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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

« New Year Greeting 2: Donella Meadows on Love, Hope, & Sustainability | Main | Toxic Economic Development is NOT Development »

New Year Greeting 1: The Challenge & the Basis for Authentic Hope

The dawn of 2013 breaks with ominous storm clouds gathering on the sustainability horizon. We know them as climate change, peak oil, decreasing resource supply, increasing demand, accelerating environmental destruction (fisheries, forests, etc.), increasing inequality, fraying of the social fabric, and an ideological and fiscal assault on the commons. What are the implications for successfully responding to this widening sustainability challenge? Fortunately, the dawn also breaks with slivers of hope shining through the storm clouds in the form of inspiring innovation and leadership.

The key question is whether we have enough time to “take shelter from the storm” and which “shelter” to take. The hidden choice is when to “seek shelter” and how. This is a critical choice because each day of delayed and insufficient response feeds back to increase the ferocity of the future storm. This is humanity's predicament as we begin the fourteenth year of the 21st century. Understanding the mental models that we unwittingly use to see the world and read the signs is essential for making the right choice.

The difficulty we face is that this choice is invisible from the mental models most prevalent among people in leadership positions at the policy levers of sustainability. Further complicating matters is that society is not designed to make the fast and creative pivot required to “seek shelter” and sufficiently reduce the “coming storm's likely ferocity.” In fact, our social structure is set up to continue business as usual (BAU) against all odds.  In fact, some protestations reinforce BAU and would be unwittingly counterproductive (see Meadows, How to Intervene in a System). This does not mean we cannot make the needed choice to seek shelter earlier. It simply means that we need to understand the level of difficulty of making the choice and the strategic options available for systems change and transformation.

Fortunately, there is no better framing of our predicament than that of the late Donella Meadows’ discussion of love, hope, and sustainability at the end of her book, Beyond the Limits--Confronting Global Collapse and Envisioning a Sustainable Future (Chelsea Green, 1992, pp 235-6). The last seven paragraphs of the next SOS Journal post are particularly poignant). That discussion provides the basis for authentic hope and constructive action for ultimate sustainability success in 2013 and beyond. It allows us to accurately hold and effectively act on the daunting challenge of sustainability that we face as sustainability champions, practitioners, and well-meaning citizens.

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