Sustaining or strengthening environments (Benyus; McDonough & Braungart)
As humanity is special (it can do damage even though intending to do good) it is necessary to operate in new ways; not ones that just do “less badly” but ones that transform human industry through the use of design inspired by nature.
What though are we trying to sustain?
Is it our money?
Is it our recreation?
Is it our occupation?
Is it our family?
Is it our natural environment?
Is it all of these?
Or is it something else?
Or when your company says that is being sustainable? What is it we are trying to sustain?
These are philosophical questions
George Monbiot (writer in The Guardian )
"The real issues are not technical or economic. The crisis we face demands a profound philosophical discussion, a reappraisal of who we are and what progress means” and
“ Debating these matters makes us neither saints nor communists; it shows only that we have understood the science”
Something of The nature of our predicament
Labyrinthine, multicursal, many paths and many “dead-ends”
Dynamic with turbulence
Our systems, networks, processes and organisations, developed with a causal logic have become over time deeply enmeshed in a ‘cats-cradle of interconnections’ with behaviour ‘driven by interactions between optimising, but confused, agents’ (Haldane).
By way of example
We have de-contextualised our use of natural resources by supplying energy, water and products ‘on demand’ using causal systems.
These systems have been developed purposefully e.g. to provide clean, potable water and physically separating the waste stream. This has reduced disease even though we live in close quarters in cities.
The loop though is closed by relying on natural systems (e.g. rainfall in catchment areas)
We are now see that we cannot necessarily rely on these natural processes (extended periods of drought)
We need to go beyond “debate” deliberation?
“ In deliberation, people discuss, ponder, exchange observations and views, reflect upon information and judgements concerning matters of mutual interest, and attempt to persuade each other”
“ Deliberations about risk often include discussions of the role, subjects, methods, and results of analysis”
US National Research Council, Understanding Risk
a dream becoming a reality “ When Martin Luther King said "I have a dream", he was inviting others to dream it with him. Once a dream becomes shared in that way, current reality gets measured against it and then modified towards it. As soon as we sense the possibility of a more desirable world, we begin behaving differently, as though that world is starting to come into existence, as though, in our minds at least, we're already there. The dream becomes an invisible force which pulls us forward. By this process it starts to come true. The act of imagining something makes it real.” [Quote from Bryan Eno’s Long Now and Big Here]
it is not my dream alone that I want to become reality
Dream with others
Drawing on the energy of others that emerges from their own interests, collectively
Connecting with a theme that is of general concern
A theme Managing the Home From the etymology of the word “economy”
An initial structured conversation
sharing views of values (or desirable futures)
concluding with identification of actions or “projects” individually, groups and collectively, as well as
potential connections to be made
A further sequence of face-to-face conversations
Conversations in-between supported via on-line collaboration tools
Several groups from different societal parts (e.g. urban, suburban, peri-urban, regional, remote)
Supporting the organisation of these structured conversation including
Recruitment of participants
Development and maintenance of online tools
Mediation of the process
Keith De La Rue (AcKnowledge Consulting)
oases Graduate School and Community Learning ( www.oases.edu.au )
Other possible connections:
Others that are already active (GetUp, DDP groups, Transition Towns, Lighter Footprints etc)
Does this make sense?
Is there more that you need to have it make sense?
It needs volunteers with
Willingness to “give it a go”
More about The Sustainability Thing
An invitation to dream this into reality together
1. Haldane, A. Rethinking the financial network . 2009 [cited 2011 26 July].
2. Hector, D., Towards a New Philosophy of Engineering: Structuring the complex problems from the sustainability discourse , in School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering . 2008, The University of Sydney: Sydney.
3. Naess, A., Deep ecology for the 22nd century. The Trumpeter, 1992. 9 (2): p. 53-60.
4. Bruntland, G., Our common future . 1987, The World Commission on Environment and Development, published by Oxford University Press: Oxford.
5. Benyus, J., Biomimicry . 1997, New York: William Morrow and Company.
6. McDonough, W. and M. Braungart, Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things . 2002, New York: North Point Press.
7. Monbiot, G., This crisis demands a reappraisal of who we are and what progress means , in The Guardian, http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2007/dec/04/comment.politics 2007: London, UK.
8. Eno, B., The Big Here and Long Now . 2000: http:///www.longnow.org/timelinks/timelink.htm, Accessed 19th June 2005.
9. US National Research Council, Understanding risk: information decisions in a democratic society , ed. P.C. Stern and H.V. Fineberg. 1994, Washington, DC.