Evaluating the Sustainability of Energy Pathways

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Evaluating the Sustainability of Energy Pathways

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1. Evaluating the Sustainability of Energy Pathways Balance & Flow

2. Inspirations for This Talk My research projects over the last 3 years. A relatively new scientific field: sustainability. The recent ITS Board of Directors meeting. My (two) encounters with Paul MacCready.

3. Recent ITS Board of Advisors Meeting Mostly, the Board seemed pleased with ITS research and enthusiastic about future work. However, some members (e.g. Jan Sharpless and Wendy James) raised concerns about ITS research into sustainability and equity.

4. STEPS Program

5. Arne Jacobson and Daniel Kammen (along with many others) urge the shift to a new scientific paradigm of sustainability. Sustainability Engineers

6. Buckminster Fuller sometimes called himself a “Comprehensive Anticipatory Design Scientist” Solutioneering

7. The Story of My Life

8. Model developed by McKenna, Kelley, Taylor, & Sheliak. Based on the mathematical and numerological manipulations of the I- Ching to measure “novelty” and “habit”, two relatively undefined terms. Use of “numerical mysticism” (see Pythagoras) and obscure metrics renders the model non-testable. Timewave Zero: Time as a Measure of Chaos and Order

9. Chaotic systems- often difficult to describe, explain, or predict Ordered systems- simpler to describe, explain, and predict, but only tend to be accurate over small temporal and spatial differences Natural systems- exhibit features of both order and chaos Chaotic vs. Ordered Systems

10. Even in the controlled environment of a flume, sediment transport calculations are often inaccurate by a magnitude of more than 100% their actual value. My friend leans over and says “I bet we could describe its turbulent nature using fractals.” Complexity of a Riverbed

11. Other Examples of Natural Complexity


14. The “Three Es” of Sustainability Ecology, Economy, Equity “A goal, that aims towards preserving quality interactions with the local environment, economy, and social system.” – Genecor “Sustainability takes forever. That’s the point.” – William McDonough









23. Can STEPS work to reach consensus as a group on how to set up a sustainability framework? Can we agree upon standard measures of efficiency, effectiveness, and sufficiency? Are any sustainability indicators being left out of the framework? Will such a framework help attain sustainability? Call to Action!

24. Have A “Novel” Thanksgiving!

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