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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


Quick access to key sustainability resources from an emerging whole systems and critical-path perspective: pioneers, leaders, powerful ideas, path-breaking initiatives, beyond best practices, important events. Comment. Search. Go to the Sust-Clips Index of categories. See also: the State of Sustainability (SOS)TM Journal for commentary.


Yolo County Net Positive Solar & Public Finance

Yolo County is now producing +152% of the electricity it needs with ground mounted solar arrays occupying approximately 30 acres of land (quotes and excerpts from The EcoReport). Yolo is the only grid positive county government in the United States. They do not have an electric bill. Pacific Gas and Electric will have to pay Yolo around $500,000 a year for the surplus electricity it feeds the grid! Another renewable energy project that the County is considering would boost the county’s revenues by another $5 million a year. Yolo County's method can be duplicated and implemented in some fashion to generate revenue and savings while reducing the carbon footprint and provide educational opportunities to the community. Santa Clara and Orange Counties have already started making similar plans.

The initial impetus for the move was the Great Recession of 2008 and its aftermath. Half the innovation is the technology and going solar, but the other half was smart financing. The County used Qualified Zone Academy Bonds (QZABs). He obtained them by partnering with the Yolo County Office of Education. For Yolo County’s solar projects, the bonds were structured as a lease payable from the County’s general fund with a term of 20 years. In addition, the bonds required a 10% match by a private or nonprofit entity (in this case SunPower). The benefit of utilizing these bonds to finance the County’s solar projects is twofold — first, the County will benefit from a direct federal subsidy; and second, the County Office of Education will benefit from the 10% contribution to implement the academies.”  

Yolo County's innovation is an excellent example of economic innovation using the elimination of environmental impacts as the design parameters to create real economic wealth (life support capacity). In addition, sustainability strategy starts to form the basis for reinventing public finance and the business model for local government. 


Jared Diamond Lecture (UCB043014)

The Horace Albright Lecture in Conservation

Jared Diamond, The World Until Yesterday - What Can We Learn from Traditional Socities, WED, April 30, 2015, 7-8:30 p.m., International House, 2299 Piedmont Ave, UC Berkeley, limited seating (free), Videotap available at

Click to read more ...


Designing Low Carbon Communities

"How do you achieve effective low-carbon design beyond the building level? How do you create a community that is both livable and sustainable? More importantly, how do you know if you have succeeded? Harrison Fraker, in The Hidden Potential of Sustainable Neighborhoods--Lessons from Low-Carbon Communities, goes beyond abstract principles to provide a clear, in-depth evaluation of four first generation low-carbon neighborhoods in Europe, and shows how those lessons can be applied to the U.S. Using concrete performance data to gauge successes and failures, he presents a holistic model based on best practices.The four case studies are:" . . . [read].


Defining Sustainability In Practice

Two posts from the Emerging Local Government Leaders Network (ELGL) appear useful for other practiioners. The ELGL is comprised of more than 450 local government professionals, in the early to middle stages of their government careers, from city managers to management analysts. The overarching goal of the group is to address the issue of mentoring the next generation of local government leaders. An active listserv, monthly luncheons, and our website are some of the communication tools our network utilizes.

The posts are found on a blog by Beth Otto. Beth is sharing her perspective on the varying definitions of sustainability and her experiences in implementing sustainability strategies. As follows.

Click to read more ...


International Certified Future Strategist (ICFS) Course--New European Profession 

Our aim is to develop a tailored education program with the objective of leading to International Certified Future Strategist (ICFS) and a new job category in Europe. The project started in October 2012 with the cooperation of six European organizations and the first programme will be held in the beginning of 2015.

Click to read more ...


The Five Types of Capital for Sustainable Development

"The concept of capital has a number of different meanings. It is useful to differentiate between five kinds of capital: financial, natural, produced, human, and social. All are stocks that have the capacity to produce flows of economically desirable outputs. The maintenance of all five kinds of capital is essential for the sustainability of economic development." See the full article, Capital, Encyclopedia of Earth, by Neva R. Goodwin.

This is a good entry level article and provides good links. See also, the Global Development and Environment Institute, Tufts University.


The Global Development And Environment Institute

"The Global Development And Environment Institute (GDAE) is a research institute at Tufts University dedicated to promoting a better understanding of how societies can pursue their economic and community goals in an environmentally and socially sustainable manner. GDAE pursues its mission through original research, policy work, publication projects, curriculum development, conferences and other activities."

Recent publications:  

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Toward a Regenerative Sustainability Paradigm for the Built Environment?!

Reflecting the emerging coalescence of may threads of urban planning and design around the theme of regeneration, the upcoming Journal of Cleaner Production's (Elsevier) is preparing a special journal volume scheduled for May 2014 on the theme, "Toward a Regenerative Sustainability Paradigm for the Built Environment: from Vision to Reality."

See the Call for Papers for a brief history

Click to read more ...


