate across local politicians and policy-makers worldwide willing (or needing) to act to improve the local (and global) environment under major budgetary constraints. Other potential readers, as the author suggests, might be community organisation leaders, civil servants and public managers working at scales other than the local one (e.g. central government), management consultants or even academics. In that sense the book, despite not being primarily oriented to academia, could be interesting for environmental researchers looking for down-to-earth ideas to achieve sustainability from the local scale in times of economic crisis. ... Sustainability in Austerity. How Local Government Can Deliver During Times of Crisis reviews an enormous assortment of local experiences across the world. This turns the book into a rich and variegated compilation of actions to achieve sustainability at the local level, leaving to the reader to decide whether these measures could suit a given context other than the case study. At any rate, and despite being primarily oriented to policy makers, I strongly recommend the reading of the book to those scholars and readers of the journal working on sustainability at the local scale and in close contact with the public administration. Even if punctual measures are hardly consonant with degrowth principles most of them could interest scholars dealing with such paradigm. - Journal of Cleaner Production 19 (2011) - Hug March, Géosciences Environnement Toulouse GET, Université de Toulouse || Aware that we face the enormous austerity arising from a horrific global recession, Philip Monaghan sees an opportunity to achieve sustainability by taking the interests and needs of lower levels of government. ... Monaghan's book gives numerous examples of successful sustainability that arise from knowledge of successful methods within other countries and the application of a large range of different methods ... Monaghan's book covers over a hundred specific examples of such success. Full review - Alan F. Kay, PhD, author, 'Locating Consensus for Democracy'; Treasurer and Secretary, Ethical Markets || Phillip Monaghan must be a busy chap. Not only has he produced this timely guide for councils, he's also Head of Sustainability at Knowsley Met Borough Council in Liverpool and in his spare time reading a Master of Science in climate change and sustainable development. This book is packed with resources, ideas and case studies for local government, not only from the UK but also across the globe. Critically Monaghan has tried to focus on "cost-neutral" responses and actions but always with an eye for long term impact and sustainability. He reminds us of the strong business case for sustainability, not only in terms of cost savings and compliance with regulations, but also in terms of better risk management, better service delivery and a focus for innovation and joint working. ... Monaghan's book is refreshingly practical, realistic and positive. Unlike many post-downturn reviews it gets straight on with the job of sharing what local authorities can and need to do in increasingly resource-limited times. - Rosalie Callway, International Policy Officer at the Local Government International Bureau, UK || The 15 systematic chapters presented, within four parts of the book, feature the required rules of leadership and relevant case studies, anecdotes and management tips derived from lessons learned by local government leaders – such as mayors and councillors – across the world, all of whom have experienced and coped with serious sustainability issues. However, readers from other backgrounds such as academic and business practitioners will find this book enriching as well, as Monaghan offers a "route mapping" which guides readers into practical specifics. Sustainability in Austerity provides hands-on tips for readers on improving sustainability performance with limited resources such as ideas for habit-forming behavioural change, connecting council staff and members with the electorate through engagement exercises, reducing energy running costs and organising special economic zoning. An important ingredient in this book consists of the inspiring insights from interviews with local government leaders in Caracas (Venezuela), Ekurhuleni (South Africa), Fort Chipewyan (Canada), Krakow (Poland), Merseyside (UK), Montgomery (USA), Nillumbik (Australia) and Ulaanbaatar (Mongolia), as well as many others. ... the book deserves a hearty round of applause for its emphasis on the fact that sustainability is not merely the responsibility of a certa

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