Transition towns michael field


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

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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
  • Transition towns michael field

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