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The Natural Step Framework Presentation to ISU Extension Community and Economic Development State In-service December 11, 2008.

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Presentation on theme: "The Natural Step Framework Presentation to ISU Extension Community and Economic Development State In-service December 11, 2008."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Natural Step Framework Presentation to ISU Extension Community and Economic Development State In-service December 11, 2008

2 Jerry Hembd State Specialist Community and Economic Development University of Wisconsin-Extension Associate Professor of Economics Department of Business and Economics University of Wisconsin-Superior

3  2008 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. The Natural Step: What Is It?

4 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 Source material from TNS Canada

5 Who Uses It? Swedish Eco- municipalities City of Madision, WI Source material from TNS Canada

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? Source material from TNS Canada

8 Only One Planet

9 Our Planet Is in Trouble Source material from TNS Canada

10 Growing Awareness

11 What is Sustainability? “Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” ~ The Brundtland Report “It contains two key concepts: the concept of “needs,” in particular the essential needs of the world’s poor, to which overriding priority should be given; and the idea of limitations imposed by the state of technology and social organization on the environment’s ability to meet present and future needs.” ~ The Brundtland Report

12 environment economy society Dimensions of Sustainability Society Economy Environment Source material from TNS Canada

13 Conventional Thinking Traditionally, we try to understand complex systems by reducing the whole and studying the individual parts. This is called reductionist thinking. Source material from TNS Canada

14 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. Source material from TNS Canada

15 We must look at the whole... … and not get stuck on details Systems Thinking Source material from TNS Canada

16 Understanding the Sustainability Challenge The Funnel as a Metaphor

17 Resource Funnel Resource Availability and Ecosystem Ability to Provide Vital Services Raw materials, ecosystem services, declining integrity and capacity of natural systems Sustainability Margin for Action Societal Demand for Resources Growth in population, resource requirements as affluence increases, increased demands as technology spreads Source: Nattrass, Brian, and Altomare, Mary. The Natural Step for Business. New Society Publishers, 1999.

18 Supporting Nutrient cycling Soil formation Primary production Provisioning Food Freshwater Wood and fibre Fuel Regulating Climate regulation Flood regulation Disease regulation Water purification Cultural Aesthetics Spiritual Educational Recreational Ecosystem Services Source: Millennium Ecosystem Assessment Washington, DC: Island Press.

19 The Sustainability Challenge Source material from TNS Canada

20 A Systems Perspective The Earth as a system

21 What can we agree on? 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 our own human society to continue indefinitely within these natural cycles “Photosynthesis pays the bills” 1) Nothing disappears 2) Everything disperses Source material from TNS Canada

22 How we influence cycles Introduce persistent compounds foreign to nature 2 Physically inhibit ability of nature to run cycles 3 Relatively large flows of materials from the Earth’s crust 1 Barriers to people meeting their basic needs 4 Source material from TNS Canada

23 Ways 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)

24 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:

25 FUNDAMENTAL HUMAN NEEDS AffectionProtectionUnderstandingParticipationSubsistenceFreedom Identity Idleness Creation Global Human Needs Source material from TNS Canada

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

27 Backcasting from Principles and the ABCD Methodology

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

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

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

31 ABCD Awareness Baseline Creative Solutions Decide on Priorities Present Future Does it move us in the right direction? Is it a flexible platform? Is it a good return on investment?

32 Review - Key Concepts The Funnel Backcasting and ABCD Model Principles of Sustainability

33 ISO14001 Triple bottom line Sustainable growth Carbon Neutrality Cleaner Production Life Cycle Analysis Zero Emissions Renewable Energy Zero Waste Ecological Footprinting Sustainability analysis Biomimicry Hannover Principles CSR Natural Capitalism Smart Growth Ecoefficiency Agenda 21 Other Tools and Concepts Melbourne Principles

34 Challenge of Alignment Many individuals in an organization (and organizations within a community) with energy and enthusiasm

35 Challenge of Alignment Shared sense of purpose, shared vision acts as a compass

36 Challenge of Alignment Aligned and moving in the same direction

37 A Growing Movement Community stories

38 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

39 What’s Happening in Wisconsin? 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 City of Sheboygan Dunn County Village of Spring Green Town of La Pointe Duluth, MN

40 Challenges for transition We need more accurate models, metaphors, and measures to describe the human enterprise relative to the biosphere. It will require a marked improvement and creativity in the arts of citizenship and governance. The public’s discretion will need to be informed through greatly improved education. It will require learning how to recognize and solve divergent problems, which is to say a higher level of spiritual awareness. Source: David Orr. The Last Refuge: Patriotism, Politics, and the Environment in an Age of Terror. Washington, DC: Island Press, 2004.

41 Thank You


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