This book places the university at the forefront of the sustainability movement. Questioning the university's ability to equip society to deal with today's serious challenges such as economic growth, democratic citizenship and planetary survival, it calls for a new social movement to take a lead in reforming the university. The book reviews the university's 900-year history from medieval religious philosopher, to Renaissance nation-builder, to its modern function as training grounds for the world's managerial class and the world's largest industry. It examines diverse campus initiatives across North America and Europe and their traditional concerns of green buildings, renewable energy and transportation demand management. But it also demonstrates the promise for social and ecological progress open to the "planetary university" once the university takes its place seriously and discovers its new mission: to create diverse models of local and global innovation centred around tough new questions about what universities -- and their societies -- can achieve: How might the university help move us to a post-automobile, energy-saving society?;
How might universities help refashion the city to be sustainable?; How might universities be governed for sustainability? Lively, engaging and perfectly timed for the UN Decade for Sustainability in Education launched in 2005, Planet U will have wide appeal.
Michael M'Gonigle is Professor and Eco-Research Chair of Environmental Law and Policy in the Faculty of Law and School of Environmental Studies at the University of Victoria. A former chairperson of Greenpeace Canada, he is the author of numerous books and reports on smart growth, forestry, political economy and sustainability. Justine Cara Starke is a Research Associate in the POLIS Project on Ecological Governance at the University of Victoria. A geographer, planner and activist; her research focuses on obstacles to implementing sustainability best practices and she has been involved in preserving natural areas on campus.