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Transition towns michael field


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A presentation I did for 'Transition Towns' on generic sustainability.

A presentation I did for 'Transition Towns' on generic sustainability.

Published in: Education

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  • Firstly, thank you to Transition Towns for inviting me to come and talk and a special thank you to Liz Muirhead for arranging this whole thing. 
  • Human extinction probability
  • So that’s the context, let’s get into what it all means…
  • That’s not to say we shouldn’t close it, it just means we need to know and solve the ‘knock-on’ effects of it. So that’s the concept of sustainable thinking (a very basic example), so what about the precautionary principle…
  • And all the impacts associated with each of these – invasive species moving – termites etc
  • Example of China’s rice yield – Yangtze River levels reducing – used to flood fields Water usage per person (population issue) and the degradation of fresh water Knock on effect on nuclear power production (heat wave in Europe – nuclear power at 60% capacity due to lack of water for cooling) It’s often easier to just use to funnel metaphor…
  • Resources that we use per person Example of Water Humans currently use the resources of 1.25 Earths So assuming we don’t go on a mass cull, we need to reduce the amount of resources we use per person. A much easier way of looking at it is the funnel metaphor…
  • I won’t go into any more detail here, but there’s a great resource if you want to get it…
  • Applies to all organisations, no matter what area
  • And then there’s the avoided costs…
  • Minimum requirement – being as bad as the law will allow you to be. And then the cost savings…
  • So what are the broad areas covered?...
  • Broad brush of the topics covered under Corporate Sustainability Cover off Sustainable Development – the oxymoron There's a great deal there, so let’s break it down a bit more…
  • A rather bold statement I know, but I’ll explain it…
  • So let’s have a quick look at the psychology behind the term…
  • The basic psychology The environmental preacher! We always go with the easiest thing to change – our beliefs - Give example of a guy with the V8
  • Transcript

