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Building a Bridge to a New Global Culture

Sustainable Land Development Initiative | Wednesday September 8th, 2010 | 13 Comments

By Terry Mock
Follow Terry on Twitter: @SustainLandDev

As the first year of SLDI publication of this magazine draws to a close, I want to take a look back at where the sustainable land development movement has come from, along with offering a new prediction of where we go from here.

In the summer of 1995, as a co-founder and the first (and only) land developer past-president of the non-profit Florida Native Plant Society, I was asked to write an article for the Society’s quarterly publication – The Palmetto. Following are excerpts from that article, which provides a snap shot of a time 13 years ago. You be the judge of whether there has been movement toward more informed decisions about the future, toward a plan that I called at the time, “the coming restorative economy.”

 

Outrunning our Headlights

While there continues to be debate over various scientific, economic, and political details of the plan, two over-riding pressures are now combining to forge a new global consensus for environmental restoration:

1)    At the present rate of consumption, the Earth does not have the resource capacity to continue to sustain our human population. The end of the current world for humankind is now in sight.

2)    The United States, winner of the Cold war and the leading role model for the rest of the world, has a capitalistic system that is now approaching insolvency…

The existing world economic order is teetering on the brink of bankruptcy and will not be capable of sustaining itself much longer by exploiting dwindling world supplies of natural resources and by deficit government spending.

That is the bad news.

Paradigm Shift

The good news is that out of these huge problems will come the pressure to replace our old system with new political and business structures that will help provide for a sustainable global economy. The will to act is all that is missing, for the scientific knowledge to technologically operate our planet in a sustainable manner is now available to all via satellite-relayed, instant around-the-world information.

The key component of our newfound knowledge of sustainability is the philosophy of “doing more with less”, and the best sustainable models for us to study are the earth’s natural systems. Only by emulating the efficiency of nature can we sustain our species at a desirable standard of living. At long last…the restoration economy will replace the competitiveness of a scarce resource mindset with the cooperativeness of a limitless, sustainable resource paradigm…

…Restoration implies a responsibility to change existing business practices to more closely mimic the complex and efficient models of sustainable natural systems:

  • New accounting standards, which consider the long-term costs of environmental degradation, must be implemented.
  • Creative financial tools, such as mitigation banking, must be allowed to evolve in order to vent development pressure and to raise revenue for large-scale restoration projects.
  • Sustainable profit centers, such as eco-tourism, must be developed for local economies as an alternative to natural resource mining.
  • Organically produced, local cash crops must be developed to replace chemically dependent monocultures in order to preserve biodiversity.

 Take the High Ground

…Earth restoration will not only restore our natural systems – it will restore our faith in ourselves and our hope for the future. David Brower, the first executive director of the Sierra Club and pre-eminent wilderness preservationist, now asserts…that the world desperately needs CPR – Conservation, Preservation, and Restoration – in order to achieve the ultimate goal in life – Celebration.

The opportunities for each of us as environmental entrepreneurs are greater than at any time in human history. We can make money, save the world, and have fun! Who says you can’t have it all?!

Update

In his latest book, Hot, Flat, and Crowded, multi-Pulitzer-winning journalist Thomas Friedman now says that the greatest thing that the US could do today for itself, and for the whole world, would be to announce its intention to “outgreen China” – by taking a commanding lead in the race to build the next great global industry. In this groundbreaking account of where we stand now, he shows how America’s recent lack of focus and national purpose; and the global environmental crisis are linked – and how we can restore the world and revive America at the same time.

The mission of Sustainable Land Development International is the bridge to a new global culture…promoting and enabling land development worldwide that balances the needs of people, planet & profit for today – and future generations.

Republished from Nov./Dec., 2008 issue of Sustainable Land Development Today magazine.


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  • http://www.triplepundit.com/author/sldi/ Terry Mock

    UPDATE:

    Earth System Science Partnership
    Public release date: 23-Nov-2011

    Overhaul required to govern planet’s life support system: Experts
    Needed to avert environmental disaster, reform of international organizations at scale rivalling post-WW II era

    Reducing the risk of potential global environmental disaster requires a “constitutional moment” comparable in scale and importance to the reform of international governance that followed World War II, say experts preparing the largest scientific conference leading up to next June’s Rio+20 Earth Summit… http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2011-11/essp-uor112111.php

  • http://twitter.com/SustainLandDev SLDI

    UPDATE:

    US Congressional Budget Office Economic Outlook
    http://www.cbo.gov/publication/43539
    August 22, 2012

    For fiscal year 2012 (which ends on September 30), the federal budget
    deficit will total $1.1 trillion, CBO estimates, marking the fourth year
    in a row with a deficit of more than $1 trillion. That projection is
    down slightly from the $1.2 trillion deficit that CBO projected in
    March. At 7.3 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), this year’s
    deficit will be three-quarters as large as the deficit in 2009 when
    measured relative to the size of the economy. Federal debt held by the
    public will reach 73 percent of GDP by the end of this fiscal year—the
    highest level since 1950 and about twice the share that it measured at
    the end of 2007, before the financial crisis and recent recession…

  • Terry Mock

    UPDATE:

    August 28th, 2012

    China Beats U.S. to Become Number One In Installed Wind Powerhttp://www.triplepundit.com/2012/08/china-wind/

  • http://twitter.com/SustainLandDev SLDI

    Life is Sacred
    September 3, 2012
    by Chris Hedges

    I retreat in the summer to the mountains and coasts of Maine and New Hampshire to sever myself from the intrusion of the industrial world. It is in the woods and along the
    rugged Atlantic coastline, the surf thundering into the jagged rocks, that I am reminded of our insignificance before the universe and the brevity of human life. The stars, thousands visible in the night canopy above me, mock human pretensions of grandeur. They whisper the biblical reminder that we are dust and to dust we shall return. Love now, they tell us urgently, protect what is sacred, while there is still time. But now I go there also to mourn. I mourn for our future, for the fading majesty of the natural world, for the folly of the human species. The planet is dying. And we will die with it.

