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Sustainability Overview: Global & Island Challenges & Opportunities


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by Alex Frost

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Sustainability Overview: Global & Island Challenges & Opportunities

  1. 1. Sustainability Overview: Global and Island Challenges and Opportunities Youth Leadership Summit Martha’s Vineyard June 22nd to June 28th, 2013 Alexander Rijiro Frost
  2. 2. Purpose To build participant‟s capacity to • Understand the value and benefits to moving toward sustainability • Identify and be comfortable with the basic science of sustainability • Cite examples of islands leading the world to advance sustainable development.
  3. 3. Agenda 1. Introduction 2. Global Overview 3. Sustainability Science 4. Island Leaders in Sustainability • Hawaii, USA • Island of Wight, England • El Hierro Island, Spain • New Zealand and Iceland 5. Conclusion
  4. 4. Introduction – Who am I? • Former Sustainability & Resource Coordinator for Hawaii County (7 years) • Peace Corps Philippines • Starting Master‟s in Urban Planning at UH Manoa in Fall 2013 • Finishing up my 20 months pilgrimage - visiting sacred places around the world.
  5. 5. People and Places
  6. 6. Global Overview
  7. 7. Public Awakening…
  8. 8. Seeing the Opportunities – Business… Walmart’s Goals • To be supplied 100 % by renewable energy • To create zero waste • To sell products that sustain our resources and environment
  9. 9. Global Ecological Footprint
  10. 10. Increasing Social/Human Pressure on Earth Systems (IGBP, 2004)
  11. 11. Overwhelming Ecosystem Services…
  12. 12. Metaphor of the funnel Declining resources and ecosystem services Increasing demand for resources and ecosystem services
  13. 13. Emerging Sustainability Issues • Increased operational costs – (energy, waste disposal, infrastructure & building maintenance, health care, policing, water treatment, insurance, etc…) • Increased demand for social services… • Regulations & compliance costs and challenges… • Reduced air quality… • Reduced water quality… • Health issues… • Deteriorating sense of trust… • Loss of cultural uniqueness… • Growing land use conflicts… • Increasing pressures and extinctions of plant and animal life… • Increased security demands…
  14. 14. Emerging Opportunities The metaphor of the funnel also suggests that: those who find new ways to provide services and products that meet human needs while reducing their negative impacts and enhancing their positive impacts will be best positioned to succeed. And if not now, when?
  15. 15. Sustainability Science
  16. 16. What is Sustainability? Sustainability: Sustainability can be scientifically defined as a dynamic state in which global ecological and social systems are not systematically undermined. Ensuring that activities do not systematically undermine ecological and social systems is to ensure that the capacity of future generations to meet their needs is not compromised. Ecological and social systems can be undermined in four basic ways. United Nations 1987 Brundtland Report - Our Common Future: “Sustainable Development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.”
  17. 17. Cycles of nature Slow geological cycles (volcano eruptions and weathering) Slow geological cycles (sedimentation and mineralization) Closed system with respect to matter 1) Nothing disappears 2) Everything disperses Open system with respect to energy « Photosynthesis pays the bill » Sustainability is about the ability of our own human society to continue indefinitely within these natural cycles
  18. 18. How we influence cycles Relatively large flows of materials from the Earth’s crust Introduce persistent compounds foreign to nature Physically inhibit nature’s ability to run cycles Barriers to people meeting their basic needs worldwide
  19. 19. 4 Sustainability Principles – An operational definition ...concentrations of substances extracted from the Earth’s crust, ...concentrations of substances produced by society, ...degradation by physical means, ...people are not subject to conditions that systematically undermine their capacity to meet their needs. In a sustainable society, nature is not subject to systematically increasing... and, in that society...
  20. 20. Our Sustainability Situation The problem is not that we mine, harvest and consume resources and use ecosystem services. It is that our industrial system, as it currently operates, requires the mining, harvesting and consumption of an ever-increasing amount of resources and making ever greater use of ecosystem services. At some point, we exceed the Earth‟s capacity to supply those resources and services, and to absorb the associated wastes.
  21. 21. 4 Sustainability Principles – An operational definition ...concentrations of substances extracted from the Earth’s crust, ...concentrations of substances produced by society, ...degradation by physical means, ...people are not subject to conditions that systematically undermine their capacity to meet their needs. In a sustainable society, nature is not subject to systematically increasing... and, in that society...
  22. 22. 9 human needs Subsistence Protection Participation Idleness Affection Understanding Creativity Identity Freedom
  23. 23. • There is a general belief that humans have all kinds of needs that are constantly changing over time. • A deeper look, however, reveals that there are really only a few basic needs that all humans, all around the planet, share. • And what changes is how we satisfy those needs. • In fact, it is how we satisfy those needs that distinguishes our various cultures Human Needs
  24. 24. Example of Island Sustainability Challenge: Hawai‘i Island
  25. 25. “Ola Na Moku” “Living Island” Ho’owaiwai is a Hawaiian word meaning “to enrich”. In old Hawai„i it was everyone‟s responsibility to take care of the water. Those with a sufficient supply of wai (water) were considered “wealthy.” Learning from the Past
  26. 26. Island Sustainability Challenge 68% Electricity 99.9% Fuel (transportation) 76% Materials 85% Food Fossil Fuel Dependence *Source: IH Green Economy Report Import Economy = Not Self-Sufficient
  27. 27. Challenges for Sustainability in Hawai„i & Islands in General • Little local energy production • Waste management • Little food security • Little economic diversification • Creating transit infrastructure that gets people out of their cars and enhances mobility • Mainstreaming sustainability and overcoming resistance • Siloed approach by government to funding and address of sustainability related challenges noted above • Depletion of biodiversity
  28. 28. Opportunities for Sustainability in Hawai„i • Creating local energy self sufficiency • Creating local food security and diversity of food sources / crops • Learning from the kupuna • Leveraging the creativity, passion and intelligence of Hawai„ian people to further the sustainability agenda • Growing awareness of sustainability and related challenges and opportunities • Take advantage of the economic downturn • Creating a larger green job market • Great grassroots support and motivation • Becoming a world leader in island sustainability
  29. 29. Renewable Island
  30. 30. Examples of Island Leaders in Sustainability
  31. 31. Isle of Wight, England
  32. 32. El Hierro, Canary Island, Spain
  33. 33. New Zealand
  34. 34. Iceland
  35. 35. Three Ideas to Explore Conclusion
  36. 36. 1 Live Energy Light
  37. 37. 2 Support Local & Eat Fresh
  38. 38. 3 What is my gift & purpose? Learn & Engage! Who am I? What does it mean to be a human? How do we evolve?
  39. 39. Thank you