Re: Rain Barrels to Water Vegetables?
2010-06-10 09:48:36 UTC
This is really great information for most of the world. But I want to throw a cautionary note about the western United States.
There is a unique body of law called Water Law which has its own court system to cover the collection, distribution and use of water in the arid landscape. In most of the states where this law exists, rain barrels are illegal.
When Sandra Day O'Connor was retiring from the US Supreme Court, she urged the President to appoint another westerner, familar with this law. The reason being that the most far reaching court decision of the 21st Century was likely to be about water rights coming from this arcane body of laws.
Director of Education Programs
Veterans Green Jobs
Re: Looking for Examples of Audit Reports
2009-03-21 12:54:26 UTC
Washington State has a nice detailed standard. Washington audits are described in Specifications and Standards for the Low-income Weatherization Program. It may be found at http://www.cted.wa.gov/DesktopModules/CTEDPublications/CTEDPublicationsView.aspx?tabID=0&ItemID=6513&MId=870&wversion=Staging
The HERS (Home Energy Rating System) audit is trademarked by the RESNET (http://www.natresnet.org/) organization and it is the highest standard in the US. It was developed by RESNET for the US Department of Energy and is the basis for the energy mortgages backed by federal mortgage programs. The standards for a HERS audit are on that site. Some local building codes in the US are adoptive HERS ratings as part of local GHG emissions programs.
You might also look at the National Energy Audit Tool from the US Department of Energy (http://apps1.eere.energy.gov/weatherization/wxtech_neat.cfm) the software is free. The database of appliances and furnaces would probably not apply in Belgium, but as I recall the program you can enter the information directly and could still use it there.
Sustainability 2.0 Podcasts
2008-12-19 11:01:05 UTC
On the 30th of September, Earthscan held a panel debate at the Royal Society of the Arts entitled Sustainability 2.0: Does sustainability need an update? They had a wonderful turnout and I enjoyed the discussion very much. I think I may have been the only American who attended, and didn't hear any accents from Down Under. So for those of you who were not able to make it, Earthscan has created 6 podcasts of the event featuring each of the speakers. Links to the podcasts are on their homepage www.earthscan.co.uk. Enjoy!
Sustainability 2.0 Meeting Update
2008-10-12 13:19:55 UTC
On Tuesday September 30th I join approximately 150 invited guests at the Royal Academy of the Arts in London for a panel discussion entitled Sustainability 2.0 Does sustainability need and upgrade? I took with me the opinions solicited from members of this listserv. Now I am reporting back on that meeting. The panel was chaired by Caroline Lucas, who is the leader of the Green Party of England and Wales and a member of the European Parliament. Other Panelists were Bill Adams, Moran Professor of Conservation and Development, University of Cambridge Brenda Boardman, Senior Researcher, Environmental Change Unit, University of Oxford Paul Ekins, Professor of Energy and Environmental Policy, King?s College London Tim Lang, Professor of Food Policy, City University, London Nick Robins, Head of Climate change Centre of Excellence, HSBC Each of the panelists began with a 10 minute statement for or against an upgrade of sustainability, and they all came out in favor of and upgrade.
Two common points which were brought up were the then, proposed, Wall Street Bailout and an August 2 warning which is getting attention in Europe that we have only 100 months before we hit the tipping point on irreversible climate change. Climate change was central to everyone?s support of an upgrade. The main argument being that climate change was going to be so catastrophic that we needed to reach sustainability in 100 months, something that we were unable to do in the 21 years since Our Common Future launched the sustainability movement. The banking crisis was frequently cited as being evidence that if the threat was perceived resources would be available. Discussion tended to revolve around climate change and social equity. But there were people who wanted to argue the definition of sustainability, if the people had as much responsibility as corporations and to plug their own books on the subject.
In my opinion, the most important question before the panel was never answered. That question was finally voiced as the last question of the evening, but none of the panelists chose to address it. That question was ?why did Our Common Future fail to mobilize the action needed to become sustainable?? Without the answer to this question upgrading Sustainability is meaningless.. We need to mobilize the public and governments to become sustainable, and Our Common Future failed to do this. If the upgrade (whatever form that takes) fails as well then we?re pretty much doomed.
100 Month Warning
2008-10-07 11:06:43 UTC
One of the most significant parts of the discussion of the Sustainability 2..0 Panel Discussion on Sept 30 in London was the 100 Month Warning issued in August. For those of you who have not heard about the 100 Month Warning, in the beginning of August, the Guardian newspaper carried an article by Andrew Simms, the policy director of NEF (the New Economics Foundation) the award-winning UK think-and-do tank, and head of NEF's Climate Change Program. In that article he explained that new evidence indicates that we were only 100 months away from the tipping point of catastrophic climate change.
I think this is an important article for anyone who claims an interest in sustainability to read.
