Last Tuesday, I joined Natural Step Network colleagues for coffee with Richard Heinberg, Senior Fellow-in-Residence at Post Carbon Institute. Mr. Heinberg is best known as a leading educator on Peak Oil, though his expertise is far ranging, covering critical issues including the current economic crisis, food and agriculture, community resilience and global climate change. The gloom and doom were thick – just like crude oil.
We are, according to Heinberg’s forecasts, entering the time when not only are we running out of oil, but we also are running lower on most of the basic minerals for industrial civilization. Heinberg detailed what might be called the “Peak Everything” scenario. If his forecast is true, we need to continue to focus on efficiency of resource use and Bill McDonough’s concept of eco-effectiveness, or as the Buddhist might say, doing no harm or maybe – just maybe improving nature’s ability to function.
This gloomy forecast stimulated me to frame what might be called a new Triple Bottom Line (TBL) – or R3:
- Resilient economies that focus on local/regional levels strategies.
- Revitalized communities that are more locally centered and self-reliant.
- Restored ecosystems that provide the ecosystem services to all species including Homo Sapiens.
To move to this R3/TBL we need to:
- Make scientific arguments clear and simple so they can be communicated to the public and policy makers.
- Begin to translate this thinking to policy makers as “opportunities” to improve local communities.
- Undertake prototyping projects at all scales to demonstrate these opportunities.
- Create strategies for change that work at different scales: family, neighborhood, community, school, business, city, state, region and nation.
If we adopt this strategy, regardless of whether we are entering “Peak Everything” scenario or not, we may be able to improve our communities, economies and ecosystems.Tags:Peak Oil, Sustainability