Conditions for a Sustainable Society*
In the sustainable society, nature is not subject to systematically increasing
- … concentrations of substances extracted from the Earth’s crust (such as heavy metals,fossil fuels, etc.)
- … concentrations of substances produced by society(such as plastics, toxic chemicals, etc.)
- … degradation by physical means (such as via erosion, or rapid depletion of unique eco-systems, etc.)
And in that society,…
people are not subject to conditions that systematically undermine their capacity to meet their needs.
Guiding Objectives for a Sustainable Community*
Develop policies and practices that ultimately:
- Eliminate our community’s contribution to fossil fuel dependence and to wasteful use of scarce metals and minerals.
- Eliminate our community’s contribution to dependence upon persistent chemicals and wasteful use of synthetic substances.
- Eliminate our community’s contribution to encroachment upon nature (e.g., land, water, wildlife, forests, soil, ecosystems).
- Meet human needs fairly and efficiently.
Moving It Along…
- Learn and understand the Earth’s game rules – e.g., the system conditions and what they means for meeting human needs within nature’s limits.
- See where we are – Ask ourselves, “To what extent are we living within the boundaries defined by the Natural Step guiding principles or guiding objectives?”
- Envision the future we want – a future in which we can enjoy well-being without contributing to injustice or environmental problems.
- Find a smart route – We make plans on the basis of the vision we have created, and take well-measured strides on the right road, which may be winding, but which leads to the chosen goal.
Based on Dr. Karl Henrik-Robert’s The Natural Step
Compiled by Sarah James · Sarah James & Associates · Cambridge, MA
Other Communities are Taking the Natural Step Too
- Cherry Hill, NJ
- West Milford, NJ
- Madison, WI and Dane County, WI
- Whistler, BC, Canada
- Canmore, Canada
- Portsmouth, NH