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Our Challenge

As Stewart Brand said in the introduction to the Whole Earth Catalogs,

"If we are going to act like gods, we might as well get good at it."

And Biomimicry is one key, and in a sense, one of the legacy's of the Whole Earth movement. Like Buckminster Fuller's comprehensive antipatory design science, Biomimicry is (1) the exploration and understanding of nature, i.e., the environment, as the technology and economy of an exquisitely evolved and designed regenerative life support system (living machine) that has been tested and developed over 4.8 billion years of evolution, and then (2) applying those battle-hardened principles to all aspects of human activity--designing, creating, and managing of society, from industrial products, to urban and regional systems, to public policy, business, the economy, etc.

Key Questions

Sustainability 2030's (S2030) research/practice program addresses the following key questions:

1. How can you/we become effective, powerful, even transformational forces for sustainability?

2. What is the program required for ultimate sustainability success--the end game?

3. Who has part of the answer now (current sustainability champions), how far do they take us, and how can we harness the state-of-the-art leading edge sustainability to an innovative research/practice program that gets us to ultimate success in the limited time remaining?  (more)


Advance, accelerate, and amplify an accurate understanding of the sustainability challenge and how to harness the power and potential of sustainability for an effective response before time runs out. The Strategic Sustainability2030 Institute  (S2030I) is a web-based think/do tank (more).

International Society of Sustainability Professionals


April 2013, Chicago, APA National Conference.

May 13-15, 2013, Seattle, Living Future unConference.

PAST (2012):

October 23-26, Portland, EcoDistrict Summit 2012.

July 31-Aug. 4, Portland, Ecosystem Services Conference.

May 2-4, Portland, The Living Future Unconference for deep green professionals.

June 15-18, Brazil, Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development

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Our Challenge

as Buckminster Fuller observed, is

"to make the world work for 100% of humanity, in the shortest possible time, through spontaneous cooperation without ecological offense or the disadvantage of anyone."

This goal is the essence of sustainable development! The Buckminster Fuller Institute (BFI) provides access to Bucky's legacy, including his comprehensive anticipatory design science revolution. Check out their website, their programs, and engage.

Problem & Way Out


Caption: "Sadly, the only proven way to achieve global GHG reductions so far has been economic recession." Comment: Fortunately, shifting to 100% renewables would catalyze the global transition to durable prosperity and community well-being in a way that would eliminate GHG production AND grow the economy <<continued>>. (See also: strategic sustainabilitynatural capitalismits four strategies, and RMI's Reinventing Fire [energy] Program.) 

APA Links

Green Urbanism - Formulating a series of holistic principles

Green Growth - Recent Developments (OECD)

Foundation Earth - Rethinking Society from the Ground Up

Reinventing Fire - A key transformational initiative of RMI worth knowing/watching.

A Quick-Start Guide to Strategic Sustainability Planning

NEW Report: Embedding sustainability into government culture.

New STARS LEED-like sustainable transportation tool for plans, projects, cities, corridors, regions.

Strategic Community Sustainability Planning workshop resources.

Leveraging Leading-Edge Sustainability report.

Winning or losing the future is our choice NOW!

How Possible is Sustainable Development, by Edward Jepson, PhD.

Legacy sustainability articles -- the Naphtali Knox collection.


TNS Transition to Global Sustainability Network

EcoDistricts -- NextGen Urban Sustainability

Darin Dinsmore: Community & Regional Sustainability Strategies and Planning

Sustainable Infrastructure: The Guide to Green Engineering and Design

APA-SCP (Sustainable Community Planning) Interest Group

Sustainability Learning Center

New path breaking Solutions Journal

Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development

Strategic Sustainability -- distance learning at BHT

Q4 Consulting - Mindfulness, Sustainability, and Leadership

RealClimate--Climate Science by Real Scientists

World Cafe--Designed Conversation for Group Intelligence

Real Change--Research Program for Global Sustainability Decision Making

RMI Conference, SF, 10-1/3-2009

Real Time Carbon Counter

Global Climate Change - Implications for US

Agenda for a Sustainable America 2009

ALIA Institute Sustainability Leadership

Frontiers in Ecological Economics

Herman Daly -- Failed Growth to Sustainable Steady State?

EOF - Macroeconomics and Ecological Sustainability

Gil Friend - Truth About Green Business

Sustainable Transpo SF

Google Earth-Day KMLs

AIA Sustainability 2030 Toolkit

Donella Meadows - Which Future?

Urban Mobility System wins Bucky Challenge 2009

Renewable Economy Cheaper than Systems Collapse

Population Growth-Earth Forum

Breakthrough Ideas-Bucky Challenge

Urban & Regional Planning-Cities at a Turning Point

John P. Holdren-Meeting the Climate Change Challenge

Stephen Cohen's Weekly Column in the New York Observer

Sustainability -- Beyond Definition

Dialogue about sustainability usually covers definitions of sustainability beginning with the Brundtland original definition in 2987. 

<<to be developed somewhat>>

However, a much richer understanding of the sustainability challenge and the requirements for an effective reponse is available by reviewing the challenge historically from environmental, economic, and organizational learning perspectives. Although it is an investment in reading and study, we are fortunate to have three great synthesizers presenting an integrative understanding of these overlapping perspectives, as described below.

Lester Brown, Plan B: Rescuing a Planet Under Stress and a Civilization in Trouble, book (free PDF or buy), movie (free web stream, 1.5 hours), video interview (free, 30 mins). Brown presents the environmental case and argues for a massive global mobilization. Excellent for deepening your understanding of the environmental dimension.

Thomas Friedman, Hot, Flat, and Crowded, makes the security+env+business+American spirit case for sustainability. Very synthetic, very integrative. Quite a worthwhile tour de force of surprising foreign policy, political, economic, and environmental intersections. Ultimately Freidman argues for a Code Green mobilization of America to reinvent not only the economy but the spirit and identity of innovation and community that made America the world leader for the past 200+ years. Freidman adds the historic dimension, characterizing sustainability as an epochal change from the old industrial economy to the new Climate/Energy era. This is 99% of the economic argument for sustainability, as in sustainability is a platform/engine/DNA for the innovation required to create a wildly more prosperous and abundant regenerative, restorative economy and society. It’s missing a few ingrediants, but they won’t be missed by most people.

Peter Senge, et. al., The Necessary Revolution, illuminates the organizational learning dimension of sustainability. He does this by telling the stories of a handful of companies and communities he has worked with over the past 20 years. These businesses recognized the “sustainability” writing on the wall in the early 1990s, regarding the economic threats and opportunities presented, and began a slow transformation of their organizations which became known as the business sustainability arena. More than window dressing and corporate responsibility, these firms undertook a revolution, and transformation in their organizations, the way they do business, and the very notion of business itself to find the new route to a regenerative economy and society.  Organizational learning is about orchestrating the difficult conversations required to make the shifts in mental models that underlie any authentic movement towards sustainability and successful on-going innovation required to achieve it. Senge provides a useful big concept in understanding sustainability as about the transition from the industrial “bubble” economy created over the past 200 years to a regenerative economy. After all, this is the primary point of ecological footprint. Humanity is consuming 1.5 times the resource/life support capacity of the planet, forecast to increase to 2 by 2030. This is the very definition of a bubble economy, one that is spending now, what it does not have in the future. It can only end badly and soon without a transition to a regenerative economy. The organizational learning principles is one set of essential tools and skills for sustainability success.