Edward Goldsmith

Awarded 1991


For his uncompromising critique of industrialism and promotion of environmentally sustainable and socially just alternatives to it.

Edward Goldsmith (1928-2009) was an influential environmentalist and author. For more than four decades, he was at the forefront of efforts to warn about the scale and seriousness of environmental destruction and present proposals to reverse it. Goldsmith’s principal vehicle was the magazine The Ecologist, founded in 1969, with himself as Editor.

The Ecologist rouse to prominence in 1972 with its issue entitled Blueprint for Survival, which sold half a million copies in 17 languages. One result was forming a Green Party in the UK, the first of its kind in the world. Several times after that, The Ecologist adopted a radical stance on issues that later became a prime campaigning focus for other groups.

Goldsmith was a notable scholar on both theoretical and applied matters. He was known for his uncompromising critique of industrialism. In later years, Goldsmith was preoccupied with climate change, which he saw as by far the most serious problem confronting the world.

Edward Goldsmith passed away in 2009 at the age of 80.




The industrial society in which we live, and that we take to be normal, desirable and permanent, is in fact aberrant, destructive and necessarily short-lived.

Edward Goldsmith, 1991 Laureate


The Ecologist published many radical reports on issues that others looked away from. In 1985 The Ecologist accused the World Bank of financing destruction not development. In 1991, they gave a devastating critique of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, accusing them of financing famine. 

Goldsmith was co-author of a monumental, three-volume study in the 1980s, The Social and Environmental Effects of Large Dams. 

In 1992 Goldsmith published what he regarded as his life's work, a 550-page book entitled The Way: An Ecological World-view, translated into five languages. His latest book, The Case Against the Global Economy and For a Return Towards the Local, co-edited with Jerry Mander, is published in the USA. Most of its contributors are members of the International Forum on Globalisation based in San Francisco, of which Goldsmith was a Director. In later years his main preoccupation was with climate change, which he saw as by far the most serious problem confronting the world today.

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