    • 1.  
    • 2. Who am I?
      • Sustainability Manager – North Shore City Council
          • Corporate sustainability programmes
          • Energy management
          • Procurement
          • Fleet management
          • WasteWise programme
          • Carbon accounting
          • Sustainability reporting
      • Sustainability Consultant
          • Specialising in Corporate Sustainability
      • Sustainability Manager – Interface Inc
      • Management Consultant
        • Specialising in Hertzberg’s theories
    • 3. Sustainability
      • Over the last 200 years…
      • Some food for thought…
    • 4. Mammal species – 25% threatened
    • 5. Coral reefs – 50% in danger
    • 6. Sea fisheries 70% over-fished or collapsed
    • 7. Farmland – 67% degraded
    • 8. Wetlands – 50% gone
    • 9. Freshwater fish populations 50% less
    • 10. Large rivers 60% dammed or diverted
    • 11. Bird species – 10% threatened
    • 12. Mangroves – 50% gone
    • 13. Original forest – 80% gone
    • 14. So what are our chance of survival? 50%
    • 15. Depressed yet?
    • 16. Sustainability definitions
      • Official definition: Intergenerational Equity
      • But what does this mean?
      • “ Meeting the needs of today, without inhibiting future generations from meeting their own needs ”
    • 17. Interconnectivity
      • We live in an interconnected and interdependent ecological system
        • This is a fact, not an opinion
      • Every single action we take impacts on something else
        • Often numerous other things
      • This needs to be recognised and accounted for when we make decisions
    • 18. Joined up thinking
      • Sustainability is really all about how we think
        • A new way of thinking
      • We think one topic at a time
        • After all, it’s easier to do
      • This needs to change fast
        • Includes Environmental, Social, Economic and Cultural impacts (massively simplified)
      • An unpopular example…
    • 19. Huntly Power Station
      • Environmental push to close Huntly
        • Good for the environment
      • But what else will it do?
      • Energy shortage (just one aspect)
        • Impacts on families (ability to heat and cook)
        • Impacts on industry (ability to produce)
        • Impacts on the price of energy (hits both industry and families)
        • Impacts on the economy (the cost to produce goes up – hits employment and cost of living)
        • Impacts on the available money circulating within the economy – potential to lead to a recession
    • 20. The Precautionary Principle
      • Erring on the side of caution
        • If we don’t clearly understand the range of impacts from an action or the severity of them, we should not do it
      • CFC’s – a great example
        • CFC’s are totally benign
        • Didn’t realise the effect that solar radiation would have on it once it hit the ozone layer
    • 21. The urgent drivers
      • Climate Change
        • Regardless of whether you believe it’s ‘human induced’ or not, it’s happening
          • Again, this is a fact, not an opinion
        • Major impacts for New Zealand
          • Ocean level rise (1m to 5m – NIWA report Oct 08)
          • Temperature extremes (hotter and colder)
          • Severe weather events (storms, ocean surges, extreme rainfall events
    • 22. Energy depletion
      • It’s far bigger than just peak oil – it’s peak energy
      • All non-renewable resources are being depleted
        • This includes materials required for nuclear power production (Uranium)
        • Remember that nuclear power requires water (more on that in a moment)
      • But it’s even more than that…
    • 23. Resource depletion
      • In fact, the vast majority of resources are being depleted or cannot be replaced as fast as the growth in demand:
      • Again, often through interconnected issues like climate change
        • Food
          • both crop yields and animal stocks
        • Water
          • Through use and pollution
        • Metals
    • 24. Resource use - The Funnel Metaphor Resources Time Demand Supply ?
    • 25. The cause
      • All of the issues we face can sound very confusing and complex (and they are)
      • But really it is due wholeheartedly to one single cause…
      • Human population levels!
    • 26. Population
      • 1950 = 2.56 billion
      • Exceeded in ’80s
      • 2006 = 6.53 billion
      • Each year 77 million added
    • 27. The solution
      • Since a culling spree is pretty much out of the question, what can we do?
      • We need to reduce the ‘impact’ and ‘resource usage’ per capita
      • A frugal existence can start with obvious ‘waste’ elimination
      • For example…
    • 28. Energy in our homes
      • Space heating – 34%
      • Water Heating – 29%
      • Lights & appliances – 37%
      • NZ uses about $128 million per year on stand-by mode alone
        • We get no value from this whatsoever
        • An example of truly wasted resources for no gain
      • Lighting…
    • 29. Energy efficiency
      • Lights
        • Energy efficient florescent bulbs
          • Remember, they are a hazardous waste
        • Light Emitting Diodes (LED’s)
          • use around 60% less energy than eco-bulbs
          • ‘ white’ light (more like sunlight, better for the eyes)
          • Dimmable
          • No ‘start up’ energy spike
    • 30. ‘ A Deeper Shade of Green’
      • A collaborative book by matter experts
      • A great resource on all thing ‘ Sustainable Living ’ related - $65 per copy
      • [email_address]
    • 31. Organisational Sustainability
      • Organisations have a major impact
      • Managing this not only delivers environmental gains, but financial ones as well
