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The Natural Step Framework Presentation at Living Green Conference Duluth, Minnesota February 2, 2008.

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Presentation on theme: "The Natural Step Framework Presentation at Living Green Conference Duluth, Minnesota February 2, 2008."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Natural Step Framework Presentation at Living Green Conference Duluth, Minnesota February 2, 2008

2 Introduction The Natural Step framework Eco-municipalities Early Adopters Project

3 The Natural Step The Natural Step is an international non-profit research, education and advisory organization that uses a science-based, systems framework to help organizations, individuals and communities take meaningful steps toward sustainability.

4 Who uses it? Swedish Eco- municipalities City of Madision, WI

5 The Natural Step Framework 1.A shared science- and systems-based definition for sustainability 2.A decision-making framework and process to help organizations and communities plan for sustainability 3.A compass to help us know if we’re moving in the right direction

6 Dr. Karl-Henrik Robèrt Find fundamental principles of indisputable relevance, and thereafter ask the advice of others on how to apply them.

7 Why are we talking about sustainability ?

8 Our planet is in trouble

9 Growing Awareness

10 Understanding the Sustainability Challenge The Funnel as a Metaphor

11 The Sustainability Challenge Environmental? Economic? Social? Cultural? *Resources *Ecosystem services declining increasing *Global population *Demand for resources *Demand for ecosystem services Time

12 Ecosystem Services Some examples: Purification of water and air Regulation of chemical composition of atmosphere/oceans Decomposition of wastes Natural pest & disease control by birds, insects, bats & other organisms Formation of topsoil & soil fertility Protection against harmful cosmic radiation Regulation of local and global climate Pollination Primary producers of basic necessities – food, fiber, water

13 The Sustainability Challenge

14 environment economy society Dimensions of Sustainability Society Economy Environment

15 Conventional Thinking Traditionally, we try to understand complex systems by reducing the whole and studying the individual parts. This is called reductionist thinking.

16 Systems Thinking But… We know that the properties of systems depend on the relationships between the parts as much as the parts themselves. When you dissect the system, you destroy the pattern of relationships.

17 We must look at the whole... … and not get stuck on details Systems Thinking

18 A Systems Perspective The Earth as a system

19 Sustainability – a Systems Perspective Closed System with respect to matter Slow geological cycles - materials from the Earth’s crust Open System with respect to energy Sustainability is about the ability of these cycles to run forever. Photosynthesis is the primary producer 1) Nothing disappears 2) Everything disperses Humans are inherently part of this system

20 Sustainability – Mechanisms for Un-sustainability 1. A systematic increase in concentration of matter from the Earth’s crust 1 2. A systematic increase in concentration of substances produced by society 2 3. A systematic physical deterioration 3 4. Barriers to people meeting their needs worldwide 4

21 Basic Conditions for Sustainability concentrations of substances extracted from the earth's crust concentrations of substances produced by society degradation by physical means and, in that society… 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:

22 Basic Ways in Which We Are Un-Sustainable we dig stuff (like heavy metals and fossil fuels) out of the Earth’s crust and allow it to build up faster than nature can cope with it we create man-made compounds and chemicals (like pesticides and fire retardants in carpets, etc.) and allow them to build up faster than nature can cope with them we continuously damage natural systems and the free services they provide (including climate regulation and water filtration) by physical means (for example, overharvesting and paving wetlands) And... we live in and create societies in which many people cannot meet their basic needs (for example, to find affordable housing)

23 FUNDAMENTAL HUMAN NEEDS AffectionProtectionUnderstandingParticipationSubsistenceFreedom Identity Idleness Creation Global Human Needs

24 Sustainability Objective 1 Reduce and eventually eliminate our contribution to the buildup of materials taken from the Earth’s crust. This includes fossil fuels and their associated wastes. Scarce metals Abundant metals Fossil fuels Renewables Inefficient useEfficient use Dissipative use Tight technical cycles

25 Sustainability Objective 2 Reduce and eventually eliminate our contribution to the buildup of synthetic substances produced by society. Dissipative use Persistent and unnatural Abundant and breakdown easily Tight technical cycles Inefficient use Efficient use

26 Sustainability Objective 3 Reduce and eventually eliminate our contribution to the ongoing physical degradation of Nature. Inefficient use of resources and land Resources from poorly managed ecosystems Resources from well-managed ecosystems use Efficient use of resources and land

27 Sustainability Objective 4 Unsafe working and living environments Economic barriers Safe working and living environments Sufficient resources for livelihood Political oppression Political freedom Reduce and eventually eliminate our contribution to conditions that undermine people’s ability to meet their basic needs.

28 “Knowing where we want to go will help us get there”

29 Key Concepts Backcasting from Principles and the ABCD Methodology

30 Backcasting...looking ’back’ to the present and designing strategic, step-wise actions... current reality time

31 Backcasting from Sustainability Principles...looking ’back’ to the present and designing strategic, step-wise solutions... current reality time

32 Generic Planning Framework “D” Step  Right direction?  Flexible Platform?  Return on investment? time

33 Review - Key Concepts The Funnel Backcasting Principles of Sustainability

34 A growing movement Community stories

35 An eco-municipality aspires to develop an ecologically, economically, and socially healthy community for the long term, using The Natural Step Framework for sustainability as a guide, and a democratic, highly participative development process as the method. Swedish Eco-municipalities

36 What’s Happening in Our Area? Wisconsin Eco-Municipalities City of Washburn City of Ashland City of Madison City of Bayfield Town of Bayfield Douglas County Johnson Creek City of Marshfield City of Manitowoc City of Neenah City of Menasha Town of Cottage Grove La Crosse La Crosse County City Beloit City of Baraboo _________________________ Duluth, MN

37 Early Adopters for Sustainability Model rooted in the theory of innovation diffusion – from innovators, to early adopters, to early majority, to critical mass Recent applications as part of Natural Step program in Canadian communities of Whistler and Canmore Green Team Network in Chequamegon Bay Twin Ports Early Adopters Project coming in the spring/summer

38 Sustainable Twin Ports Early Adopters Project Partnership  Sustainable Twin Ports –Sustainable Duluth –We Mean Green (Knight Creative Communities Initiative) “Eco-resolutions” –City of Duluth –Douglas County Project has been funded by local foundations –Zeppa Foundation –Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation

39 The Basics Twelve to fifteen early adopter organizations Two to five participants per organization Ten days of training over one year Baseline evaluations Developing a vision of a sustainable organization Action planning and implementation Documentation, peer learning, and sharing with broader community

40 Key Strengths Creation of local role models and success stories that inspire rest of community about sustainability Development of a shared understanding of and language for sustainability among leading organizations in the community or area

41 Recruitment Criteria Candidate organizations are recognized community leaders; they have an interest in sustainability; and they collectively represent the breadth of the community or area.

42 For Additional Information Sustainable Twin Ports Contacts Jan Karon – ; Jerry Hembd – ;

43 Thank You


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