Dr. Richard S. Knaub
Senior Sustainability Specialist
Green Cities Consultants
Sustainability 2.0 follow up
2008-09-22 12:31:45 UTC
I find it significant that so many people are commenting on the definition of sustainable development (meeting the needs of the present etc.) offered in Our Common Future, without including the two caveats to its use. Many of the people I deal with who don?t know of its conditions for use (and who have misused it) have similar positions to those of you who feel the report needs revision. The two conditions are 1) That there are limits to resources and that all development needs to take place within those limits. Many of you have expressed concerns/objections in this context and others that there is no recognition of resource limitation. Our Common Future did make that abundantly clear and put that condition on the use of the definition. 2) The needs of the poor must receive priority, meaning market forces will not provide the poor with the resources they need, particularly in the face of the first condition, a limited supply. What the report left up to those who would implement sustainability is determining what level of need will be met before market forces are allowed to determine the distribution of the rest of the resource. I think it is unfortunate that it was the restating of what sustainable development was that got all the publicity. Two pages before the restating where it was introduced is a much better explanation of what sustainable development is. It was written in the kind of painfully correct English that non English speakers frequently use. It said: What is required is a new approach in which all nations aim at a type of development that integrates production with resource conservation and enhancement, and that links both to the provision for all of an adequate livelihood base and an equitable access to resources. This is what Our Common Future introduced as being sustainable development. I find it a much more specific and tangible definition, although I do paraphrase it for my clients and students. I am not hearing anyone challenge the 6 original problems that Our Common Future identified as being why we needed sustainability. Does anyone have an opinion about them?
2008-09-20 13:27:09 UTC
Since you are all interested in and workin in Sustainability and sustainable living. I need to get some feedback from all of you around the world. I am going to London in a week to participate in a panel discussion on whether the book that launched the Sustainability Movement in 1987, Our Common Future (AKA Brundtland Report) needs to be updated. What do you think? If you think it needs to be updated, what do you think needs to be in that new version?
Richard S. Knaub, Ph.D.
Senior Sustainability Specialist
Green Cities Consultants
Municipal Social Sustainability Strategic Plan
2007-06-24 18:11:16 UTC
The City of Boulder Colorado has adopted a Social Sustainability Strategic Plan to balance the work already done in environmental and economic sustainability. The city has made an active effort to balance the three Es of sustainability and will continue the work by working to integrate them. The plan may be found at http://www.ci.boulder.co.us/files/sss_draft_may8.pdf
Other documents which lead up to the Social Sustainability Strategic Plan, including a policy briefing paper on what Sustainability in a local government context and changes in the Citys Comprehensive plan to embrace sustainability may be found at http://www.ci.boulder.co.us/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=750&Itemid=315
Boulder conducted a comprehensive review of municipal sustainability initiatives and found that almost all of them overlooked social sustainability. Of those that did not, most had only a weak direction for policy development. Boulders effort is one of the most conscious attempt to balance the 3 Es in municipal policy in the country.
Re: Municipalities Learning about Sustainability
2006-12-01 16:12:06 UTC
The city of Boulder Colorado just passed a climate action plan and a tax to pay for it. You can find out more at http://www.bouldercolorado.gov/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1058&Itemid=396
Sustainabile Communities Consultant
Re: disagree - Back to the leadership question of the Long Emergency
2006-06-05 21:22:43 UTC
I agree with your point, I am a big advocate for Social Purpose Ventures and in my latest manuscript have draft legislation to facilitate their operation and to make capital more easily available. But all of those good deeds need to be focused, if we are to be ready for the Long Emergency. The United Way does a great job in the human services sector utilizing those good deeds, focusing them on human service issues and building capacity with human service organizations in the community. They provide networking systems, development workshops and even though many of these are competing for the same pot of funding, they still work together. Chambers of Commerce often do the same thing for the business sector. The ecological equivalents are that the business and human services sector are fully functioning ecosystems, where each entity has its niche and while there is competition the system is in balance and all niches are filled. There is no equivalent system for the environmental sector. The environmental sector functions like a post disturbance habitat. All of these competing entities are squabbling over what whose cause is more important and refuse to work together to address shared concerns, or things that could be shared concerns. As a result, they tend to become extinct if they fail to gain a sufficient food hold in the habitat and this is often why smaller organizations disappear, there just arent enough resources to go around. There are only so many volunteers, so many social purpose niches, so many leaders, so many followers and so many donations to go around. Yes, each entity should only bite off as much as it can chew (scoping the problem for those of you familiar with NEPA). My point is your can network with organizations with similar issues and leverage your resources. For issues which are not within your plan of work, you should at least be supportive of the other organizations, because yours cant do it all and youll need their support on your issues. If you have regular contact with them they know they owe you and you can ask for the favor in return. Bottom line is that it takes ALL of the aspects of sustainability to save a community. If we could just get that $365 billion per year worth of good deeds INTEGRATED into building sustainable communities then more of them might survive the Long Emergency. To respond to Lynn's question, working with other people and organizations is hard. You have to compromise (something environmentalists aren't always good at) you have to accept other people's points of view (ditto) and you have to stay focused on what the partnership can and cannot do. It is hard and if it is not your primary focus, it can be seen as a waste of resources. I made the point earlier that as people concerned with sustainability, we ought to be more aware that sustainability is a holistic concept, not a single issue. You should do what you are most interested in and concerned about, you should take advantage of the resources which are available and you should scope your work to fit your resources. But if, at any point, you forget that all of the other issues need to be addressed AS WELL, then you are not practicing sustainable community development, you are just putting a band-aid on a IUC patient.