Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Dancing with the Tiger

The next volume to fall into my hands to continue my education about creating a restorative economy is Dancing with the Tiger, Learning Sustainability Step by Natural Step. I am looking forward to gaining a better understanding of The Natural Step, founded by Dr. Karl-Henrik Robert.

I've only started the foreword by Nicholas C. Sonntag, the CEO of CH2M Hill at the time of the book's publishing. CH2M Hill is a large, multi-national engineering services and construction management corporation. I am curious to learn how they adopted the Natural Step, and whether or not they are still pursuing sustainable business practices.

A bit of local sustainability, this time in terms of land-use and development patterns, came to my attention as I biked in parts of the Lehigh Valley in Eastern Pennsylvania. I have the privilege of bringing my bike on the occasional business trip. Depending on our schedule, I can get out for an hour or two after the day is done. I decided to head north from Quakertown toward Allentown, using that wondrous (not really) device with Google Mobile Maps for navigation (no printing required!). Despite the fact that my complete ignorance of the local terrain invited more climbing pain than I bargained for, I appreciated the lush scenery. Bird song was nearly nonstop, and I was constantly buffeted with insects of all sizes, their swarming certainly a sign that the Swallows would be eating well.

I noticed a creeping swarm of another kind, subdivisions. It is clear that farmland, no longer valued for its food producing ability in the local economy, is being sold for the building of homes. I am not familiar with the local economy, but I can bet the area "needs" housing, and we all want our own space. What will happen if the price of fuel keeps climbing? Would these farms be able to provide for Allentown? Will these homes even be accessible?

Back to The Natural Step; take a look at Ray Anderson's interview from The Hours. Interface is a Natural Step practitioner and one of the poster children for the journey toward a zero-footprint company. I hope others are listening.


Dave Peterson said...

Wayne - Just went to your site for the first time. I never knew you were so passionate about environmental sustainability. I'll keep enjoying your blog...

- Dave Peterson

Anonymous said...

Dave: Thanks for checking it out. It's a bit of an alter-ego. My goal is to fuse this interest into the work I do. I'll get there eventually. We should make the BRC climate neutral.