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Sustainable Living. A global and personal perspective. Think globally – act neighborly. Sustainability is…. … providing for the NEEDS of ALL people alive today, without jeopardizing future generations. and we know that…. ….we know that….

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sustainable living
Sustainable Living

A global and personal perspective

Think globally – act neighborly

sustainability is
Sustainability is….
  • … providing for the NEEDS of ALL people alive today, without jeopardizing future generations.

and we know that….

we know that
….we know that…

…there is a difference between human wants and human needs.

Gandhi said that the world could surely provide for the needs of the many but not the greed of the few.

okay but i m a sinner
Okay, but I’m a sinner…..

How do I know if something is sustainable?

the sustainability triangle
The Sustainability Triangle

Social Equity

The quest for sustainability

Economic Environmental

Vitality Integrity

Perspective

sustainable living6
Sustainable Living…..

So, what is the problem?

world population
World Population

16

15

?

14

13

12

11

?

10

9

Billions of people

8

?

7

6

5

4

3

2

Black Death–the Plague

1

0

2-5 million

years

8000

6000

4000

2000

2000

2100

B.C.

A.D.

Time

Hunting and

gathering

Agricultural revolution

Industrial

revolution

two problems
Two problems….
  • Too many people
  • Impact per person
slide9

Ecological Footprint: A measure of the “load” imposed by a given population on nature, or the land necessary to sustain resource consumption and waste discharge.

Our Ecological Footprint, by M. Wackernagel and W. Rees

water shortages
Water Shortages

Major global problem areas

and the big one
And the big one!

Humankind expends in one year an amount of fossil fuel that it took nature roughly a million years to produce.

what do the scientists say
What do the scientists say?

1972 – Limits to Growth is published by

D. Meadows et al.

MIT systems modelers take a look at the future resulting in lots of debate

world3 mit computer model
World3 – MIT Computer Model

A computer model of the world including data on:

Population

Food production

Pollution

Natural resource use

Industrial growth

the standard run
The “standard” run

What happens (according to World 3) if we “just “keep on keeping on”….

well, then….

other what ifs
Other “what ifs”…

Increasingly effective pollution controls

Increasing agricultural production/acre

Effective soil erosion controls

More efficient resource use (technology)

All these help, by either “delaying or softening the pain somewhat.”

what works
What works?

Three major changes make huge differences:

Two children per family and,

Reasonable industrial output (stuff) or, “enough is enough!”

We invest in new sustainable technologies.

what do the scientists say now
What do the scientists say now?

1972 – Limits of Growth – lots of debate!

2004 – Limits to Growth – 30 Years later

The model is “mostly” correct, so far….

And, we still have a choice!

so what do we need to do
So, what do we need to do?

Two children per family

Enough is enough!

Appropriate and efficient new sustainable technologies

Is this possible?

What prevents us from making the shift?

slide29
“The problems that we have created cannot be solved at the level of thinking that created them.”

-Albert Einstein

why do we continue to make the same mistakes over and over
Why do we continue to make the same mistakes over and over?

The “iceberg” model of systemic relationships is a simple tool to understand root causes.

Lets look deeper…..

Events

systems thinking looks below events and patterns of behavior
Systems thinking looks below events and patterns of behavior

Events

Patterns

of Behavior

Systemic

Structure

Mental Models

we need to look deeper than events
We need to look deeper than events….

Non-sustainable

action

Non-sustainable

Pattern

Non-sustainable

structures

____

Non-sustainable

Mental Models

Events

Patterns

of Behavior

Systemic

Structure

Mental Models

we need to look deeper than events33
We need to look deeper than events….

Plastic water bottle that is used once

Convenience, non-responsibility

Systems that make plastic bottles “cheap”

____

The world is organized as a linear throughput of material!

Events

Patterns

of Behavior

Systemic

Structure

Mental Models

here s a mental model
Here’s a mental model...

Pollution, Waste

and Environmental

Disturbances

Natural

Resources

Goods and

Services

The world is organized as a linear “throughput” of material

non sustainable action
Non-sustainable “action”

S

Non-sustainable

Action

Non-sustainable

Pattern

like lots of water bottles

Like lots of water bottles!

Non-sustainable

patterns

create ns structures
Create NS Structures

S

Non-sustainable

Action

Non-sustainable

Pattern

Non-sustainable

Structures

S

create ns mental models
Create NS Mental Models

S

Non-sustainable

Action

Non-sustainable

Pattern

Non-sustainable

Mental Models

Non-sustainable

Structures

S

S

which creates a reinforcing feedback loop
Which creates a Reinforcing Feedback Loop

S

S

Non-sustainable

Action

Non-sustainable

Pattern

R

Non-sustainable

Mental Models

Non-sustainable

Structures

S

S

feedback loops are power ful
Feedback loops are powerful

We know about “vicious” cycles

You hit me…. I hit you harder…. You hit me harder…. I hit you……

Hate breeds hurt - hurt breeds hate…hate breeds hurt….

I feel bad so I “take something” – I feel better for a while, but then….. I feel bad, so….

reinforcing feedback loops are powerful
Reinforcing feedback loops are powerful

But, with these loops, eventually…

lets call it something to learn
Lets call it “something to learn”

Non-sustainable

Action

Non-sustainable

Pattern

R

Non-sustainable

Mental Models

Non-sustainable

Structures

Something to

Learn

it is often painful
It is often painful!

