Often used but little understood, the word 'sustainability' is potent in its ability to evoke a better world based on economic, social, and environmental justice. The concept of sustainability, however, has been strikingly under-theorized. Sustainability and the Civil Commons provides what has been lacking since the publication of the Brundtland Report - a firm foundation and a clear vision of alternatives. Using rural communities as her reference-point, Jennifer Sumner exposes the unsustainable impacts of corporate globalization, and develops a framework to explain why current definitions of sustainability are profoundly inadequate. From this foundation, she allies sustainability with the concept of the civil commons - including universal healthcare, environmental protocols, workplace safety regulations, and public education - demonstrating how globalizing the civil commons, not corporate-sponsored trade treaties, opens the way for truly 'sustainable globalization.' Sustainability and the Civil Commons moves beyond rural roots through Antonio Gramsci's model of hegemony, Jurgen Habermas's theory of communicative action, and John McMurtry's life-value ethics to build a comprehensive understanding of sustainability that combines global reach with local focus. It will be an invaluable resource for scholars and practitioners interested in sustainability, globalization, community development, and rural studies.