DEFINITION: Sustainability is the ability of this generation to meet its needs without undermining the ability of future generations to meet their needs.
There are thousands of websites relating to sustainability. We can only list our favorites here. We want to raise an important issue, though, as we do: Most advocates of sustainability think sustainability is about the relationship between human economics and natural ecology. We propose there's more to it than that. Human politics and governance (or, more accurately, human collective intelligence) is a (if not the) critical factor because without it a society has no capacity to change its economics and interface with nature. It will just keep on going as it has been. So our societal collective intelligence is fundamental to sustainability, in practice. -- Tom Atlee
Sustainability-related pages on this site include:
http://www.conservationeconomy.net articulates a "pattern language" for bioregional sustainability. "A pattern language" is architect/planner Christopher Alexander's term for a collection of elements that make a liveable place -- from micro-factors to macro-factors -- all interrelated in a coherent whole. Stuart Cowan of EcoTrust has created such a list of modular factors. His pattern language is a veritable mini-encyclopedia of sustainable ideas and practices, such as Awareness of Consumption and Its Effects, Beauty and Play, Community-Based Financial Institutions, Cyclical Patterns of Production and Consumption, Local Currencies and Trading Systems, Practical Skills in Support of Place, Regional Tax Revenue Sharing, Urban Growth Boundaries, Waste as a Resource, Wildlife Corridors, and dozens more. Click on any item in the list and you get a succinct description of it and links to related elements in the pattern language. It is, itself, a web of life -- a truly remarkable achievement.
And don't miss New Rules -- THE site for local economics -- at http://www.newrules.org/.
BOOKS & TAPES
The Post-Corporate World : Life After Capitalism,
by David C. Korten (Berrett-Koehler, 1999). A vision to move
beyond corporatism to "eliminate the economic pathology that
plagues us and create truly democratic, market-based, life-centered
The Ecology of Commerce, by Paul Hawken (HarperBusiness, 1993). How an economy world work that fully collaborated with nature.
Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution, by Paul Hawken, L. Hunter Lovins, Amory Lovins (Back Bay Books, Oct 2000) - More about a nature-based economy, including powerful technical developments. http://www.naturalcapitalism.org
Who's Counting: Marilyn Waring on Sex, Lies, and Global Economics - A very moving film about the measurables and immeasurables in our lives, and how economic measurements and policies affect them.
Complexity, by M. Waldrop (Simon & Schuster, 1992). This book opened my eyes to the way nature generates totally new phenomena through the co-evolution of complex synergies.
Leadership and the New Science, by Margaret Wheatley (Berrett-Koelher, 1999). How to relate to organizations as natural systems. http://www.berkana.org
Seven Life Lessons of Chaos: Timeless Wisdom from the Science of Change, by John Briggs and David Peat (HarperCollins, 1999) - A brief layman's introduction to chaos theory and how it applies to life.
The Web of Life: A New Scientific Understanding of Living Systems, by Fritjof Capra (Doubleday, 1996). Our favorite all-around introduction to the new sciences.
Seeing Nature: Deliberate encounters with the visible world, by Paul Krapfel (Chelsea Green, 1999) - Engaging examples of nature dancing entropy into life, and how we humans can join that dance. http://www.krafel.net
Reworking Success, by Robert Theobald (New Society, 1997). An accessible re-examination of how to make communities and societies work better in the 21st Century. http://www.resilientcommunities.org