Non-sustainable

Action

Non-sustainable

Pattern

R

Pain and

Confusion

Non-sustainable

Mental Models

Non-sustainable

Structures

Something to

Learn

we can get stuck here
We can get stuck here!

Defensive

behavior

Non-sustainable

Action

Non-sustainable

Pattern

R

Pain and

Confusion

Non-sustainable

Mental Models

Non-sustainable

Structures

Something to

Learn

the way out is through acceptance followed by wonder and awe
The way out is through acceptance followed by wonder and awe….

Non-sustainable

Action

Non-sustainable

Pattern

Wonder and

Awe

R

Pain and

Confusion

Non-sustainable

Mental Models

Non-sustainable

Structures

Something to

Learn

wonder and awe allows us to try something new
Wonder and awe allows us to try something new

Change

Non-sustainable

Action

Non-sustainable

Pattern

Wonder and

Awe

R

Pain and

Confusion

Non-sustainable

Mental Models

Non-sustainable

Structures

Something to

Learn

a new reinforcing feedback loop
A new reinforcing feedback loop

Sustainable

Action

Sustainable

Pattern

Wonder and

Awe

R

Sustainable

Mental Models

Sustainable

Structures

we have a choice
We have a choice!

We can find our way out of these loops through

pain and confusion -and eventually we will!

or….

We can choose to create sustainable reinforcing feedback loops through…

voluntary small actions …

and

2. changes in mental models….

we can begin either with action or mental models
We can begin either with action or mental models

Change

this

Non-sustainable

Action

Non-sustainable

Pattern

R

Non-sustainable

Mental Models

Non-sustainable

Structures

Or

This

here s the good news
Here’s the good news!

We can choose to create a new world through sustainable reinforcing feedback loops...

But how?

virtuous feedback loops can be just as powerful as the vicious ones
Virtuous feedback loops can be just as powerful as the vicious ones

Through small actions, like…

Adding worms to your compost

Smiling

Holding the door open for someone

Changing a light bulb

Making salt (April 6, 1930)

slide57

Change a light, save the world!

…SMALL acts can begin a journey toward….

can small ideas or actions cause big effects
Can small ideas or actions cause big effects?

Well, how about a single word, like….

spirals of change
Spirals of change

Cycles of hope

what s this got to do with me
What’s this got to do with me?

Well the truth is, you and I choose to live in a way that will eventually result in collapse.

we are the problem
We are the problem….

I belong to the 20 percent of the world’s population … that uses 67 % of the planet’s resources and generates 75 percent of its pollution and waste.

Barbara Kingsolver

Small Wonder

slide66

Lets start with food….- Eat local foods- Take kitchen wastes to a compost- Make a worm compost in your kitchen (or dorm room)- Recycle and reuse what you can- Join a CSA (a what?)

slide67
Community Supported AgSomewhere near you, I’m sure is a farmer who desperately needs your support…..From… Small Wonder
it takes a village
It takes a village….

Community Supported Agriculture

(www.buylocalfood.com)

slide69

Food….The average food item set before a U.S. consumer traveled 1300 miles to get there.Transporting 5 calories’ worth of strawberry from California to New York costs 435 calories of fossil fuel.So, what do I do?

using ecological principles
… using ecological principles

PLNTSOIL 398 P – Permaculture Class - Summer

slide79

And while you are a student ?- Demand local foods in the dining halls- Don’t take more than you can eat- Avoid fast foods and….- Join a student garden….

slide80

What else could I do?

  • Change a light bulb
  • Turn off the water when you brush your teeth
  • Return the packaging to the store
  • Turn off the lights when you leave the room
  • Ride a bike or walk
  • Learn to listen
  • Join the Great Turning!
okay so what else
Okay, so what else?

Well, why not do one simple thing?

Like….

and even here
And even here….
  • ….the dorm room model
sustainable living100
Sustainable Living

Joanna Macy invites us all to join in “the great turning”.

slide102
The surveys say we care!We say we care about family, people, nature, and good food – but……we eat fast food and toss out the wrapper.
slide103

Lack of sanity is… Saying one thing and doing another…When our core values are inconsistent with our daily actions – we are no longer sane. - I know…..

who will lead the way
Who will lead the way?

Politicians?

Corporate leaders?

People!

time horizon for thinking and planning
Time horizon for thinking and planning
  • Corporate Leaders
  • = 3 months
  • Politicians
  • = 2 - 4 years
  • Child born in 1980
  • = 75 years
slide108
And ……..

I am awesome……

slide109
Perhaps….

it is not necessary

to do great things….

slide110
…..just small things

with great love.

Mother Teresa

barbara kingsolver wrote in small wonder
Barbara Kingsolver wrote in Small Wonder

Our revolution will have dancing and excellent food!

to learn more join us
To learn more…..join us!

HONORS 397I – Leadership for Social Change - Winter

PLSOILIN 265 – Sustainable Ag – Fall

PLSOILIN 285 – Sustainable Living – Spring

PLSOILIN 298G – GardenShare – year round

PLSOILIN 397S – Dialogue on Ag Issues

PLSOILIN 389P – Permaculture - Summer

PLSOILIN 597S – Ag Systems Thinking – Spring

www livingroutes org
www.livingroutes.org

Australia

Brazil

India

Mexico

Scotland

Senegal

Shutesbury, MA

please call me to chat jgerber@psis umass edu

Please call me to chat….jgerber@psis.umass.edu

http://people.umass.edu/jgerber/