Alumni News: Fath, PhD ’98, publishes textbook on sustainability

Writer: Beth Gavrilles, bethgav@uga.edu
Contact: Allison Walters, allison.walters@uga.edu

A new textbook co-authored by UGA Ecology alumnus Brian Fath takes a holistic, systems approach to sustainability.

Foundations for Sustainability: A Coherent Framework of Life-Environment Relations offers a new paradigm for understanding environmental issues, providing insights for building an environmentally and economically sustainable future.

In the book’s preface, Fath and co-author Daniel Fiscus write, “The original tapestry of lifeenvironment relations we did not weave, but in the anthropocene earth, we are now very much responsible for major and creative aspects of the design and implementation of the planetary tapestry that is the web of life. We are at a fork in the road, and the choices and eventual destiny of life are our responsibility.”

The book is dedicated to Bernard Patten, Regents Professor of Ecology Emeritus in the Odum School, and Robert Ulanowicz, Professor Emeritus at the University of Maryland and courtesy professor at the University of Florida.

“To take the broad and holistic view, to attempt to see, comprehend, and act wisely for both the life environment and human environment relations as undivided wholes, we have had to stand on the proverbial ‘shoulders of giants,’” Fath and Fiscus write. “Robert ‘Bob’ Ulanowicz and Bernard ‘Bernie’ Patten are the holistic science revolutionaries and trail blazers whose towering legacies of work have afforded us this wide-angle view.”

Foundations for Sustainability is published by Academic Press and is available from Elsevier. Its intended  readership includes ecologists, environmental scientists, environmental managers, geographers, sustainability experts, biologists needing information on sustainability, and, in the words of physicist and systems theorist Fritjof Capra in his review, “anyone with an interest in the future of humanity.”

Brian Fath, who received his doctorate in ecology from UGA in 1998, is a professor of biological sciences at Towson University; a senior research scholar with the Advanced Systems Analysis Program of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Laxenburg, Austria; secretary general of the International Society for Ecological Modelling and editor-in-chief of the Ecological Modelling journal.