From diets to economic growth, everything these days has to be sustainable, and in clear and thought-provoking terms, Ulrich Grober reassesses the concept of sustainability using a range of fascinating historical instances of its application. He considers the vision of men such as Hans Carl von Carlowitz, credited with having first formulated the three pillars of sustainability: environmental equilibrium, economic security, and social justice. The journey takes in Francis of Assisi’s 13th-century Canticle of the Sun, as well as Greek philosophers and Enlightenment scholars. Grober reveals that sustainability, whether in the court of Louis XIV or the silver mines of Saxony, is always born of crisis and yet also marks the birth of a new awareness, a realization that the planet we live on has to be sustained and preserved for future generations. This book offers a historically rich and nuanced introduction to a concept that could not be of more pressing importance for the 21st century.