Bellagio Library/

The Sustainability Revolutionists: Heroes and Hope for Our Planet’s Future

by Lucia Athens

Lucia Athens participated in the Bellagio residency program in 2015. During this residency she worked on The Sustainability Revolutionists: Heroes and Hope for Our Planet’s Future. Lucia is the City of Austin’s first Chief Sustainability Officer, and has over 30 years of experience in climate action and green building.

The Sustainability Revolutionists was selected by the U.S. Green Building Council as their official book club title for the 2022 Greenbuild Conference in San Francisco.

From the book

As humans who are a part of something we call civilization, we have a responsibility to engage with the world around us, to engage in good work to make it better. This is a book about revolutionists, people who are by definition activists; they act to create the change they want to see. Revolutionists don’t sit around waiting for change to happen. They are rarely spectators. They ascribe to the aphorism “No one is coming. It’s up to us.”

A few words with Lucia

“I started the book during my Bellagio residency. Sharing the project with other residents shaped much of my thinking and how I approached the project. After working for 30 years in the field of sustainability, I feel we are not making progress fast enough.

“During the writing process, I was inspired by the stories of three sustainability heroes I write about in the book: renowned explorer Jacques Cousteau, labor organizer Cesar Chavez, and Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop. Currently, I am leading the City of Austin Office of Sustainability’s work on climate change and sustainable food systems.”


Sustainability is here. But one of its biggest challenges is that so many of us are left out of the story. The Sustainability Revolutionists presents sustainability as an integrative, inclusive concept, reliant upon solutions that address and balance environmental, social, and economic needs. And it does so with a hearty serving of optimism.

The book collects a series of stories, which surround a pantheon of relatable revolutionists, drawing a roadmap to guide you through this elusive concept. The tales of these changemakers provide new perspectives for tackling the challenging times we live in – a manifesto for the Sustainability Revolution.

Explore More

To find out more about Lucia’s work, visit her website or listen to her discuss the book on the Inner Wealth podcast. You can also explore Lucia’s work with the City of Austin Office of Sustainability. Or you can simply follow her on Twitter.