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Sustainable Development History. Critique of traditional development Contributing to health problems, ecological degradation, poverty and social injustice Undermining ecological, social and economic capital of communities SD as remedy . Dimensions of Sustainability. Human Health

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Sustainable Development History

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Sustainable Development History

Critique of traditional development

Contributing to health problems, ecological degradation, poverty and social injustice

Undermining ecological, social and economic capital of communities

SD as remedy.


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Dimensions of Sustainability

  • Human Health

  • Social Justice & Equity

  • Economic Opportunity for All

  • Ecological Integrity & Diversity


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Sustainability requires that we focus simultaneously on systemic changes that improve health for current and future humans, build strong, secure and thriving communities, provide economic opportunity for all by restoring and preserving the integrity of the life support system.


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Why Sustainability Now?

We are the first generation capable of determining the habitability of the planet for humans and other species.  


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Why Sustainability & Why Now?

  • Human presence on a global scale

  • All living systems in long term decline at unprecedented and accelerating rate

  • Old and new epidemics

  • Unprecedented growth in population and consumption

  • Gap between rich and poor accelerating

  • Political instability and war

  • Protracted energy challenge/crisis

  • Global Warming


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life supporting resources

declining

consumption of

life supporting resources

rising

Global Perspective


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Systems Problem

&

Design Failure


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Principles of Sustainability

Economy

Society

Ecology


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Social

Well-being

Flourishing

Environment

Strong

Economy

Sustainable

Society


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Ice Cores Preserve the History of Atmospheric CO2

The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has never been above 300 ppm for at least the last 430,000 years (and probably not for the last 30 million years!)


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Computer models of climate match the observations only when natural and human “forcings” are included in the models. The human forcings are responsible for most of the rapid warming 1970-2000.


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Coastal glaciers are retreating

Muir Glacier, Alaska, 1941-2004

August 1941

August 2004

NSIDC/WDC for Glaciology, Boulder, compiler. 2002, updated 2006. Online glacier photograph database. Boulder, CO: National Snow and Ice Data Center.


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Soon Americans will have to settle for a Non-Glacier National Park.


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Greenland ice Melting 1992, 2002, and 2005

Greenland summer surface melting, 1992-2005

1992

2002

2005

In 1992 scientists measured this amount of melting in Greenland as indicated by red areas on the map

Ten years later, in 2002, the melting was much worse

And in 2005, it accelerated dramatically yet again

Source: ACIA, 2004 and CIRES, 2005


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Shrinking mountain glaciers

The famous snows of Kilimanjaro have been shrinking rapidly in recent decades and are nearly gone.

This is particularly significant because high-elevation ice and snow near the equator does not vary much except when climate is changing globally.

The decline between 1912 and 2000 was 81%


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SOCIETY’S CHOICES

  • Mitigation, meaning measures to reduce the pace & magnitude of the changes in global climate being caused by human activities.

  • Adaptation, meaning measures to reduce the adverse impacts on human well-being resulting from the changes in climate that do occur.

  • Suffering the adverse impacts that are not avoided by either mitigation or adaptation.


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Combining the ice-core data and the direct measurements from Mauna Loa yields a curve strikingly similar to the curve that describes…


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Making the “Invisible”

“Visible”


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From

Fossil powered

Take, make, waste

Living off nature’s capital

Market as master

Loss of cultural & biological diversity

Individual centered

To

Solar powered

Cyclical production

Living off nature’s income

Market as servant

Increased cultural & biological diversity

Community centered

Global Transition


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Reversing Climate Disruption

Energy Efficiency

Renewable Energy

wind, solar, geothermal, hydro

Land use & transportation

higher density, less auto dependence

alternative fuels for vehicles

“Circular” economy

Sustainable/local agriculture

Carbon sequestration


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Sustainability Frameworks & Tools

  • Systemic, holistic, integrative thinking

  • The Natural Step

  • Ecological Footprint

  • Biomimicry

  • Natural Capitalism

  • Life Cycle Analysis

  • LEED

  • Others


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Higher Education’s Importance to Sustainability

  • Influences current & future leaders & professionals

  • Deeply influences K-12 education

  • Dedicated to new ideas, exploration and experimentation

  • Has critical mass & diversity of skills necessary

  • Crucial but overlooked leverage point in transition to sustainability


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Opportunity in Higher Education

  • 4,096 U.S. Colleges and Universities1

  • 14.8 million students1

  • $277 billion annual expenditures; 2.8% of the GDP1

  • Higher education expenditures greater than the GDP of all but 25 countries in the world2

  • 1 From: 2001 Digest of Education Statistics, US Dept. of Education.

