Handprints to panarchy: 20 more sustainability diagrams

Posted on May 26, 2009


Diverse lot to add to the collection this time – from the very simple (how did I miss the balance images so far?) to those representing complex philosophical arguments. 

The handprint – as a complement to the footprint – is an extremely elegant way to describe the “doing good” or “restorative sustainability”. 

159. Spectrum of definitions Ken Haggart



160. Balance  (Earth Illustrated) (see also Altran)


161. 5 capitals (Sigma project)


162.  What, for how long? (National Academy of Sciences 1999)




163.  Handprint (Action towards sustainability)


164.  Increasing commitment Peter Mellalieu



165.  Learning to do values framework (UNEVOC)


166.  Commons river (from Barnes’ Capitalism 3.0)



167.   Sustainable business value matrix (SustainAbility and UNEP 2001, used in simplified form here). 



168.  Ecosystem services (from Millenium Ecosystem Assessment, pdf, used in scenarios)



169.  The maintenance of Ecosystem services with time, space and interventions (MEA, applied by Pereira to Sistel Portugal)





170.  Invisible losses (Turner, in relation to Canadian aboriginal perspective). 



171.   Self-organising holarchic eco-social systems (Waltner-Toews, see also scale effects). waltner-toews_SOHO_ecosocialsystems

172.  3 Venn and Strong seen as stages along a continuum (Engineering for Sustainable Development)


173. Ecological footprint/deficit map (Pierce)


174.    How many planets?  (from UK Interdependence Report) See also WWF One Planet Living


175.   Nested adaptive cycles (Holling)

The growth phase we’re in may seem like a natural and permanent state of affairs-and our world’s rising complexity, connectedness, efficiency, and regulation may seem relentless and unstoppable-but ultimately it isn’t sustainable…

I think rapidly rising connectivity within global systems-both economic and technological-increases the risk of deep collapse. That’s a collapse that cascades across adaptive cycles-a kind of pancaking implosion of the entire system as higher-level adaptive cycles collapse, which causes progressive collapse at lower levels.” (Holling in Worldwatch)


(applied to Western Australian agriculture by Allison and Hobbs)


176.   Human ecosystem model (Machlis)

The human ecosystem is defined asa coherent system of biophysical and social factors capable of adaptation and sustainability over time. Human ecosystems rest upon a foundation of abiotic and biotic factors taken as base conditions: a solar-driven energy system obeying thermodynamic properties, biogeochemical cycles of high constancy, landforms and geological variation of great complexity, the full genetic structure of life including biophysical properties of homo sapiens. The base conditions limit, constrain, influence and occasionally direct many human ecosystem processes. Boundaries can be spatially identified through ecological transition zones, administrative and political boundaries, or more fine-scaled analysis of sharp perturbations in system flows


177.   Steady state economy (in comparison with standard growth model) Herman Daly. Summary from SANZ.

The Standard (Growth) Economy diagram is equivalent to the Triple Bottom Line and Mickey Mouse models. It assumes the possibility of evergrowing cycles of production and consumption without considering the role of the supporting ecosystem, thus establishing the belief that there are no biophysical limits to growth of the economy.

By comparison, the Steady State Economy diagram represents stabilised population and consumption. Resource throughput and waste disposal remain roughly constant, the scale of economic activities fits within the capacity provided by ecosystems, there is fair distribution of wealth, and allocation of resources is efficient.




178.   Integral framework   (Wilber’s integral quadrats, used by Barrett Brown) applied by Winton (in Br0wn).