The book you are holding is part of a series on the various aspects of sustainable community development, where "community" focuses on the primacy and quality of relationships among people sharing a particular place and between people and their environment. "Development" means personal and social transformation to a higher level of consciousness and a greater responsibility to be one another's keepers, and "sustainability" is the act whereby one generation saves options by passing them to the next generation, which saves options by passing them to the next, and so on.

This series came about because, during the 25 years I was in scientific research, I discovered disturbing patterns of human thought and behavior that continually squelch sustainable community development. These patterns are as follows:

1. While physicists have found a greater voice for the spiritual underpinnings of physics, the biological sciences have all but lost their spiritual foundation, casting us adrift on a sea of arrogance and increasing spiritual, emotional, and intellectual isolation.

2. There is a continuing attempt to force specialization into ever-narrowing mental boxes, thereby so fragmenting our view of the world that we continually disarticulate the very processes that produce and maintain the viability of the ecosystems on which we, as individuals and societies, depend for survival.

3. People point outside themselves to the cause of environmental problems without understanding that all such problems arise within, with our thinking. Before we can heal the environment, we must learn to heal ourselves emotionally and spiritually.

4. We are asking science to answer questions concerning social values, which science is not designed to do. Social questions require social answers.

5. One who has the courage to ask questions outside the accepted norm of scientific inquiry is ostracized because, as English philosopher John Locke said, "New opinions are always suspected, and usually opposed, without any other reason . . . [than] they are not already common."

This series of books on the various facets of sustainable community development is thus a forum in which those who dare to seek harmony and wholeness can struggle to integrate disciplines and balance the material world with the spiritual, the scientific with the social, and in so doing expose their vulnerabilities, human frailties, and hope, as well as their visions for a sustainable future.

The decision to contribute to this series of books necessarily entails the willingness to risk, as author Scott Nearing noted many years ago when he wrote on a small card, "The majority will always be for caution, hesitation, and the status quo—always against creation and innovation. The innovator—he [or she] who leaves the beaten track—must therefore always be a minoritarian—always be an object of opposition, scorn, hatred. It is part of the price he [or she] must pay for the ecstasy that accompanies creative thinking and acting."

Chris Maser, Series Editor

Chris Maser. Resolving Environmental Conflict:  Towards Sustainable Community Development. 1996. St. Lucie Press, Delray Beach, FL. 200 pp. For more information, see:  Conflict Resolution

Chris Maser. Sustainable Community Development:  Principles and Concepts.1997. St. Lucie Press, Delray Beach, FL. 257 pp. For more information, see:  Sustainable Community

Chris Maser, Russ Beaton, and Kevin Smith. Setting The Stage For Sustainability:  A Citizen's Handbook.1998. Lewis Publishers, Boca Raton, FL. 275 pp. For more information, see:  Setting the Stage

Chris Maser. Vision and Leadership in Sustainable Development.1998. Lewis Publishers, Boca Raton, FL. 235 pp. For more information, see:  Vision and Leadership

Russ Beaton and Chris Maser. Reuniting Economy and Ecology in Sustainable Development.1999. Lewis Publishers, Boca Raton, FL. 108 pp. For more information, see:  Reuniting Econ. & Ecol

Chris Maser. Ecological Diversity in Sustainable Development:  The Vital and Forgotten Dimension. 1999. Lewis Publishers, Boca Raton, FL. 402 pp. For more information, see:  Ecological Diversity

Jane Silberstein and Chris Maser. Land-Use Planning for Sustainable Development. 2000. Lewis Publishers, Boca Raton, FL. 203 pp. For more information, see:  Land-Use Planning

Chris Maser and Walter Smith. Forest Certification in Sustainable Development:  Healing the Landscape. 2000. Lewis Publishers, Boca Raton, FL. 235 pp. For more information, see:  Forest Certification

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