Presentation on theme: "The Natural Step and the Twin Ports Early Adopter Project Presentation to Energy in Technology, Nature and Society Class WITC-Superior November 13, 2008."— Presentation transcript:
The Natural Step and the Twin Ports Early Adopter Project Presentation to Energy in Technology, Nature and Society Class WITC-Superior November 13, 2008
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
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.
Who Uses It? Swedish Eco- municipalities City of Madision, WI
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
Dr. Karl-Henrik Robèrt Find fundamental principles of indisputable relevance, and thereafter ask the advice of others on how to apply them.
Why are we talking about sustainability?
Only One Planet
Our Planet Is in Trouble
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
environment economy society Dimensions of Sustainability Society Economy Environment
Conventional Thinking Traditionally, we try to understand complex systems by reducing the whole and studying the individual parts. This is called reductionist thinking.
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.
We must look at the whole... … and not get stuck on details Systems Thinking
Understanding the Sustainability Challenge The Funnel as a Metaphor
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.
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. 2005. Washington, DC: Island Press.
The Sustainability Challenge
A Systems Perspective The Earth as a system
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
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
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) 4 3 2 1
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: 4 3 2 1
FUNDAMENTAL HUMAN NEEDS AffectionProtectionUnderstandingParticipationSubsistenceFreedom Identity Idleness Creation Global Human Needs
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
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
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
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.
“Knowing where we want to go will help us get there”
Key Concepts Backcasting from Principles and the ABCD Methodology
Backcasting...looking ’back’ to the present and designing strategic, step-wise actions... current reality time
Backcasting from Sustainability Principles...looking ’back’ to the present and designing strategic, step-wise solutions... current reality time
Generic Planning Framework “D” Step Right direction? Flexible Platform? Return on investment? time
Review - Key Concepts The Funnel Backcasting Principles of Sustainability
A Growing Movement Community stories
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
What’s Happening in Our Area? 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
Sustainable Twin Ports Sustainable Twin Ports is dedicated to furthering economic, environmental and social sustainability in the Twin Ports and western Lake Superior region through education, networking and action.
Twin Ports Early Adopter Project Duluth, Minnesota and Superior, Wisconsin
Early Adopter Project Early Adopters are respected and representative community businesses and organizations that make the commitment to provide leadership by introducing and using The Natural Step Framework in their respective organizations.
Early Majority 34% Late Majority 34% Early Adopters 13.5% Laggards 16% 2.5% “Critical Mass” Innovators Early Adopter Concept Innovation-Diffusion Model
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.
Early Adopter Project Basics Fourteen Early Adopter organizations Two to five participants per organization Six 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
Early Adopter Organizations Public Sector City of Duluth Superior Public Schools Duluth Transit Authority Douglas County University of Wisconsin- Superior Nonprofit Sector Challenge Center Gloria Dei Lutheran Church Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce Duluth-Superior Area Community Foundation Private Sector Inn on Lake Superior, ZMC Hotels Glenwood Signs and Awards Duluth Grill (Embers) London Road Carwash Twin Ports Testing
Key strengths Development of a shared understanding of and language for sustainability among leading organizations in the community or area Creation of local role models and success stories that inspire rest of community about sustainability
Project support A.H. Zeppa Family Foundation Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation Fund for the Environment Wildey H. Mitchell Family Fund
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.