      • But why engage (we’re doing OK right now aren’t we)?
    • 32. Risk and Liability
      • Who’s job is it to manage the risks and liabilities of an organisation?
      • Ultimately the CE’s
      • Where do all the risks and liabilities come from?
      • How can you know without sustainable thinking?
    • 33. The cost of change Sustainability Legislation Minimum requirement Cost of change too high Business fails Gradual investment over time
    • 34. Basic Finance 101
      • Waste = Money
      • Waste in any form costs money
        • people, materials, energy
      • Reducing waste therefore saves money
        • Also future proofs you
      • The concept of ‘lean’ operations
    • 35. What’s included
      • Ecological protection
      • Climate change
      • Peak oil
      • Energy
      • Transport
      • Infrastructure
      • Reputation management
      • Buildings
      • Materials efficiency
      • Waste minimisation
      • Species protection
      • Impact assessment (holistic)
      • Sustainable development???
    • 36. In real terms…
      • Materials minimisation
      • Emissions
        • carbon accounting
      • Effluents and waste
      • Green procurement
      • Energy efficiency
      • Biodiversity
      • Work-flow efficiency
    • 37.
      • Economic performance
      • Sustainability policies
      • Sustainability training and education
      • Stakeholder engagement
      • Sustainability reporting
      • Environmental / Sustainability Management System
    • 38. Start with what you measure
      • It’s true what they say:
      • “ you can’t manage what you don’t measure ”
      • Start with ‘accounting’ related areas (those you’ll have invoices for)
        • Fuel (how can you reduce)
        • Electricity (energy efficient technologies)
        • Gas (reduction technologies)
        • Office consumables (paper usage etc)
    • 39. Ideas from what we’re doing
      • Seaweed diversion = $70k per year
      • Organic waste diversion = $90k per year
        • Also generates income from fertiliser
      • Energy efficiency = $120k in 1 year
        • 1 million kWh (enough to power 1000 homes)
      • Gas boiler efficiency = $174k per year for 1 unit
      • Plastic cup removal = $4k per year
      • LED lighting = 60% energy reduction
      • We have 64 projects in total right now
    • 40. Government, business and us
      • The biggest issue – how do we all work together to move in the right direction?
      • A couple of my personal thoughts that may help…
    • 41. Government
      • We all expect government to lead us, but why?
      • We live in a democratic society, so by definition, governments don’t lead, they follow
      • They exist and stay in power, so long as they do what we want them to do
      • So we need to start asking!
    • 42. Business
      • Business only exists to provide us with the goods and services that we pay them for
      • In fact, they are almost wholeheartedly funded by us
      • So why do we buy from organisations that don’t act in a sustainable manner?
      • Why aren’t we demanding they change?
      • We are paying for them to do the wrong thing
        • Without our money they cannot exist
    • 43. Us
      • So, it really boils down to us (humanity) and our lack of engagement
      • We don’t ask governments to do what we want them to do
        • Threatening to withhold our vote
      • We don’t demand businesses act sustainably
        • Threatening to withhold our money
      • But why?
    • 44. A lack of knowledge
      • In general, people don’t know enough about the issues we all face
      • If they do, it’s all too big for them
      • They don’t know what to ask for
        • Or even that they can ask or how
      • The messages we put out are unclear
      • And the way we communicate these messages doesn’t work…
    • 45. Communicating the message
      • We communicate to educate or influence
        • It’s wasted effort if people don’t ‘get it’ or don’t engage
      • Definitely must not sound ‘preachy’
    • 46. Why preaching doesn’t work
      • Guilt based messages have worked with some people
        • most were already ‘left of the centre’
      • We just need to ask them to do things and they’ll generally do it
      • But what about everyone else
        • the vast majority?
    • 47. Everyone else
      • The old messages haven’t engaged them
        • quite often pushed them the other way
      • Guilt doesn’t work with them – they tune out or become defensive
      • It needs to be meaningful and easy
      • Tell them ‘what to do’ not ‘what not to do’
      • Simply leads to Cognitive Dissonance
        • Another technical term nobody understands..
    • 48. Cognitive Dissonance Values Behaviour ‘ Behaviour ’ must match our ‘ Values ’
    • 49. The theory
      • If values and behaviours don’t match, this leads to stress
      • Either behaviour or values must change
      • We assume people will change behaviour if a value conflict is pointed out
      • In fact, much easier to change our values than our behaviour
    • 50. A positive example
      • But we’re getting there
      • Paying attention to human psychology
        • Even the traditionally ‘extreme left’ have started to recognise it
      • Focus on changing ‘what’s acceptable’
      • Removing the ‘status’ from negative behaviour
    • 51. Leaving on a positive note
      • We’re getting far better at communicating messages
      • Learning from PR and Communications companies
        • If their strategies can sell widgets we don’t need, why not sustainability?
      • A Greenpeace example…
    • 52. Doing it better…
    • 53. Questions?