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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

« Stop Using Mountain Streams as Waste Dumps | Main | Population Growth »

Renewable Energy Economy Cheaper than Global Warming-Induced Biospheric and Economic System Collapse

Stephen Cohen writes, "In the long run, global warming will cost more than the cost of moving to a fossil fuel free economy." But how to bring that cost differential into the present in a way that generates win-win transformational economic change is the policy challenge humanity faces for sustainability success.

What people don't understand, and that leads them to a correct individual choice but false aggregated societal choice in the present (either consumption or investment), is that the nominally cheaper cost of fossil-fuel-based energy now is an illusion. The only reason it is cheaper is because market failure generates false price-signals that do not fully reflect the economic catastrophe towards which the cheaper fossil fuel prices--like a siren song--are beguilingly and inextricably pulling us at a break-neck and accelerating speed.

However, individual producers and consumers are not entirely to blame. Individuals have limited capacity to buck the system and current prices. One of the real challenges of an effective response to the impending climate-warming-induced biologic and economic systems collapse of the business-as-usual (BUA) scenario is the policy innovation required to stimulate a lightening-fast systems transformation to sustainability. Policy innovation is more critical than technological innovation, although both are required. However, technological innovation without policy innovation will be insufficient.

Individual actors can only go so far. They can only incrementally change the status-quo, but can't transform the system. Incremental change alters little aspects of a basic pattern. Transformation changes the pattern itself; it fundamentally alters the pattern. We no longer can afford incremental change. No matter how much the current pattern of economc tools, processes, materials, formulas, products could be incrementally changed, the current pattern IS the problem and no amount of incremental change will be sufficient to avoid systems disequilibrium and collapse.

The time has come for systems transformation. Nothing else will work. For the market, for individual actors, to drive the needed systems transformation empowerment is required at the system level. That empowerment will come from new, innovative policies that will bust the entrenched-interest-status-quo head lock on needed change; that will ennervate the innvoative entrepreneurs of a new ecologically-based economy in a new bout of capitalistic creative destruction that will redeploy society's resources for a a win-win solution instead of the traditional lose-win.

We need to drive the system towards its own win-win transformation within 20 years. That is the sustainability challenge humanity faces.

Pardoxically, long before we run out of gas, the higher cost of increasingly limited supply will put a choke hold on our outmoded fossil-fuel-based economy adn therein lies the achilles heal of the feet draggers, those who say there's plenty of supply out there, even a 100 years or more. Well that may be the case in terms of stock, but not in terms of its increasingly accelerating relative value and scarcity in a globablizing world that will add almost 50% population growth of 3 BILLION people by 2050, an unheard of historic first. No one really knows if the biological system could handle it, but one thing is for sure, the humn economy likely can't AND the planet's biological life-support system, the biosphere, cannot handle the economy trying to meet the demand given its current ecologicaly/natural economy/capital/environment-destroying tools, processes, and effects.

Unfortunately, that scenario is far longer than the dramatically harsher and more costly climactic conditions that global "warming" will usher in over the next 10-20 years. Those harsher conditions will generate dramatic ecological transformations from radically altered hydrologic (water) regimes, extreme temperature variations (of the mile one or two or three degree increase in mean earth surface), increasingly frequent and normalized extreme, life-threatening, and destructive weather events. These new "exogenous" conditions will produce periodically frequent and permanent disruption, dislocations, and crises for our local human economies leading to a lot of uncertainty, anxiety, deprivation, suffering, death, and destruction.

Global warming is a misnomer. It lulls one into a false sense of lethargic security.

It should be called Human-Economy-Induced Climate-Warming-Induced Unrecoverable Biospheric and Economic Systems Crash and Collapse. But THAT's too long for a sound bite. How about simply Climate Burning or Climate Collapse?

We have approximately 10-20 years to reverse course, avoid the unrecoverable crash and collapse, suffer through some major biologic and economic dislocation, crises, and crashes, and rebuild the human economy in a way that stabilizes and reverses the climate-induced biologic and economic crises and produces a higher level of economic prosperity than humanity has been able to produce to date. How likely is success? Probably low, but the do-nothing scenario is unacceptable and the historic reward of success woudl be huge, so why not try?

The transition to--the production of--the wealthier more powerful ecologically sustainable and based economy and society is humanity's last true frontier, last long-wave of economic development, and last opportunity for prosperity.

Let's get going! The incipient, effective, whole-systems, and critical-path response has begun. Stay tuned to S-2030 for understanding, resources, solutions, and initiatives that move individuals and the system to sustainability systems transformation and success.

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