The Sustainable Network

ABOUT Sarah Sorensen

Sarah Sorensen
Sarah Sorensen is the principal of Sorensen Consulting, a sustainability and strategic communications consultancy. She spent eight years at Juniper Networks in a variety of product and corporate marketing roles. During her tenure, she created and managed the Corporate Citizenship and Susta More...



Ever take a step back and look – really look – at all the network is doing? It may be the one tool we have to tackle some of our toughest problems. It’s beyond green. It could be our path towards a better world.  It’s all in The Sustainable Network, a new book by Sarah Sorensen, published by the tech-savvy experts at OReilly Media.

Skeptical? It’s not a theory, it’s not a sci-fi vision, it’s a reality that’s already happening. Everywhere people, businesses and governments alike are logging onto their computers or turning to their phones  to access information and resources, and to communicate and collaborate across the globe -  and by doing so we are changing the world. We are creating opportunity, nourishing economic participation and prosperity,  changing consumptive behaviours, and streamlining activities that are proven to reduce environmental impacts and waste.  We are changing the way we live our lives, run our businesses, and conduct our politics – all by using the network (which includes the Internet).

But we could be doing more.

And this is where The Sustainable Network comes in. It is written to help people understand what  the network  is and how it makes all of these billions of connections and changes, so that we can use it even more effectively.  We typically know very little about the network we are entrusting with more and more of our lives. Sarah Sorensen and The Sustainable Network can help you understand this new world with an effortless writing style and a wit of this modern networked world.

From YouTube to Gmail, from VPN connections at your workplace to data centers and cloud computing, The Sustainable Network sets out to answer the questions that are in today’s headlines: “What’s 3G and why is it important? What’s broadband and how does it relate to the economic stimulus? What’s malware and should I be doing something about it? What’s a smart grid and why does it hold the promise of reducing energy consumption?  How are Twitter and Facebook influencing governments?

The Sustainable Network is a book you may not have known you needed, but once read, you will wonder how you lived your modern life before, without knowing.  Ms. Sorensen effectively drives home the theme that we have a collective responsibility to create a more sustainable environment, a stronger economy, and a political and social model that is inclusive of all.  The nework represents one of the best tools available to us to tackle some of the hardest issues facing the world today – it’s time we understood what it really is and take control of it, so we can shape what that future will look like.

I wrote The Sustainable Network late in the evenings. My husband and I would put our girls to bed and then I would sit down and try to write. I would start by thinking of the events and news of the day - it seemed the world was spoon feeding me more and more examples of how the network has infiltrated our lives, our society, our culture. I can’t tell you how many days I would read the morning headlines and find the news was directly tied to what I was intending to write that evening. They were like signposts telling me that I was on the right track, that I wasn’t just theorizing the sustainable network, but rather documenting its existence. The network represents a great platform for change, which simultaneously opens up a lot of possibilities and responsibilities. All the various connections, and ultimately relationships, that the network creates, enables and supports between people, things, governments and economies make it such a great tool for sustainable action. But we must understand it, monitor it and tend it in order to ensure we have a productive relationship with it and are able to fully utilize it. It is in this vein that I wrote The Sustainable Network - to shed light on what the network is and isn't, how it can help and what threatens it, so that together we can shape and leverage it to its best advantage.

"If you've ever wondered how the network delivers everything you ask
of it, then start this book. And if that makes you say, 'Wow! What
else can it do?', then keep reading!"
Scott Kriens, Chairman of the Board, Juniper Networks, Inc.