Environmentalism Unbound

From Urban and Industrial Environments

Environmentalism Unbound

Exploring New Pathways for Change

By Robert Gottlieb

A call for a broadened environmental movement that addresses issues of everyday life.





A call for a broadened environmental movement that addresses issues of everyday life.

In Environmentalism Unbound, Robert Gottlieb proposes a new strategy for social and environmental change that involves reframing and linking the movements for environmental justice and pollution prevention. According to Gottlieb, the environmental movement's narrow conception of environment has isolated it from vital issues of everyday life, such as workplace safety, healthy communities, and food security, that are often viewed separately as industrial, community, or agricultural concerns. This fragmented approach prevents an awareness of how these issues are also environmental issues. After tracing a history of environmental perspectives on land and resources, city and countryside, and work and industry, Gottlieb focuses on three compelling examples of this new approach to social and environmental change. The first involves a small industry (dry cleaning) and the debate over pollution prevention approaches; the second involves a set of products (janitorial cleaning supplies) that may be hazardous to workers; and the third explores the obstacles and opportunities presented by community or regional approaches to food supply in the face of an increasingly globalized food system.


Out of Print ISBN: 9780262072106 408 pp. | 6 in x 9 in


$40.00 X ISBN: 9780262571661 408 pp. | 6 in x 9 in


  • Environmentalism Unbound is cogent and visionary.

    Chip Ward Washington Post

  • Environmentalism Unbound is a convincing nudge in a positive direction. Gottlieb leaves us with much food for thought.

    White Journal of the American Planning Association


  • This book takes ideas Gottlieb first introduced in his excellent book Forcing the Spring and extends them in important new conceptual and concrete ways. He effectively broadens conceptions of the environment to include issues that are generally taken to be more industrial or agricultural. The arguments he makes for taking a broader view are most persuasive and hopeful. They show a way for the environment to become more than the narrow regulatory subject it is now.

    Helen Ingram

    Professor of Political Science and Warmington Endowed Chair in the School of Social Ecology, University of California, Irvine

  • Environementalism Unbound is a powerful reinterpretation of environmentalism and a trenchant critique of established environmental organizations and the environmental justice movement. Filled with historical insight and practical wisdom, the book serves as a road map for revitalizing America's most important social movements, bringing urban issues, industrial development, the hazards of work, and efforts to achieve livable communities to the center of the debate about society's relation to the natural world. A tough, profoundly inspiring, and optimistic book.

    Carl Anthony

    Urban Habitat Program and the San Francisco Bay Area Alliance for Sustainable Development

  • We've come to expect provocative, insightful ideas from Robert Gottlieb about the environment and the environmental movement. His new book, Environmentalism Unbound, does not disappoint. Linking environmental justice and pollution prevention, the social and the ecological, and an ethic of place, he urges us to reconsider our environmental objectives and to clarify the expected results. This is an accessible book that at once elevates the dialogue about environmentalism and puts the responsibility for rethinking our values and actions squarely in our laps.

    Martin V. Melosi

    Distinguished University Professor, University of Houston, Author of The Sanitary City: Urban Infrastructure in America from Colonial Times to the Present


  • Bronze Award Winner for Environment in the ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Awards.