The Natural Step – Reconciling the Economy and the Planet
“The most promising faith for the future might be based on the realization that the entire universe is a system related by common laws and that it makes no sense to impose our dreams and desires on nature without taking them into account”
“Flow”, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Introduction – Seeing our problems through a different lens
This course is about hope. It is about how each of us can take steps to shift the mindset that supports our view of the human economy so that business can become an agent of environmental regeneration and renewal.
You will learn about a set of principles called “The Natural Step”. Originally developed in Sweden, The Natural Step is now a global movement. Its value is that The Natural Step is inclusive. It does not preach nor does it tell you what to do. It asks you to look more deeply at how you interact with the planet leaving you to decide how to take your own steps to make your own life and the life systems of the planet better.
While simple, the Natural Step requires you to use a different lens or perspective which may be hard at first. It is like seeing the two women in this picture for the first time. You may struggle for a while to see the other woman, but once you see her you always will.
Why is having a new perspective important?
Few of us deny that we are in the midst of a growing environmental crisis. The 1990’s have been the warmest decade in recorded history. The wild fishery is under threat. Western agriculture is in economic and environmental turmoil. Supplies of fresh water are reaching their limits. Ice caps are melting. But just as our situation is becoming so obvious, we cannot agree on a solution.
The apparent success of our mindset about resources and business, has reinforced our assumptions that humanity has “Progressed” beyond the confines of the laws and processes of nature. Our “Progress” model has triumphantly overwhelmed cultures that maintained a connection to nature and has proved them “Wrong”. So when we sit down at Kyoto to discuss the environment, the debate is framed as a choice is between jobs or the planet. The protagonists each see the other as the “enemy”. The result is that we are trapped in conflict. Each side blames the other and we muddle on, hoping that somehow “technology” will come up with the answer.
The Natural Step offers you a new lens to see yourself and the planet. By shifting your perspective, it will take your focus from the leaves of the trees, where disagreement is inevitable, to the roots where we can all find a common cause. Not only will it help you find this new common ground but The Natural Step provides you with a related set of diagnostic tools to help you make better decisions.
Our course will expose you not only to the theory but also to a number of case studies that will show how it has been applied.