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Sustainability on the Mind: ‘Externalities’

From Sustainable Man:

David Suzuki explains the fallacy of conventional economics, in an interview done for the BBC. The song is “Outro” by M83.

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Thinking Sustainability: ‘What if Can Do Can’t? The Vulnerability and Resilience of Cities’ 

Bill Rees, co-originator of the "ecological footprint" concept, explores how our green buildings, smart growth, hybrid cars, renewable energy, other hopeful techno-fixes alone won’t be enough to solve our climate and energy crises. He argues changes to our thinking and culture are fundamental to addressing them. 

You can access his presentation slides here. The video was shot in October 2009 at the 'Gaining Ground: Resilient Cities' summit in Vancouver, Canada.

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(Source: Gaining Ground Summit)

There are no passengers on Spaceship Earth. We are all crew.

Marshall McLuhan

(Earthrise photo: Wikipedia)

Today, August 22, is Earth Overshoot Day, marking the date when humanity has exhausted nature’s budget for the year. We are now operating in overdraft. For the rest of the year, we will maintain our ecological deficit by drawing down local resource stocks and accumulating carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Throughout most of history, humanity has used nature’s resources to build cities and roads, to provide food and create products, and to absorb our carbon dioxide at a rate that was well within Earth’s budget. But in the mid-1970’s, we crossed a critical threshold: Human consumption began outstripping what the planet could reproduce.

The fact that we are using, or “spending,” our natural capital faster than it can replenish is similar to having expenditures that continuously exceed income. In planetary terms, the costs of our ecological overspending are becoming more evident by the day. Climate change—a result of greenhouse gases being emitted faster than they can be absorbed by forests and oceans—is the most obvious and arguably pressing result. But there are others—shrinking forests, species loss, fisheries collapse, higher commodity prices and civil unrest, to name a few. The environmental and financial crises we are experiencing are symptoms of looming catastrophe. Humanity is simply using more than what the planet can provide.

Earth Overshoot Day is an estimate, not an exact date. It’s not possible to determine with 100 percent accuracy the day we bust our ecological budget. Adjustments of the date that we go into overshoot are due to revised calculations, not ecological advances on the part of humanity. The when is less important than the what.

Four paragraphs from the Global Footprint Network’s article, 'August 22 is Earth Overshoot Day'. You can read and learn more here, including about your own ecological footprint and responses to this predicament including examples of cities, countries, and businesses that are transitioning to ‘one planet living’. The BedZed neighbourhood in the UK is one well known example.  

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(Infographic source: Global Footprint Network)

Sustainable Communities | ‘Jennifer Keesmaat: Walk to School’ 

From TEDx via YouTube:

Jennifer Keesmaat is an urban planner and Principal at Design Dialog, an integrated planning firm based in Toronto, Ontario. Jennifer’s passion for building sustainable communities is evident in this TEDxRegina talk where she reminds us of a simple yet meaningful pastime — the walk to school. This talk was filmed May 16, 2012 in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.

It’s worth noting that Keesmaat was recently hired as the new chief planner for the city of Toronto

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Ecological Footprint creator William Rees on ‘Why We’re in Denial’  

From The Extra-Environmentalist:

Dr. William Rees is a professor emeritus at the University of British Columbia and former director of the School of Community and Regional Planning (SCARP). He is the originator of the "ecological footprint" concept and co-developer of the method… We ask Bill about the reasons we’re in denial and how we could start adapting to our ecological challenges through a new cultural narrative.

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Thinking Globally: 'Living Planet Report 2012'

From WWF:

The Living Planet Report is the world’s leading, science-based analysis on the health of our only planet and the impact of human activity. Its key finding? Humanity’s demands exceed our planet’s capacity to sustain us. That is, we ask for more than what we have.

Animating Biodiversity, Ecosystems & Sustainability: 'Not Another Nature Film'

From Green TV

A specially-commissioned animation featuring the voice of Stephen Merchant explaining, in simple terms, the state of our natural world, and our impacts on it.