    The giddy, money-drenched, choreographed carnival in Tampa and the one coming up in Charlotte divert us from the real world—the one steadily collapsing around us. The glitz and propaganda, the ridiculous obsessions imparted by our electronic hallucinations, and the spectacles that pass for political participation mask the deadly ecological assault by the corporate state. The worse it gets, the more we retreat into self-delusion. We convince ourselves that global warming does not exist. Or we concede that it exists but insist that we can adapt. Both responses satisfy our mania for eternal optimism and our reckless pursuit of personal comfort. In America, when
    reality is distasteful we ignore it. But reality will soon descend like the Furies to shatter our complacency and finally our lives. We, as a species, may be doomed. And this is a bitter, bitter fact for a father to digest… http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/life_is_sacred_20120903//

  • http://twitter.com/SustainLandDev SLDI

    Green Transition is Happening!
    Video from EthicalMarkets.com – http://j.mp/Pfj09w

  • http://twitter.com/SustainLandDev SLDI

    Oregon lawmakers prepare for worst-case scenarios in near-broke timber counties
    By Yuxing Zheng, The Oregonian
    February 27, 2013
    http://www.oregonlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2013/02/oregon_lawmakers_prepare_for_w.html

    “Officials in Curry, Coos, Douglas, Josephine, Jackson, Lane and other timber-reliant counties face the prospect of financial insolvency in coming years as county timber payments from the federal government end.”

  • http://twitter.com/SustainLandDev SLDI

    A Budding Model of a Truly Sustainable Community
    By Sustainable Land Development Initiative | January 13th, 2013
    http://www.triplepundit.com/2013/01/budding-model-sustainable-community/

    “Transformational systems, not Band-aids for cancer”

  • http://twitter.com/SustainLandDev SLDI

    The Energy Collective
    12 Reasons Why Globalization is a Huge Problem
    Posted February 24, 2013
    By Gail Tverberg

    Globalization seems to be looked on as an unmitigated “good” by economists. Unfortunately, economists seem to be guided by their badly flawed models; they miss real-world problems. In particular, they miss the point that the world is finite. We don’t have infinite resources, or unlimited ability to handle excess pollution. So we are setting up a “solution” that is at best temporary…. http://theenergycollective.com/gail-tverberg/189941/twelve-reasons-why-globalization-huge-problem#comment-47566

  • http://twitter.com/SustainLandDev SLDI

    The End of Growth
    Richard Heinberg lays out what policy makers, communities, and families can do to build a new economy that operates within Earth’s budget of energy and resources.
    By Richard Heinberghttp
    //www.utne.com/environment/end-of-growth-ze0z1302zcalt.aspx#ixzz2RrVWjbXH

  • http://twitter.com/SustainLandDev SLDI

    The Most Predictable, But Avoidable, Economic Crisis in History
    Bowles co-delivers keynote address at ACG Intergrowth 2013 with former Sen. Alan Simpson
    By MARY KATHLEEN FLYNN
    April 23, 2013
    http://www.themiddlemarket.com/news/erskine-bowles-warns-of-most-predictable-but-avoidable-economic-crisis-239756-1.html?ET=mergersunleashed:e13446:231415a:&st=email&utm_source=editorial&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=monday_monitor_042613

  • SLDI

    TriplePundit
    At the Leading Edge of Sustainable Development, Scotland Embraces Natural Capital
    By Andrew Burger | November 22nd, 2013
    http://www.triplepundit.com/2013/11/leading-edge-sustainable-development-scotland-embraces-natural-capital/

  • SLDI

    April 10, 2014 by Common Dreams
    Calling All Pagans: Your Mother Earth Needs You
    by Robert C. Koehler – http://www.commondreams.org/view/2014/04/10-1

    Somewhere between these two quotes lies the future:

    “And I would like to emphasize that nobody on this planet is going to be untouched by the impacts of climate change.”

    “The Judeo-Christian worldview is that man is at the center of the universe; nature was therefore created for man. Nature has no intrinsic worth other than man’s appreciation and moral use of it.”

  • SLDI

    Economic Policies for the 21st Century
    Entrepreneurship is the Key to Economic Growth and Job Creation
    John Dearie | 05/29/2014

    Three reports issued in recent weeks provide important, and worrisome, insight into the long-term health of the U.S. economy. If policymakers carefully consider each—and understand the connections between them—the U.S. economy stands a far better chance of returning to historical rates of economic growth and job creation… http://www.economics21.org/commentary/entrepreneurship-key-economic-growth-and-job-creation