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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).



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

International Society of Sustainability Professionals
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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

Spaceship Earth -- Our Only Regenerative Life Support Machine


QUICK LINKS:  Website Orientation & Tour |  About S2030 | Sustainability 2030 Clips (news & resource  |  INITIATIVES:  APA CA Northern Sustainability Committee | Leveraging Leading Edge Sustainability Planning | Neighborhood Transit Centers 


 Public Affairs Commentary & Ideas from a Whole Systems and Strategic Sustainability Perspective

Inspiration: ”If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on the solution, I would spend the first 55 minutes determining the proper question to ask, for once I knew the proper question, I could solve the problem in less than 5 minutes”.
— Albert Einstein


Regenerative Design and Development - A Pioneer's Perspective

Regenerative design and development is next-generation sustainability innovation now, in its formative moment.  “Sustainability is a neighborhood phenomenon,” Busby says. “We’re moving from buildings to communities—it’s whole-systems thinking.”

Click to read more ...


Living Future Challenge - A 2012 Buckminster Fuller Challenge Finalist

See the Announcement for details of the Challenge and other finalists.

The Living Building Challenge, launched by a pioneer in green architecture, is a philosophy, advocacy tool, and performance standard - setting the highest standard of environmental in buildings, reframing how buildings and infrastructure function within ecosystems.

 Also, explore the Bucky Challenge and Institute more generally.


Recent Developments in Green Growth

Is green growth the green-washing oxymoron that many sustainability practitioners think? Or is it the holy grail, the goose that lays the golden egg, the potential perpetual prosperity machine for the 21st century?

Click to read more ...


How Much Will it Cost to Save Our Economy? 

How Much Will it Cost to Save Our Economy’s Foundation?  Lester R. Brown
Altogether, then, restoring the economy’s natural support systems—reforesting the earth, protecting topsoil, restoring rangelands and fisheries, stabilizing water tables, and protecting biological diversity—will require additional expenditures of just $110 billion per year. Many will ask, Can the world afford these investments? But the only appropriate question is, Can the world afford the consequences of not making these investments? 

Click to read more ...


OECD Environmental Outlook 2050--Action Needed NOW!

A new OECD Outlook report: OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050--The Consequences of Inaction, provides a credible and sobering understanding of the inhospitable world of 2050 that we, humanity, will face if we do not choose to reverse our present business as usual (BAU) trajectory. The report presents policy recommendations to reverse course, but leaves implementation to enlightened national leaders and citizens, thereby concluding on the traditional simultaneously hopeful and unlikely note.

Click to read more ...


Whole Systems Design and Factor 10 Engineering

You can find an accessible formulation and starting point for two fundamental practices underlying key sustainability strategies -- radical resource productivity and whole systems thinking -- at the Rocky Mountain Institute. 

Click to read more ...


Elegant Pitstops Key to Multi-modal/Sustainable Transportation

Mark Kessler, architect and UC Davis Professor, will soon publish a book on the historical aspects of San Francisco's 1920s-era garages. On March 3-4, 2012, he exhibited a set of photographs of these garages at the Old Mint Building (5th & Mission). He gave a captivating lecture entitled "Elegant Pitstops--The Historicist Garages of San Francisco" in which he discussed the historical value of these buildings that are often invisible to the passerby. When combined with innovative land use-transportation policy, these historic resources could play an key, neighborhood-based, intermediate role in creating a fully funtional multi-modal and sustainable transportation system for 21st century San Francisco.

Click to read more ...


Gore's New Sustainable Capitalism Manifesto

Read the article in the Economist.

Shining a light on the linkage between the short term and long term profitability, particularly when short term actions reduce or obliterate the long term, is the critical point.

One curious aspect is that discussions about carbon pricing are often conducted as if humans have the choice! As any economist knows, there is no free lunch. We either fully reflect real prices in the human

Click to read more ...


No-Carbon Economy by 2050

RMI's Reinventing Fire Initiative: Whole Program (go here). Building Sector Video (5 mins).

Also, article by Amory Lovins.


Vancouver - World's First Green City?

Envisioning the EcoCity--With the adoption of the EcoDensity Charter and Initial Actions, the City of Vancouver has begun a new chapter in planning for a sustainable, affordable, and livable future. Find out here about the many initiatives underway to use density, design, and land use to help reduce our carbon footprint, expand housing choices, and ensure Vancouver remains one of the most livable cities in the world...


