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David A. Bainbridge

True Cost Accounting Pioneer


David A. Bainbridge has worked on sustainable resource management since 1969. He is a leader in sustainable business management and reporting, solar heating, natural cooling and ventilation, green building materials, environmental restoration, and community design for sustainable living.


In 1995 he started teaching at Alliant International University where he taught graduate and undergraduate courses in Sustainable Management, Environmental Management Reporting, Sustainable Operations and Production, Sustainable Products and Services, Ethics, Ecopreneurship, Project Management (team-taught), Leadership for the Triple Bottom Line, Ecotourism, Sustainable Resource Management, and Environmental Design. His Ecological Economics course received the highest evaluation possible—a very rare perfect 4 out of 4 score on multiple criteria. He has won awards for teaching, scholarship, and service to the community.


He participated in the First international conference on ecocomposite materials (2001), provided the first economic assessment of nitrogen pollution at the U.S. Society of Ecological Economics Conference (2002), won the American Solar Energy Society Passive Solar Pioneer Award (2004) and helped establish the first firm offering Global Reporting Initiative sustainability report training in the U.S. (2009), co-authored the first International Solar Energy Society passive solar reference guidebook (2009), and helped organize the first North American conference on environmental and sustainability management accounting EMAN (2010).

Learn more about David Bainbridge's professional career at:

david bainbridge True Cost Accounting

Author of more than 300 articles and reports and many book chapters and books, including: 

  • 2020. The Fur War 1765-1840. 2 volumes 

  • 2015. Gardening with Less Water. Storey Press. Silver Nautilus Award for sustainability.

  • 2011. with K. Haggard. Passive Solar Architecture. Chelsea Green Publishing. Boston Bookbuilders award for professional book.

  • 2007. A Guide for Desert and Dryland Restoration. Island Press. 

  • 2004. Sustainable building as appropriate technology. pp. 55-67, 75-77. In Building Without Borders: Sustainable Construction for the Global Village. Island Press.

  • 1995. with A. Gomez-Pompa, A. Tropical forestry as if people mattered. pp. 408-422. In A. E. Lugo and C. Lowe, eds. Tropical Forests: Management and Ecology.

  • 1994. with B. and A. Steen. The Straw Bale House. Chelsea Green.(best seller)

  • 1991. with S. Mitchell. Sustainable Agriculture for California. University of California, DANR.

  • 1981. The Davis experience. 366–374 In Resettling America. E. Coates, ed. Sierra Club Books. 

  • 1979. Village Homes Solar House Designs. Rodale.

  • 1979. with others. Quantitative Land Capability Analysis. USGS Professional Paper #945.

Also by David Bainbridge

Fur War Cover by David Bainbridge

In what he calls the most important work of his long career, David A. Bainbridge recounts the sobering history of the exploitation of fur resources on the Pacific Coast. Bainbridge’s exploration of the complex interaction of economics, politics, culture, and ecology provides a remarkable view of this neglected but critical period. The exploration and exploitation of people and the fur-bearing animals of the Pacific coast, from Baja California to the Bering Sea was shaped by the conflicts between Russia, Spain, England, and America. These led to the political boundaries we see today, but with just a few minor changes in events, we might still speak Spanish in California and Russian in the Northwest. The results of this rush for Soft Gold were catastrophic for the people of the First Nations.

The ecological damage was equally catastrophic. Within thirty years of its discovery, the Steller sea cow was extinct. The populations of sea otters, beaver, seals, sea lions, bison, and other species were severely affected by intense hunting efforts.

Bainbridge ties these many themes together in this concise and well-illustrated book.

It offers a lesson for us all. Mistakes in managing human and natural resources are costly, last over generations, and are often irrevocable. He concludes with detailed suggestions for what we each can do to address some of the many problems created by the Fur War. It is up to us!

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