Box Basic Principles of Seed Scale

Every community has a recent or distant success that can be the basis for inspiration and insight as to how the community can work together. Engage in three-way partnerships. Partnerships require that communities, state and market actors, and outside individuals (as facilitators, knowledge brokers, and change agents) all work together. Make decisions based on evidence. Objective data can inform decisions and help measure progress. Learning simple survey techniques gives...

The Convenient Truth

Many energy industry executives argue that reducing carbon emissions as rapidly as scientists now urge would risk an economic collapse. According to conventional wisdom, the available alternatives are just too small, unreliable, or expensive to do the job. In 2001, for example, Vice President Dick Cheney described saving energy as a moral virtue but not important enough to play a major role in the national energy policy proposals he was developing at the time. The World Energy Council, which...

Economic Globalization and Genuine Progress A Growing Disparity

Undoubtedly, economic globalization has gone well by many standards. The era of globalization has been accompanied by significant improvements in key indicators such as the human development index, life expectancy, cereal yields, and dissemination of critical information technologies. (See Figure 2-1.) Nonetheless, there is widespread recognition that globalization indicators are increasingly irrelevant and out of touch with the great environmental and humanitarian disasters unfolding on the...

Box The Dublin Principles

Fresh water is a finite and vulnerable resource, essential to sustain life, development and the environment. Since water sustains life, effective management of water resources demands a holistic approach, linking social and economic development with protection of natural ecosystems. Effective management links land and water uses across the whole of a catchment area or groundwater aquifer. Water development and management should be based on a participatory approach, involving users, planners and...

The Kyoto Mechanisms in Action

The Kyoto Protocol's flexibility mechanisms link countries that have a shared interest in creating projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions harnessing industrial countries' interest in investing in lower-cost efficiency projects overseas and pairing that with developing countries' interest in receiving financing and cleaner technologies. International carbon finance flows to developing countries could climb as high as 100 billion a year in coming decades, according to U.N. estimates, roughly...

The Solid Foundation of Ecoefficiency

The ability to produce cheap goods and ship them around the planet derived in part from abundant supplies of cheap energy. Using this inexpensive oil, gas, and coal has polluted the planet and dangerously warmed the climate. In a carbon-constrained world, survival depends on finding ways to produce goods and services in dramatically more energy-efficient ways. The concept of making things using fewer resources is far from new, but it remains the cornerstone in producing goods and services more...

Water in Todays Economy

More than 70 percent of the world's water is used for food and fiber production in agriculture see Table 8-1 , a source of livelihood for some 80 percent of the world's poor. Industry consumes an additional 20 percent, and less than 10 percent of global freshwater abstraction is used for drinking water and sanitation. Water used to sustain ecosystem services is left out of these global calculations, as are navigational, recreational, and other direct and indirect uses that do not involve...

Box Dockside Green Developers Taking the Lead

Until recently, the 15-acre Dockside Lands parcel in Victoria, British Columbia the province's capital on Vancouver Island was the epitome of an underused property. Purchased by the city for a single dollar in 1989, this prime real estate lay largely ignored for years, crippled by an industrial legacy that left the soil saturated with petrochemicals and toxic heavy metals. Now the site is poised to become the greenest neighborhood in Victoria, thanks to collaboration between the city and two...

Five Microeconomic Objectives

Some of the most innovative sustainability initiatives are being undertaken at the institutional level by businesses, schools, and NGOs. To measure effectiveness, a wide range of micro-level metrics are being deployed and used as benchmarks of organizational success. Table 2-3 provides a small sample of these. Increasingly, sustainability metrics are being reported side by side with more-traditional financial indicators to satisfy investor and stakeholder demand for accountability with respect...

Cradle to Cradle Extending a Products Life

Natural Edge Project Waves Innovation

Cradle to cradle is a concept introduced by Walter Stahel more than 25 years ago in Europe. In 1976, as Director of a project on product life extension at Battelle research laboratories in Geneva, Stahel embarked on a program to return products to useful lives. He analyzed cars and buildings on micro-economic and macroeconomic bases and concluded that every extension of product life saved enormous amounts of resources in contrast with turning virgin material into a new product, and it also...

The Iron Cage of Consumerism

Left to their own devices, it seems, there is not much hope that people will spontaneously behave sustainably. As evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins has concluded, sustainabil-ity just doesn't come naturally to humankind. But it is a mistake to assume that evolutionary motivations are all selfish. Evolution does not preclude moral, social, and altruistic behaviors. Social behaviors evolved in humans precisely because they offer selec Figure 4-3. Domain Satisfaction by Social Group, England...

Jason S Calder

Niger was all but given a death sentence in the 1970s when drought-propelled desertification, rapid population growth, and unsustainable farming practices threatened ecological collapse and mass human suffering. Women on average each gave birth to more than seven children, and the population was expected to double in the next two decades. Families who had worked their land for generations could see the tell-tale signs it was taking longer and longer to get to trees and fresh water, and the...

Socially Responsible Investing

Some four decades ago, the foundations of sustainable investing were established with the advent of modern socially responsible investing, or SRI, which broke new ground by marrying social and environmental considerations with traditional financial considerations. SRI has since grown by encompassing three elements shareowner activism, screening, and community investing all of which now inform sustainable investing. Modern shareowner activism where stockholders engage with companies on...

International Trade Help or Hindrance

Ever since David Ricardo explained the Law of Comparative Advantage in 1817, it has been an article of faith that international trade is a good thing. Trade contributes to prosperity not only by rewarding the successful trader but by expanding the size of the overall economic pie so that, with good governance, there should be adequate slices for everyone. See Box 14-1. Trade contributes Mark Halle is Director, Trade and Investment, at the Geneva Office of the International Institute for...

Avoiding Catastrophe

Only recently have scientists understood that changes in the concentration of carbon dioxide, methane, and other less common gases could trigger an ecological catastrophe of staggering proportions. The climate, it turns out, is not the vast, implacable system it appears to be. Past climate changes have been caused by tiny alterations in Earth's orbit and orientation to the sun providing, for example, just Figure 6-1. Atmospheric Concentration of Carbon Dioxide, 1744-2004 1740 1770 1800 1830...

Ger Bergkamp and Claudia W Sadoff

Water Scarcity Physical Factors

Water is as essential to economies as it is to human life. Clean drinking water is needed for the health of productive populations, but only 10 percent of global water use is actually for household consumption. Agricultural water is needed to produce food and fiber. Water is a direct input in virtually all industrial production processes, and it is needed to produce hydropower and to cool thermal power plants, which together account for the vast majority of world energy supplies. In lakes and...

Brian Halweil and Danielle Nierenberg

Meat Production 1950 2006

Walk into any kitchen around the world and there's a good chance that meat or seafood sit neatly at the center of the meal. This is especially true at any top restaurant in New York, Rio, or Beijing. But billions of people all over the world have hamburgers or pork chops or fish fingers with their families at home every night. Even the poorest people often spend their extra income on some odd cuts of meat or fish bones for soup. In fact, meat and seafood are the two most rapidly growing...

Box What Is a Community

Community typically refers to a wide range of groupings of people a church, a city, a political party or other affiliation. But more fundamentally, a community suggests a group of geographically rooted people engaged in relationships with each other though many of the examples of community discussed in this chapter have relevance to broader definitions of community as well . Through these relationships, members in a community have shared responsibilities as the Latin roots of the word suggest...