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NATURAL STEPS

for LIVING
in
THE UNIVERSE
J. ANDY SMITH III
with assistance from RALPH

COPLEMAN

What is a tree?
Trunk
Branches
Leaves, needles
Roots
Stabilizer of soil
Food, fuel, fodder, fiber, fertilizer
Carbon production machine
Converter of solar energy
Shade provider
Home for animals
Part of forest
Source of pharmaceuticals
Source of beauty and inspiration
Lumber
Living system

Cause and Effect

Intertwined Systems

Living Systems
Every system is a whole in its own
right and also composed of
subsystems, each of which is a
whole. At the same time every
system is part of a larger system
from the atom to the ultimate system,
the universe. No system is reducible
to its parts.

What is a tree?
Trunk
Branches
Leaves, needles
Roots
Stabilizer of soil
Food, fuel, fodder, fiber, fertilizer
Carbon production machine
Converter of solar energy
Shade provider
Home for animals
Part of forest
Source of pharmaceuticals
Source of beauty and inspiration
Lumber
Living system

Our Home

Environment
Ecosphere
Earth
Science and
Technology
Politics
Economy
Agriculture
Religion
Healthcare

Education
Arts and
Culture
Communication
SocietyAll Human Action

Human Society in Earth Context

Economy

Environment
Ecosphere
Earth
Science and
Technology
Politics
Agriculture

Religion
Healthcare

Education
Arts and
Culture
Communication
SocietyAll Human Action

Todays Human Society

Ecosystem
Services
1980
Unsustainable

Population
and

Consumption

Ecosystem
Services
Sustainability

Population
and

Consumption

Philosophy is written in this grand book


the universe, which stands continually
open to our gaze. But the book cannot
be understood unless one first learns to
comprehend the language and to read
the alphabet in which it is composed.
Galileo Galilei

"Our human responsibility as one voice


among so many throughout the universe is
to develop our capacities to listen as
incessantly as the hovering hydrogen
atoms, as profoundly as our primal
ancestors and their faithful descendants in
today's indigenous peoples. The adventure
of the universe depends upon our capacity
to listen."
Brian Swimme & Thomas Berry, The Universe
Story
Photo courtesy Mark McCaughrean and the European Southern Observatory

The Universe Emerged in


Raw Form About 13.7 Billion
Years Ago
No one knows why it
happened
No one can say for
sure how it will wind up
(or down) or why
It created more
questions than answers

Flaring forth in
all directions
10-13 bya: galactic clouds,
first elements, giant galaxies
swallowing smaller ones
differentiations, mergers,
supernovae
5 bya: disc-like cloud floats
in Orion arm of Milky Way
our neighborhood

The
Big
Bang

...The Story Continues...


4.6 billion years
ago: Tiamat goes
supernova
4.5 billion: our sun is born

Photo courtesy Mark McCaughrean and the European Southern Observatory

Ecosystem
Services

Population
and
Consumption

...The Story Continues...


.4.5 billion: planets
formed; earth
creates
atmosphere,
oceans, one land
mass

Photo courtesy Mark McCaughrean and the European Southern Observatory

Ecosystem
Services

Population
and
Consumption

LIFE ON EARTH BEGINS


4 billion years ago: first living cells

(prokaryotes)
Anaerobic no nucleus
Earth still has no breathable atmosphere
3.9 bya: a mutant cell invents photosynthesis
2 billion: another mutant cell learns to cope
with oxygen, and life begins to take off
Imagine 2 billion years of earths
existence during which oxygen was
poisonous to all living things

Ecosystem
Services

Photosynthesis

Population
and
Consumption

Down through the


Eons...
700 million years ago: appearance of
1st multicellular animal

By this point, 95% of all the time


between the Big Bang and today has
already gone by
600 million: flat worms, jellyfish
570 million: Cambrian extinctions: c. 85%
of all species eliminated
550 million: clams and snails
510 million: vertebrates

Five Kingdoms
of Life on Earth
bacteria 5,000 species identified
eukaryotic cells 65,000 species identified
slime molds (protofungi)
algae (protoplants)
protozoa (protoanimals)
fungi 100,000 species identified
plants 300,000 species identified
animals over 1,390,000 species identified

Brief History of the


Human...
2.6 million years ago:
earliest record of Homo
habilis
1.5 million: Homo erectus,
the hunter
500,000: fire, hand axes
200,000 archaic Homo sapiens

Ecosystem
Services

Photosynthesis

Population
and
Consumption

Brief History of the


Human...
10K: agriculture;
settlements
8K: Jericho has 2000 people

Ecosystem
Services

Photosynthesis

Population
and
Consumption

Two laws of waste


management in the five
kingdoms:
Everything that is waste for one kingdom
is input for another.
Everything that is a toxin or pathogen
for one kingdom is a nutrient for
another.

