Posted by: koolwine | January 3, 2019

Nauru: Paradise for Sale

The South Pacific island of Nauru—a former island paradise turned almost entirely into a phosphate mine—has proved to be a cautionary example of what can wrong when humans place more value on money than on the environment.

Country Focus: Nauru

Paradise for Sale: A Parable of Nature
By Carl N. McDaniel and John M. Gowdy
Published by University of California Press, 2000.
225 pgs.

Genre: Nonfiction/Environmental Studies & Economics

About the author: Carl N. McDaniel founded the undergraduate environmental science degree program at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York. He has also written Wisdom for a Livable Planet. John M. Gowdy is a Professor of Economics and Professor of Science and Technology Studies at the same institution and has authored ten books on economics.

World Lit Up Rating:
(On a scale of 1-5, with 1 book = turned off and 5 books = lit up)

Carl N. McDaniel

John M. Gowdy


By the time independence came in 1968, the tremendous financial wealth from phosphate mining had done its deed—a radically altered Nauruan culture, seduced by the promises of phenomenal monetary wealth, entered a global market economy that has no long-term capacity to ensure human well-being or to foster enduring habitation. In a mere century the island home of this once self-sufficient culture has been transformed into a wasteland of mined-out ruins devoid of much of its initial biological diversity—the ten thousand inhabitants are absolutely dependent upon the outside world for their very survival. Nauru exquisitely illuminates the ruinous course of our global market culture.

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