Reminder: Sustainable development is a personal combat. Peter Newman is back at the wheel.

There is something deeply personal, non-institutional, non- administrative that lies at the core of our uphill combat for sustainable development in all its necessary varieties and forms. In the heat of the day to day action one can lose sight of this, and that is a fundamental error. And then, even if we lose pace a bit, something happens and we gain sight of this again. For example, only yesterday . . .

We had a very personal reminder about this yesterday morning, when we received a note from our long time friend and respected colleague Peter Newman, announcing his return to action after a brush quite literally with death. I have asked for and received his permission to share portions of his note with you here.

Let me make a brief and hopefully final report on my health…

I am pleased to say I started back at work today officially (I managed to sneak in a bit last week). I started the day as the keynote at the national Clean Air Society conference on ‘Clean, Green Cities Beckon…’, then went to the ABC studio to do an interview with the BBC on Australian cities (against my self-imposed ban on media work but this was not entering a highly charged debate, it was explaining our research). Then after a time at CUSP with my research team I went home for a short nap before going to hear Sam play in the WA Youth Jazz Orchestra which was extremely enjoyable. I think it was the kind of day that represents what I hope I can still do well, at home and work, but without too much stress.

I actually feel so much better than I did before and probably should as I had 2 cm deep accumulated bleeding on my brain. The medical evidence is that I am over the hematoma but the brain on the left side was rather distorted and will take 6 months or so to move back into the space. This means I need to be careful and not over-stress myself – which is just learning to live sensibly really. Its easy to forget sometimes what it was like on July 10th when I was a whisker away from a major seizure.

I want to thank everyone for their emails and letters of support. I feel very privileged to know you all.

Peter Newman

Professor of Sustainability
Curtin University Sustainability Policy (CUSP) Institute
Curtin University
Perth, Australia 6160


We have long said that sustainability is an uphill struggle, that it is an intensely personal enterprise, and that we need every pair of able and willing hands on our side if we are to create a new majority for sustainable development and social justice, and all that goes with it.

So welcome back Peter. Go slow, go wise and go very far. We need you.

Eric Britton

* For more on Peter’s contributions a good place to start is his Wikipedia entry which you can find at

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