Ecosystem
Services

Photosynthesis

Population
and
Consumption

4.5 BYA Earth


3.9 BYA Green

cells

2.6 MYA

Earliest humans
200 YA

Industrial Age

Review
Stages in
Development

The Timeline of Evolution in Ten Years


If the earth evolved 10 years ago then:
The entire 200 years of the industrial age would
have occurred in the last 14 seconds
The Copernican revolution would have
occurred 32 seconds ago
All written human history would have happened
in the last 5 minutes
The Neanderthals would have been around
2 hours ago
The first human would have appeared
2 days ago

Ecosystem
Services
Take
Make

Photosynthesis

Waste

Population
and
Consumption

1. TAKE The condition of naturally


occurring materials
The earth is not sustainable if we
continue to take from its crust stored
deposits of materials at a faster rate
than natures own cycles take and
return those substances.
.

Photo courtesy Mark McCaughrean and the European Southern Observatory

Ecosystem
Services
Take
Make

Photosynthesis
1

Population
and
Consumption

Waste

2. MAKE The condition of


socially produced materials
The earth is not sustainable if we
continue to make synthetic
compounds and other materials at
a faster rate than they can be
broken down and integrated into
natural cycles
Photo courtesy Mark McCaughrean and the European Southern Observatory

Ecosystem
Services
Take

Make

Photosynthesis
1

Population
and
Consumption

Waste

3. MAINTAIN The condition of


ecosystem manipulation
The earth is not sustainable unless our
actions maintain or renew natural
ecological systems rather than
systematically destroying them by
overuse and misuse.

Photo courtesy Mark McCaughrean and the European Southern Observatory

Ecosystem
Services

Take

Make

Photosynthesis
1

Population
and
Consumption

Waste

4. USE The socio-economic


condition
The earth is not sustainable
unless we efficiently use and
justly distribute its resources to
meet the basic needs of all
people.

Photo courtesy Mark McCaughrean and the European Southern Observatory

In the absence of significant


sharing of power, all other
system conditions are subject
to degradation.
Steve Viederman, Oct. 6, 2000

Ecosystem
Services
5
3

Take

Make

Photosynthesis
1

Population
and
Consumption

Waste

5. FINANCE The use of money


The earth is not sustainable if
we continue to extract financial
wealth from money in speculative
ways totally unrelated to natural
capital.

Photo courtesy Mark McCaughrean and the European Southern Observatory

$
Ecosystem
Services

3
Photosynthesis

Take

Make
2

Population
and
Consumption

Money driving the system

Waste

Ecosystem
Services
5
3
Photosynthesis
1

Take

Make
2

Population
and
Consumption
Money within the system

Waste

=/

Money is a token of exchange


for goods and services
Money is not a principle of the universe
Value is totally a social decision

FOUR
SCIENTIFIC
PRINCIPLES

1. We can neither create nor destroy energy or


matter, the first law of thermodynamics.
2. Matter and energy tend to disperse;
everything is eventually everywhere, and useful
energy declines in proportion to use, the second
law of thermodynamics, the entropy law.
3. Matter and energy have quality according

to the amount of structure, purity and


concentration.
4. Net increase in the quality of matter
on the earth comes almost entirely from
the solar driven process of
photosynthesis.

Four Universe Principles


Present everywhere in
everything from the Big
Bang until now -strategies for organizing
any community, family,
neighborhood or
organization, for learning
and having the most fun
doing it.

I. DIFFERENTIATION
No system works w/o
difference, diversity,
complexity, disparity,
multiform nature,
heterogeneity, articulation
Experimentation & play
are primary modes of
expression

II. SUBJECTIVITY
Every species, every
being has its own internal
experience
The more complex the
being, the greater the
capacity for sensing this
experience
Also called: Interiority,
autopoeisis, self organizing
capacity, inner capacity, selfmanifestation, subjectivity,

III. Communion
We cannot avoid awareness of the unity
of everything all species, minerals,
planets, dynamics
Every body wants and needs every one
and every thing
It all came out of the split-second Big
Bang the source of our common ground
Community and interrelatedness

IV. GENEROSITY
The Sun gives up 4 million tons of itself
every minute to make life on earth
possible

The universe is a vast


community of diverse
subjects from the smallest
particle to the largest
galaxy.

Unity and Diversity


Each individual part is fully
related to the whole
or
the whole contains each
individual part

The calcium in our


bones was made in
the stars

About 70% of
the human body
is water.
When does that
water become
us?

The universe is full of


hydrogen gas. Leave it
alone for 13 billion years.
It turns into rosebushes,
giraffes and humans.
Brian Swimme

In Contrast...