  • 2 From: 2001 CIA World Factbook and Dowling, Mike., "Interactive Table of World Nations," available from http://www.mrdowling.com/800nations.html; Internet; updated Friday, June 29, 2001


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Higher Education Modeling Sustainabilityas a Fully Integrated Community


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Higher Education Changes

  • Interdependent & Intergenerational ‘Worldview’

  • Problem Solving to Creating

  • Systems thinking as a fundamental framework

  • ‘Knowing’ to ‘Learning’ Communities

  • Making ‘invisible’ ‘visible’


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Education for Sustainability

  • Integrated, interdisciplinary learning

  • “Lateral” & “vertical” rigor in learning

  • Ethics, values & sustainability seamlessly integral to all disciplines

  • Collaborative & experiential learning

  • Practicing sustainability on campus and with communities


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Administrators

Faculty

Operations & facilities managers

Students

Trustees

Staff

Higher Ed Associations

Alumni

Parents of students

Communities

Accreditation orgs.

Future Employers

Funders

Professionals

Future Generations

World cultures

Biosphere & all its species

Higher Education Stakeholders


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Sina Qua Non

Communication is to sustainability what

Location is to real estate


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American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment

  • Voluntary effort ~ to Mayor’s Climate Agreement

  • Organized by AASHE, Second Nature & ecoAmerica

  • Commit to 3 actions

    • Plan within 2 years to achieve climate neutrality

      • GHG Inventory

      • Operations, Education & Research

    • Adoption of select emission reduction measures

    • Public reporting on plans and progress thru AASHE

      www.presidentsclimatecommitment.org


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American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment

  • Phase 1

    • Development of policies, documents, website, marketing, website, plan

    • Recruit Leadership Circle & signatories

  • Phase 2

    • Launch w/in HE community - late Feb

    • Get 200 signatories

    • June 2007 summit

  • Phase 3

    • Get 1000 signatories by Dec. 2009

    • Support for and report on progress


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Arizona State University

Bainbridge Graduate Institute

Ball State University

California State University, Chico

Cape Cod Community College

Central Washington University

Chandler-Gilbert CC

College of the Atlantic

Columbus State CC

Community College of Denver

Connecticut College

Drury University

Eastern University

Iowa Lakes Community College

Los Angeles CC District

Mount Wachusett CC

Norfolk StateUniversity

Oberlin College

Ohlone College

Olympic College

Pacific Lutheran University

Randolph College

University of Florida

University of Tennessee

U Wisconsin - Green Bay

U Wisconsin – Oshkosh

U Wisconsin – River Falls

ACUPCC Signatories Jan.


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The Natural Step

  • A Framework & Organization

  • Compass toward sustainability

  • Based on immutable natural Laws

  • True systems thinking

  • Easily understandable at all levels

    • Scale

    • Knowledge


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The Earth as a System


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life supporting resources

declining

consumption of

life supporting resources

rising

Global Perspective


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A Metaphorical Funnel


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System Overview

Fundamental Principles

= trunk and branches

Details

= leaves


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Basic science

  • Nothing disappears

    Law of conservation of matter & energy

    First law of thermodynamics

  • Matter & Energy tend to disperse

    Second law of thermodynamics

    (entropy law)


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Basic science continued…

  • Order, concentration and structure determine matter quality

  • Photosynthesis is the primary provider of net order: “plants pay the bills”


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Natural Cycles


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Present Society


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Sustainable Society


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Sustainability Principles

In the sustainable society, nature is not subject to systematically increasing…

Increasing concentrations of substances extracted from the earth’s crust

Increasing concentrations of substances produced by society

Degradation by physical means

and…

human needs are met worldwide.

The Natural Step guiding principles


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What is Biomimicry?

  • A science that studies nature's best ideas and then imitates these designs and processes to solve human problems.

  • The core idea is that nature, imaginative by necessity, has already solved many of the problems we are grappling with.

  • Animals, plants, and microbes are the consummate engineers. They have found what works, what is appropriate, and most important, what lasts here on Earth. 1

  • 1 From: An Interview with Janine Benyus, 2003

  • .


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Material Inspirations

Abalone mussel nacre

(mother of pearl coating)

Hard coatings-for windshields and bodies of solar cars, airplanes, anything that needs to be lightweight but fracture-resistant.

A crystalline coating self-assembles in perfect precision atop protein templates. In the abalone, it's a 3-D masterpiece, tougher than anything we can manufacture! 1

1 From: www.biomimicry.net


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Natural Capitalism

  • Dramatically increase productivity of natural resources

  • Shift to biologically inspired production models

  • Move to solutions-based business model

    • Value as flow of services, e.g., illumination not lightbulbs

  • Reinvest in natural capital


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