Underlying Principles of Our Work
Cooperation, Collaboration, and Consideration
“Our society will continue diminishing the natural resources we share until each of us enters into a spirit of collaboration, is overtly agreeable to cooperation, and sees outcomes in terms of consideration for others. Most people will join others in adopting new stances, forming new concepts and building up fresh structures, once the starting point of their own relating has produced trust and understanding. The key to sustainability is in the ethos providing a starting point for that trust.”
– Dr. Michael Booth
Build Coordination and Synergy:
Share, Combine, and Integrate to Augment Existing Resources and Work in Progress
“Synergy refers to a mutually advantageous conjunction where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. It is a dynamic state in which combined action is favored over the sum of individual component actions. It is the behavior of whole systems unpredicted by the behavior of their parts taken separately, and is more accurately known as emergent behavior.”
- R. Buckminster Fuller
Assume the Reality of Self, Culture, Nature, Diversity, Mutuality and the Common Good
Excerpt from: “This ‘Declaration of Interdependence’ affirms the ways in which our fates are bound together, both with distant and human futures, and with the non-human natural world. It provokes people to acknowledge and respond to the multitude of interconnections in the world: ecological, economic, and social. No less than in 1776, it seeks to announce a form of consciousness that matches the needs and possibilities of the contemporary world. It seeks ‘new maps’ for an island planet.”
- Joe Smith
Embody an Ethos of Sustainability:
Equity, Fairness, Compassion, Sustainable Co-existence with the Planet, Sustainable Development/the Natural Step
"Declaration of World Peace and Sustainability:
1. Peace among humans is a necessary precursor to sustainability.
2. A harmonious relationship between humans and the biosphere is essential to sustainability.
3. Robust sustainable use of the planet requires human acknowledgment of dependence upon ecosystem services (e.g., maintaining atmospheric gas balance).
4. Ecological damage and repair must be in balance (as a minimal condition).
5. Anthropogenic biotic impoverishment (i.e., species extinction) must cease.
6. Absence of certainty is not synonymous with absence of risk —what we do not know can hurt us badly (aka The Precautionary Principle).
7. No species endures forever —we have an ethical and moral obligation to ensure that efforts to make the planet sustainable for our species do not preclude sustainable use by other species with which we share the planet.
8. Peace with nature requires that humans cease displacing natural systems by constructing artifacts. Failure to do so will destroy our ecological life support system.
9. Nothing is more important than understanding the consequences of human society's destructive potential for both our own and other species and to change our behavior accordingly.
10. Changing existing paradigms requires that concerned individuals confront both policymakers and the general public with scientific information and reasoned argument. Additionally, they must expose them to the vision and ethos required for both peace and sustainability.
11. We must recognize the inappropriateness of the economic growth paradigm for sustainable use of a finite planet and the concomitant importance of limiting resource consumption per individual to enable allocation to future generations.”
- John Cairns, Jr.
Embody a Spirit of Legacy:
Creative Generosity on Behalf of the Future, Intergenerational Consciousness and Action
“The leading edge of ecological consciousness is the cultivation of creative generosity on behalf of the future. Since humankind’s responsibility for the future of Earth is historically unprecedented, so is our need to see and hold the future with unprecedented compassion. A profound spirit of generosity towards the future is the compassionate response to the growing fear and pessimism about what may lie ahead. To be creative with our generosity means that we have to invent the new expressions, the new channels, the new values that will break the old patterns of selfishness and the inability to consider the long-term consequences of our attitudes and actions. Creative generosity is a living and vital energy that requires a compassionate outlet. It is a Spirit-inspired or sacred activity.”
- Fritz and Vivienne Hull
Focus on Sustainable Cities
Combine/Leverage the Efforts of Urban Centers for Positive Change
“The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) serve to focus worldwide effort in overcoming the critical deficiencies in global development. Effective achievement of many of these goals rests in cities and communities: cities are both areas of concentration of the deficiencies of human existence (reaching a global urban population of 4.2 billion by 2020) that the MDGs seek to correct and also sites for extraordinary cultural, social and political progress in the world and for the world’s prosperity. Sustainable cities are an essential condition for meeting the goals as set out in the Millennium Declaration.”
- Executive Summary, 2006 World Urban Forum Backgrounder
Activate Public Engagement
Encourage Massive, Meaningful Participation
“An inclusive approach requires a deepening awareness of the intersection between civil society and government and the creation of new institutions and processes for fostering inclusiveness, empowerment and engagement. Committed and engaged citizens together with strong, open and inclusive democratic local governments are the basis for sustainability in our future.”
- Executive Summary, 2006 World Urban Forum Backgrounder
Support Experimentation, Wise Action and Social Learning
Facilitate Dialogue, Establish Shared Values and Goals, Orchestrate Action Over Time, Track Results, Learn and Share What Works
“A revised process is needed to allow real cooperation in sustainability planning. This process will require a more open recognition of the subjective priorities that become the framework for sustainable development issues of various interest groups and disciplines. The sustainable development agenda should be more geared toward learning processes rather than projected future outcomes. Learning is enhanced through a participatory framework inclusive of stakeholder interests and is supported by insights from a broad range of disciplinary areas.”
- Tony Meppam and Roderick Gill