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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

Rio+20 Challenge

(1st Draft 102011). 

Earth Summit 3 will be here soon. Preparations are accelerating. Outreach is continuing, positions are being formulated, expectations are being set. What will it accomplish? That is the million dollar question. Great expectations came out of ES 1, in Rio 1992, along with Agenda 21, Blueprint for a sustainable global future. That blueprint motivated an initial tidal wave of enthusiasm, hope, planning, and action into the late 1990s. ES2 in Johannesburg 2002, was fraught with lower expectations, a move towards bi-lateral agreements, and a suspension of the real urgency, denial, political backlash, focused mostly on the front lines of the larger sustainability challenge, catastrophic climate change from business as usual.

Subsequent path-breaking global scientific research, such as that of the IPCC in the mid-2000s, put the controversy over anthropogenic climate change to rest. The IPCC research confirmed the anthropogenic source of current climate change. Modelling revealed a certain future of catastrophic environmental and economic effects from a range of average temperature warming scenarios. The only chance of a future of reasonable climate change occurs if humanity collectively acts to limit average global warming to 1 degree C or less, the climate could restabilize at the relatively benign pre-industrial conditions after 100 or more years of increasingly harsh conditions, which themselves will cause substantial environmental and economic damage whose intensity will vary locally. This unlikely scenario requires that peak global CO2 emissions occur around 2017 and decline to zero by 2050. Deviations from reaching these targets will cause average temperatures to exceed the 1 degree mark, lengthen the readjustment period by decades, and potentially reduce the chances of restabilization of benign climate conditions.

With global population having doubled since 1950, reaching an unprecedented 7 billion by October 31, 2011, and forecast to increase by another 2 billion or 30 percent in 2050 over then next 40 years, and a globalizing economy that systematically increases pollution, environmental impacts, and destroys ecosystem resources and services, in short systematically reduces the biosphere's life support capacity, humanity faces an unprecedented historical challenge. That challenge is to redesign the human economy so that the systematic destruction of the planet's life support systems and capacity is reversed and transformed to have higher prosperity and expanding restorative environmental effects compared to the prosperity eliminating and environment destroying BAU scenario. Not only is this economic transformation required, but the productivity of the economy needs to increase many times to the point where the universal human needs of the total 9 billion of us on the planet are met. . . , for the first time in human history.

So, not only do we need to create a restorative economy, but dramatically increase its productivity. Such an impossible-appearing challenge would be tarred as unrealistic if the smartest business persons and businesses have not already found sustainability as the new business model of the 21st century. One of the key stalling points in society fully embracing sustainability arises from the predominance of eco-illiteracy among the educated population. As a result, the tremendous materials and energy inefficiency of our current economy, the one-way economy-crashing use of finite resources and energy, and the destruction of ecosystem resources and services for which there are no human economic substitutes is viewed as a viable business and life support model. This can only be maintained by an accounting system where the majority of real resource costs are off-book, a condition that severely over inflates revenue. The net result is that the entire economy, not simply one sector or commodity, is an economic bubble, based on spending future revenue that will never materialize. There is no better measure of our industrial bubble economy than our global eco footprint of 1.5, forecast to increase to 2 earths needed to meet our needs by 2050. 

(to be continued.)

Thus, Earth Summit 2012 is a pivotal moment in human history. One requiring a shift in mental model to understand sustainability as the new business model for 21st century prosperity, and likely last frontier, only remaining basis and long wave of economic development, and final exam. A platform for the on-going innovation required to create sustainable prosperity. The key to this innovation process is using the ecological constraints of not interfering and destroying the living systems of the planet as the design parameters for redesigning economic products and processes to eliminate environmental impacts and simultaneously increase economic productivity and value. This process can be best facilitated using scientific sustainability conditions and principles of sustainability success as articulated in The Natural Step's Framework for Strategic Sustainable Development and plannign method. This combined with key strategies of dematerialization (doing more with less a la Buckminster Fuller, Amory Lovins, Factor 10, etc.) and the substitution (of nontoxic for toxic materials) combined with the four key strategies of natural capitalism (radical resource productivity, biomimicry and whole system redesign, shifting business models from producing things to producing the service the thing delivers, and reinvesting in natural capital used in current production).