Need your help looking for sustainability diagrams

Posted on May 17, 2010


Some more (for the full collection), and a request for help.    I’m looking for diagrams for these sustainability related concepts:

  • risk management applied to sustainability (eg bowtie diagrams)
  • family ties and sustainability
  • systems thinking (not examples or evidence of systems thinking, rather systems thinking itself)
  • complexity
  • scale
  • risk and uncertainty
  • threshold concepts
  • biomimicry (not just examples of biomimicry, but how it relates to sustainability)
  • participation/democracy and sustainability
  • ethical dilemmas, especially sustainability ones (eg diagrams that explore the questions in Peter Singer’s  The Life You Can Save)

256.  Imperatives (Scottish Government attributes Irish EPA)

257.  Triangle with explicit balance (INAP)

The balance point at A, which weighs the social and economic more heavily than the environmental, is equally acceptable as the point of balance at B, which weighs the environmental more heavily. The most suitable point of equilibrium can be identified only through an integrated consultative process involving all stakeholders.

258. Aims of Environmental Education (NZ Government)

259.  Future  generations (Australian Government Intergenerational Report)

260.  Three circles in one (espdesign)

261.  Stool gives a short shrift (Storck)

262.  Spring (KÖVET Association for Sustainable Economies)

263-266 Systemic mapping of strategic dilemmas (Anthony Judge for Intersectoral Dialogue in preparation for Earth Summit).

To explore and illustrate new possibilities, the focus of the exercise described here is on identifying “strategic dilemmas· underlying debates on Earth Summit issues. These are the dilemmas which reflect such seemingly irreconcilable concerns as safeguarding watercourses versus exploiting essential hydro-electric energy reserves. The assumption is that the set of these local (namely issuespecific) long-term dilemmas may offer clues to new patterns of global (namely inter-sectoral) strategies and bargains.

The intention was to obtain suggestions for inter-sectoral images which could best capture the Earth Summit insights and empower people to move forward in new ways.

There was a concern to move beyond the traditional text representation of the challenges of inter-sectoral dialogue and to endeavour to open up new possibilities by portraying sectoral and issue relationships in two and three-dimensions.

Pattern of strategic dilemmas in table form designed to code and organize strategic dilemmas of sustainable development. Sustainable development is a function of the pattern as a whole rather than of its components.

263.  Table of strategic dilemmas

(A checklist of sectoral declarations) fails to respond to the need to raise the level of  debate by offering a global (inter-sectoral) context for specific bargains, checks and balances. Such checklists, like Agenda 21, are effectively overwhelming. They encourage simplistic attempts to identify “the most important problem” whose solution it is hoped will magically transform all the others.

(The table) is one attempt to respond to this situation by showing how different social functions,understood as strategic opportunities, interfere with each other to engender a pattern of strategic dilemmas.

Example code groupings

264.  Network of bargain areas

The traditional tabular presentation (of the table) is itself a conceptual trap. It encourages a very mechanistic approach to the pattern of dilemmas, reinforcing tendencies to much-contested forms of “linear thinking”. The linearity may be deliberately challenged by allowing the information to be encoded or projected onto a network. In this exercise the network has been deliberately chosen to facilitate comprehension of global properties of the pattern of strategic dilemma.

The 6 hierarchical structures below may be viewed as caricatures of a set of currently competing world views. In each, the dominant function (from the table) tends to distort or suppress the operations governed by the recessive functions (in much the same way as the gene for brown eyes masks the expression of the “blue eyes’ gene). The challenge of sustainable development is to interweave the functional contributions so that all are both expressed and constrained under appropriate circumstances.

265. Representation of issue arenas on icosadodecahedral net

Globally patterned network (see Figures 3A and 3B) chosen to be compatible with the set of strategic functions (in a previous table).   The areas can then be used to signify issue- specific bargain arenas. The network is thus a globally organized network of local bargain arenas (where global and local are understood in a functional rather than a geographical sense).

The systemic coherence of the network pattern of Figure  becomes clear when it is seen how the 2-dimensional network may be folded around the surface of a sphere in 3 dimensions. This establishes the functional globality of the pattern of bargain arenas and the associated strategic dilemmas.

Further insights into how local bargains may interlock may be obtained by considering the tensegrity structures which illustrate the principles by which spherical structures can be rendered self-sustaining in practice.  Tensegrity structures are effectively patterns of sustainability.

This approach points to new policy possibilities in which the degree of global consensus required is reduced to a minimum (in a design sense) by localizing the patterns of disagreement. In this way disagreement no longer acts globally — tearing apart the global community. Rather it is locally confined and understood as a long-term strategic dilemma on which ·consensus· can only be achieved in the short-term. Sustainability thus lies at the global level not at the local level.

266.  Two columns of bargaining areas

These may be understood as simpler (3-valent) and more complex (5-valent) bargaining arenas around specific concerns.

…a tentative indication of the significance of each code is given here (not all shown here) . The codes appear in two columns. The left hand column indicates a development-focused application of the strategies. The right hand column indicates an environment-sensitive application of the strategies.

267.  Prism of health and sustainability (Parkes et al.)

270. Trajectory of environmentally responsible design (NZ Ministry for the Environment)

This figure illustrates that ‘Conventional practice’ and ‘Green/high performance design’ both fall beneath the bar of sustainability. This is because they are still degenerating ecosystems and human health. ‘Sustainable design’ can be thought of as neutral. This is because it neither causes ecosystem degeneration, but nor does it contribute to positive outcomes. ‘Restorative design’ and ‘regenerative design’ are regenerative systems and are above the bar of sustainability. This is because they have positive ecological and community outcomes. As design moves from conventional, to green, through sustainable and onto restorative and regenerative, less energy is needed. A conventional design can be thought of as relating to a fragmented system. Green or high performance as well sustainable design solutions tend to focus on new techniques and technologies. Restorative design takes into account the whole system, and regenerative design encompasses a full understanding of living systems (including humans).