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and for our Dutch readers:

(other readers: use Google translate to understand these texts)


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#20: The Natural Step framework is the foundation for many sustainability programs in the United States and around the world. Its science-based process "has been tested and proven by forward thinking organizations for nearly two decades. See Solutions for BusinessSolutions for CommunitiesCase Studies."


See also Wikipedia

Martin, you are doing some exceptional service to all of us by providing us reources to educate oursleves on the most challenging problems confronting the humanity. However, I would request you to kindly elaborate your own viewpoints on some of the doubts I have in my own mind:


1. Can planet earth sustain 7 billion plus people? Even if we take for example, the Sandbag shelter of Khalili, one ton of sandbag for every 7 people, still one billion tons of sand will need to be relocated from the crest of the earth to build these shelters. What will be environmental and geological impact of such sustainability, as the relocation itself would require consumption of virtually incalculable amount of energy?


Voluntary efforts to limit the population has not worked. What can be done to reduce the population to, let us say to a billion people. In terms of consumption of energy, is there any study anywhere which gives a model for what level of consumption of energy will sustain for ever?


2. The so called  new technologies and modern processes that are being thrown at us as alternatives, are they really so? For example it takes twice as much energy to build a solar cell than the energy it would produce in 10 years in a zone of moderate insolence (a value of 5 or thereabouts, unlike California or Arizona or Saudi Arabia with a value close to 7).


3. Until the people in Developed world change their own lifestyle and consumption pattern, can we stop people in developing countries to aspire to achieve that lifestyle and therefore put perhaps unbearble strain on sustainability.


4. What is more relevant to the developing world? Sustainable Development or Sustainable Consumption?


5. What role Theosophy or any other thought system can play in formulating a sustainable strategy? What role our own network can play?


Since each of the answers will perhaps be longish, would you consider starting a group study on either Sustainable Development or Sustainable Cosumption, whichever appears appropriate to you.

Capt. Anand: These are many questions and these all need considerable time to explore. Ideally, some group would take this up and do research on the state of affairs and possible solutions/approaches in our current time-frame. Begin of October I plan to attend a seminar on a sustainable world. Hope that gives some new material to work on.

I currently have not much time to start a new group, I am already busy with a couple of projects: developing a systems view of process theosophy and also contemplating the need for our Wiki to be more theme-based, not unlike Andrew Wilson's project on World scripture. We have an archive of many high quality books that can be used for that purpose. But we need people to work on these projects (it's a really large project). Ideally, others would start this group on a sustainable world, and I might participate on a loose basis.

Many people are now starting to think about these things, since it is becoming ever more urgent. Transition Town initiatives are an example. Every one of us could participate in that. Every serious theosopher should undertake or participate in at least one project!


A brief reply to some of your questions. The planet can sustain many billions of people, provided that we take it easy on consumption, recycle everything (waste equals food, as per Natural Step and similar movements now taking off).

Meat consumption should go down - a heavy tax should be imposed on it because it wastes billions of gallons of fresh water. Everybody should be aware of the shortage of fresh water. It will become disastrous within decades. One billion people is malnourished already. It is not only a matter of better distributing food, but safeguarding water supply.

As to housing: in China, they are building houses now that are energy neutral. They store heat in the ground, and can use that in wintertime. This is modern architecture and technology.

Solar energy technology is heavily being researched. The economic break-even point for it has been almost reached, I think. Bad luck that the financial crisis reduces investment in research. Much more seems possible with it than has been realized until now.

sustainable consumption vs development are clearly two sides of the same coin.

A sustainable strategy has already been formulated by Robert, in The Natural Step framework, and, more recently, by William McDonough & Michael Braungart and others (Waste is food; cradle to cradle principle). This framework is based on scientific principles (Thermodynamics). It's very simple to understand.

I will scan the page with the four "system conditions" that have a scientific consensus and put it online. It can also be found through the links I have provided. Some organizations are already working with this framework, more in Europe than in the USA.

Our own network can study these matters and participate with other organizations, like Transition Town network,  to spread the word. If members are interested in studying these matters collectively, they can send a message to board members, or express this interest on this forum. The  board could decide to create a new group for that.

In the mean time, I have scanned the page and it is attached here:



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