A Talk with David Waldron -- Regenerative Neighborhood Sustainability

I recently heard David Waldron speak on the topic Regenerative Sustainability: from Ideas to Reality in Urban Neighborhoods at the San Francisco Department of Environment. The presentation was based on a research and application project exploring and catalyzing ‘regenerative sustainability,’ at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.he has been managing at the University of British Columbia (UBC), Vancouver, Canada.

The morning after the presentation I had the good fortune of meeting David for coffee, where we had a long and animated discussion on strategic sustainability, the long-emerging focus in sustainability practice on regenerative processes of the biosphere, and

Click to read more ...


Whole Systems Methodology Is Alive in 2013


RMI's Whole Systems Design Method

Individual, reductionist vs. whole systems design method and results, from RMI:

Also,  "Designers tend to disassemble design problems into their individual pieces. This reductionism, common in Western science, can be useful for developing topical expertise, but optimizing individual parts with little thought to their interactions yields inferior results.

Click to read more ...


Regenerative Planning & Design--Connecting to the Essence for Higher Value

Leading Edge.  Multiple threads of leading edge sustainability are coalescing around what can be termed the new practice of regenerative planning and design. At the center of this approach is connecting the functional success of the regenerative life support system we call the enviornment with the heart, soul, and spirit that adds meaning to human life.

Click to read more ...


Bridging Morphology, Biomimicry, Sustainability, and Synergetics Symposium

Fourth Biennial Design Science Symposium, From STEM to STEAM thru Synergy,

STEAM: integrative, interdisciplinary or transdisciplinary studies working together with the result being greater than individual parts (synergy) - The study of a structure's interconnected parts (morphology) leading to inspiration through nature (biomimicry) producing harmony, fulfilling the social, economic and environmental

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Federal (U.S.) Strategic Sustainability Planning

President Obama signed Executive Order 13514 on Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance in October 2009, directing Federal agencies to reduce greenhouse gas pollution, eliminate waste, improve energy and water performance, and leverage Federal purchasing power to support innovation and entrepreneurship in clean energy technologies and environmentally-responsible products.

Under Executive Order 13514, Federal agencies are required to develop, implement, and annually update a Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan that describes how they will achieve the environmental, economic, and energy goals mandated in the Executive Order. Agencies must prioritize actions based on a positive return on investment for the American taxpayer. The plans are updated each year, reviewed by the Council on Environmental Quality and approved by the Office of Management and Budget to ensure that actions are carefully aligned with resources, Administration priorities, and the Federal budget process.


The CityFix, EMBARQ, and the WRI

The CityFix is an online resource for learning about the latest in sustainable urban mobility and planning. Launched in 2007, the site connects a global network of writers, urban planners, designers, engineers, and citizens who work to make cities better places to live. The blog is produced by EMBARQ, a not-for-profit program of the World Resources Institute that works to catalyze and help implement environmentally, socially, and financially sustainable transport and urban planning solutions.


The Key to Inventing the Sustainable Economy

Legislation needs to be based on the link between continued carbon pollution and the crashing of our biosphere and economy, to invisible current financial investment risks, and to the necesary goal of eliminating carbon burning and GHG production from our economy.

Thenon-negotiable legislative cornerstone needs to be eliminating carbon and GHG production within a specified time frame of 10 years or so.

The rationale is that doing so makes the needed environmental performance of our economy a priority; and by making it the design parameter for economic innovation, it harnesses the creative powers of the market to drive the economy to reinvent itself as a sustainable ecologic economy. 

In addition, this is the only path to real wealth production facing humanity, possibly even the elusive holy grail of "perpetual" prosperity, option . The sooner we get there the better off we will be.


Principles of Sustainability in HD Documentaries

In what appears to be a path-breaking innovation in eduction applied to sustainability, the University of Idahoe has developed an . . .

online open course is a digital walkabout on the primary concepts, principles, and issues of sustainability. This course is intended for upper division or graduate level university students. Rather than lectures, the course has eight Chapters, each with several Parts that detail the Chapter topic area.

Click to read more ...


Sustainability Handbook--Understanding of Sustainability in practice and theory 

A practitioner's guide toThe Natural Step whole systems strategic sustainability action planning method and tools.

This book combines the academic and practical experience from a collection of authors. The content has been used, tested and refined over many iterations, and now serves as a

Click to read more ...


Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure

Envision™ Sustainable Infrastructure Rating System

Envision™ is the product of a joint collaboration between the Zofnass Program for Sustainable Infrastructure at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design and the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure.

Envision™ provides a holistic framework for evaluating and rating the community, environmental, and economic benefits of all types and sizes of infrastructure projects.

It evaluates, grades, and gives recognition to infrastructure projects that use transformational, collaborative approaches to assess the sustainability indicators over the course of the project's life cycle.

(read more)


Smart City Resources is the result of a journey that started in 2003 as an initiative to promote cities as real-life laboratories for services in cities.  In 2008, Living Labs Global was

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