Of course, though, people with long-term stakes don't always act wisely. Often they still prefer short-term goals, and often again they do things that are foolish in both the short term and the long term. That's what makes biography and history infinitely more complicated and less predictable than the courses of chemical reactions, and that's why this book doesn't preach environmental determinism. Leaders who don't just react passively, who have the courage to anticipate crises or to act early, and who make strong insightful decisions of top-down management really can make a huge difference to their societies. So can similarly courageous, active citizens practicing bottom-up management. The Tokugawa shoguns, and Montana landowner friends committed to the Teller Wildlife Refuge, exemplify the best of each type of management, in pursuit of their own long-term goals and of the interests of many others.
Really important, but somewhat boring book... I had the feeling the author has a tendency to give too many details and examples which causes the book to be enjoyable roughly like a grocery shopping list.
Nevertheless, the subject matter is so important that this book should be read by anyone who is concerned with the sustainability of our society.
Origin of the species is not an enjoyable read either, but still it is one on the most important books in history...