From Where? Deconstructing the I-Phone & Electronics

Mother Jones Magazine provides a short answer to this one. Read the short article and check out their interactive graphic.

With globalization, variations on the enclosure movements, and deep poverty from fundamental Malthusian trends (population outstrips resources, at some point), the

Click to read more ...


Microplastic Bioaccumulation from Synthetic Clothing Discovered in Food Chain -- Another On-Going Sustainability Violation

New research from UCSB (see BBC) reveals consistent pollution patterns of microplastics around the world, with higher concentrations at beaches located near sewage disposal points. This violates one principle for a sustainable society in the biosphere--the systematic accumulation of compounds that natural cycles cannot break down. The violation creates business risks for firms and reveals economic distortion and inefficiency. Smart firms will self-regulate through innovation to sustitute materials and processes that eliminate pollution. For all others, regulations should be passed to protect human health and spur the innovation industry-wide to correct a source of distorting, uneconomic activity related to imperfect price signals. Doing so will strengthen the economy and move towards sustainability. 

Click to read more ...


Petroleum Production Peaked in 2005

A new analysis concludes that easily extracted oil peaked in 2005, suggesting that dirtier fossil fuels will be burned and energy prices will rise. Read the Scientific American Article.


131 Years of Global Warming in 27 Seconds & the Fallacy of Adaptation

See the visualized data map here.  The public policy mantra on global warming has shifted in the last few years from mitigation, which is viewed as impractical, to adaptation, which is viewed as smart and practical.

If only! The problem with such a "positive, constructive, boosterism" framing of the challenge of catastrophic climate change is that full mitigation (full societal mobilization/innovation to stay below 1, 2 at most, degrees C average surface temperature warming), is our best and only shot at success. Even that success is uncertain.

Click to read more ...


Governments' Oil Subsidies Increase Debt & Accelerate Catastrophic Climate Change

A recent 3-minute brief from the Earth Policy Institute states that global public sector subsidy of the oil industry amounts to $500 billion per year. This spending increases public debt and accelerates catastrophic climate change. Should this be de-factor government policy in an age of catastrophic climate change when accurate understanding and a meaningful and sufficient response is nowhere to be seen?

Click to read more ...


World Turns Back on Enlightenment -- Implications for Sustainability?

This article in the Guardian, argues that the world is turning its back with increasing frequency on its core enlightenment values.

Given that an effective response to the sustainability challenge hinges on extending core enlightenment values, the article illuminates one "sticky" source of resistance and reaction to sustainability proposals, or does it?


IEA Says 5 Years Left Before We "Lock In" Perilous Climate Change

Vancouver Sun, AFP, Nov 9, 2011

PARIS - The world has just five years to avoid being trapped in a scenario of perilous climate change and extreme weather events, the International Energy Agency (IEA) warned on Wednesday .

On current trends, "rising fossil energy use will lead to irreversible and potentially catastrophic climate change," the IEA concluded in its annual World Energy Outlook report.

Click to read more ...


Keystone XL Pipeline - Bad For the Environment AND Economy

It's not only an environmental issue. It is the wrong way to invest in and develop the economy.

It would produce unsustainable jobs that kill the planet and the people.

It reinforces our addiction to oil. It does not substantially address the petro-dollar/petro dictator/terrorist foreign policy/international security issue.


Click to read more ...


Climate Warming Skeptics Denied!

An SF Gate article begins with, "A prominent physicist and skeptic of global warming [Richard Muller] spent two years trying to find out if mainstream climate scientists were wrong. In the end, he determined they were right: Temperatures really are rising rapidly."

Although the scientific method triumphs, public discourse on the topic still reflects a misunderstanding of the relationship between science and public policy decisions.

Click to read more ...


An Emerging Pragmatic Caucus of National Leaders?

Bruce Katz, Vice President and Director, Metropolitan Policy Program, Brookings Institute, argues that a new cadre of leaders—mayors, governors, academics and business people from around the country—form America’s Pragmatic Caucus. In sharp contrast to Beltway polarization, these bipartisan pioneers—like Michael Nutter in Philadelphia or Ashley Swearingen in Fresno, and the governors of Colorado and Michigan in between—are acting decisively to grow jobs in the near term and retool their metropolitan economies for the long-haul. read more . . .