A Blueprint for Survival
AuthorEdward Goldsmith and Robert Allen
PublisherEcosystems Ltd.
Publication date
January 1972

A Blueprint for Survival was an influential environmentalist text that drew attention to the urgency and magnitude of environmental problems.

First published as a special edition of The Ecologist in January 1972, it was later published in book form and went on to sell over 750,000 copies.[1]

The Blueprint was signed by over thirty of the leading scientists of the day—including Sir Julian Huxley, Sir Frank Fraser Darling, Sir Peter Medawar, E. J. Mishan and Sir Peter Scott. It was largely written by Edward Goldsmith and Robert Allen (with contributions from John Davoll and Sam Lawrence of the Conservation Society, and Michael Allaby[2]) who argued for a radically restructured society in order to prevent what the authors referred to as “the breakdown of society and the irreversible disruption of the life-support systems on this planet”.[3]

It recommended that people live in small, decentralised and largely de-industrialised communities. Some of the reasons given for this were that:

The authors used tribal societies as their model which, it was claimed, were characterised by their small, human-scale communities, low-impact technologies, successful population controls, sustainable resource management, holistic and ecologically integrated worldviews, and a high degree of social cohesion, physical health, psychological well-being and spiritual fulfilment of their members.[5][6][7]

In popular culture

In Enys Men, a 2022 British experimental horror film set in 1973, a wildlife volunteer making daily observations of rare flowers on an uninhabited Cornish island is frequently shown reading A Blueprint for Survival. The book cover includes a quote from the Sunday Times stating that "nothing seems quite the same any more", which nods to the film's ambiguous narrative and chronology.

See also


  1. ^ About the Ecologist, www.theecologist.org
  2. ^ Fantasy, the Bomb, and the Greening of Britain by Meredith Veldman. Cambridge University Press, 1994. p230
  3. ^ "A Blueprint for Survival, The Ecologist Vol. 2, No. 1. Preface". Archived from the original on 2009-09-07. Retrieved 2008-04-10.
  4. ^ Netzley, Patricia (1999). Environmental literature. California: ABC-CLIO. ISBN 1-57607-000-X.
  5. ^ "A Blueprint for Survival, The Ecologist Vol. 2, No. 1". Archived from the original on 2009-08-31. Retrieved 2009-08-30.
  6. ^ The Stable Society by Edward Goldsmith. The Wadebridge Press, 1978.
  7. ^ The Way: an ecological worldview by Edward Goldsmith, University of Georgia Press, 1998.