Fleeing Vesuvius is the most recent publication of Ireland's Feasta - the Foundation for the Economics of Sustainability. The Cork launch was held at Cork City Library and co-hosted by Cork Environmental Forum.
Fleeing Vesuvius draws together many of the ideas developed within Feasta over the years and applies them to a single question: how can we bring the world out of the mess in which it now finds itself? The conventional answer -- even more economic growth -- is seen in the book as part of the problem rather than the solution.
Fleeing Vesuvius confronts this mess squarely, analysing its many aspects: the looming scarcity of essential resources such as fossil fuels - the lifeblood of the world economy; the financial crisis in Ireland and elsewhere; the collapse of the housing bubble; the urgent need for food security, especially in today's climate of rising food prices; and the enormous challenge of dealing with climate change.
The solutions it puts forward involve changes to our economy and financial system, but they go much further; this substantial, wide-ranging book also looks at the changes needed in how we think, how we use the land and how we relate to others, particularly those where we live. While it doesn't discount the complexity of the problems we face, Fleeing Vesuvius is practical and fundamentally optimistic. It will arm readers with the confidence and knowledge they need to develop new, workable alternatives to the old-style expanding economy and its supporting systems. It's a book that can be read all the way through or used as a resource to dip in and out of.
A North American edition of the book has been published by New Society Press and a New Zealand/Australian version will be published shortly, proving that this book has both regional and global relevance. As Richard Heinberg of the Post-Carbon Institute states in his introduction to the North American edition, Fleeing Vesuvius is "a goldmine."
Feasta, the Foundation for the Economics of Sustainability, was launched in Dublin in October 1998 to explore the economic, cultural and environmental characteristics of a truly sustainable society - and to disseminate the results of this exploration to the widest relevant audience. Feasta currently has 10 working groups focussing on: Climate; Communication; Democracy; Education; Energy; Food; Health; Land and Housing; Measuring Progress; and Money.
While most of Feasta's members live in Ireland, people from other countries have joined because they have found that its form of "hard sustainability" is not being discussed in any depth in their own circles. This has turned the organisation into an international network with an Irish office. Feasta has gained increasing national influence since its foundation. Two members of the Executive serve on the 20-person council of Comhar, the Irish Government's National Sustainability Partnership and on monitoring committees overseeing the National Development Plan.