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Preface: A Blueprint for Survival

A Blueprint for Survival occupied the entire issue of The Ecologist Vol. 2 No. 1, January 1972, in advance of the world's first Environment Summit: the 1972 UN Conference on the Human Environment, in Stockholm. The principal authors were Edward Goldsmith and Robert Allen, with additional help from Michael Allaby, John Davoll, and Sam Lawrence.

So great was demand for A Blueprint for Survival that it was republished in book form later that year by Penguin Books, on 14 September 1972.

This document has been drawn up by a small team of people, all of whom, in different capacities, are professionally involved in the study of global environmental problems.

Four considerations have prompted us to do this:

  1. An examination of the relevant information available has impressed upon us the extreme gravity of the global situation today. For, if current trends are allowed to persist, the breakdown of society and the irreversible disruption of the life-support systems on this planet, possibly by the end of the century, certainly within the lifetimes of our children, are inevitable.
  2. Governments, and ours is no exception, are either refusing to face the relevant facts, or are briefing their scientists in such a way that their seriousness is played down. Whatever the reasons, no corrective measures of any consequence are being undertaken.
  3. This situation has already prompted the formation of the Club of Rome, a group of scientists and industrialists from many countries, which is currently trying to persuade governments, industrial leaders and trade unions throughout the world to face these facts and to take appropriate action while there is yet time. It must now give rise to a national movement to act at a national level, and if need be to assume political status and contest the next general election. It is hoped that such an example will be emulated in other countries, thereby giving rise to an international movement, complementing the invaluable work being done by the Club of Rome.
  4. Such a movement cannot hope to succeed unless it has previously formulated a new philosophy of life, whose goals can be achieved without destroying the environment, and a precise and comprehensive programme for bringing about the sort of society in which it can be implemented.

This we have tried to do, and our Blueprint for Survival heralds the formation of the Movement for Survival and, it is hoped, the dawn of a new age in which Man will learn to live with the rest of Nature rather than against it.

The Ecologist
Edward Goldsmith, Robert Allen, Michael Allaby, John Davoll, Sam Lawrence.


We would like to acknowledge the valuable comments contributed by Gerald Leach, The Rt. Rev. Hugh Montefiore, Brian Johnson and John Papworth.

We are grateful to

Parts of the Introduction and "Towards the Stable Society", notably those sections on stabilising the population and on creating a new social system, have been adapted from The Fall of Man by Robert Allen (to be published later this year [1972] by Allen Lane, The Penguin Press) by permission of author and publisher.


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