Sustainability = growing profit then steady profit

Posts on the UN NGO Week 4 Sustainability dialog for “WorldWeWant2015Post II references Post I below it, and is in reply to Alison Doig, working with Christian Aid, Green Alliance, WWF, Greenpeace and RSPB to understand the nature of the relation between environmental sustainability, quoted at the bottom.  Alison lays out a set of simple but broad principles for sustainability, a preview of a longer paper, but missing key issues for working with the natural phases of developmental processes for environmental transformations.  jlh

See also Jan 2014 OWG7 proposed World SDG incorporating this principle and others


Post II  Jessie Henshaw Fri, Mar 1, 2013 at 1:00 pm

Alison,    Your approach seems quite sensible, but to be missing one of the key controlling variables for all these objectives.   That’s whether the improvements you seek are “by an accumulation of larger steps” or “by an accumulation of smaller steps”.   An accumulation of smaller steps is probably sustainable, and an accumulation of larger steps is necessary to get any process of change started, but quite unsustainable, is the interesting rub.

This distinction is also quite missing from the whole discussion, always has been actually, so you’re not to be faulted for overlooking it.   Still, it does in fact control whether any of the things we hope will be sustainable actually will be.   I’m a systems physicist and this is the subject I study, both how all sorts of development processes need to begin and end, and how easy it is for people to overlook the whole subject.  I’d very much like to work with you if you see how to build any of this into your report in progress.

As a matter of change over time, start-up development always needs to be divergent and expansive, a series of ever bigger steps, and maturing development always needs to be converging and self-limited, a series of ever smaller steps.  In-between the physical momentum of change builds and decays.

The natural succession of development phases

For the  “three dimensions of sustainability”, social, economic, and environmental, it applies to all three. Continue reading Sustainability = growing profit then steady profit