The Modern Human


has largely excluded
from its sense of
communion all other
species
...And limited its
conscious involvement
with the earth itself
The result is a
behavior pattern
characterized by
objectivity and
ownership

Compare...
Natural Universe
13.7 billion years of
engaged, organic,
unfolding,
experimenting,
evolving, selfemergence, creating
galaxies, stars,
planets, and
interdependent
life...

Modern civilization
pursuing one recipe
for techno-paradise
to erase all
problems and
completely secure
our mono-cultural
ideals
An end to
celebration?

MODERN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY


1543 Copernicus - earth revolves around sun
1609 Galileo confirms Copernican revolution by observation
1687 Newton - modern view of universe
1809 Lamarck - evolution from lower to higher forms of life
1859 Darwin - natural selection in evolution
1860 Lenoir - internal combustion engine
1903 Wright Brothers - first flight
1905 Einstein - modern understanding of time, space, motion and
energy
1928 Quantum mechanics developed
1929 Hubble - evidence of expanding universe
1961 First man in space
1962 Rachael Carson - effects of pesticides
1965 Background radiation from big bang discovered
1969 First walk on the moon
1990 Hubble Space telescope

MODERN BUSINESS
1606 Virginia Company, Plymouth Company
1608 British East India Company
1776 Adam Smith Wealth of Nations
1798 Malthus population places environmental limits on growth
19th century - industrial revolution & intro of term capitalism
1800s Growth of modern industry beginning in Britain
1830 first railroads
1870 Standard Oil of Ohio, Atlantic Richfield, 1885 AT&T incorporated
1886 corporation recognized as person before law
1892 GE incorporated, 1897 Dow Chemical Company, Johnson & Johnson
1900 Weyerhauser, Clinton Pharmaceutical (Bristol Myers)
1901 US Steel, 1903 Ford Motor Company, 1908 General Motors
1944 Bretton Woods agreement World Bank, IMF,
1967 GATT (1995 WTO)
1995 World Business Council for Sustainable Development

Photo courtesy Mark McCaughrean and the European Southern Observatory

OTHER MODERN
MEGA-INSTITUITONS
Education
Politics
Religion
Communications
Arts and Culture
Health Care
Agriculture
Photo courtesy Mark McCaughrean and the European Southern Observatory

MODERN
MEGA-INSTITUITONS
Science and technology
Business
Not one of these
Education
mega-institutions
Politics
operates on the
Religion
fundamental
Communications
Arts and Culture assumption of its
relationship to the
Health Care
natural world
Agriculture
Photo courtesy Mark McCaughrean and the European Southern Observatory

The Threat to Survival


-Measures of World Health
and Sustainability
Population Growth
Global Warming/Climate Change
Stratospheric Ozone Depletion
Loss of Biological Diversity
Deforestation
Desertification and Land Degradation
Freshwater Loss and Degradation
Marine Environment and Resource Degradation
Persistent Organic Pollutants
Gross Divergence in Income

Ecosystem
Services

Photosynthesis
1

Sustainability
2

Population
and
Consumption

BACKCASTING FROM SUSTAINABILITY

A
Organization
today

Resource Availability and Ecosystem Ability


to Provide Basic Services
Unsustainable

Sustainable

(Gross Earth Product)

Proactive Organization in
Sustainable Future

Sustainability
Societal Demand for Services
(Gross Domestic Product)

Adapted from The Natural Step for Business

The Fundamental
Challenge
How can we transform human
institutions government, business,
education, religion, healthcare, science
and technology, communications, arts
and culture to recognize our grounding
in the universe, the ever evolving web
of life in the natural world ?

The Business Challenge


Business opportunities abound in the living economies
to be created by those moving forward into a new
age based on living in harmony with the web of life
rather than exploitation of the earths resources
for the benefit of a few. Those companies that
learn how to develop these opportunities will be the
companies that become the business leaders of the
21st century. The natural world is a model, a
mentor and a measure for building these sustainable
businesses.

21 Questions for Building a


Local, Living Economy
Does my business, product or service:
1. Build community and foster dialogue?
2. Support diversity of people, cultures, and resources?
3. Encourage self-organization, creativity and
local decision-making?
4. Utilize or increase the local knowledge base?
5. Increase focus on services needed and delivered rather
than products?
6. Increase social equity?
7. Enhance awareness, interaction and interdependency
of humans with the natural world?

21 Questions for Building a


Local, Living Economy
Does my business, product or service:
8. Use less material from the crust of the earth and focus
on renewable resources?
9. Maintain and enhance natural ecosystems?
10. Enhance efficient use of resources?
11. Avoid the use of toxic or persistent organic pollutants?
. Utilize natural energy flows?
12.
13. Enhance the use of resources from the
local bioregion?
14. Avoid direct altering of internal information
systems of organisms (DNA)? (using GMO products)

21 Questions for Building a


Local, Living Economy
Does my business, product or service:
15. Eliminate or recycle waste?
16. Create safe objects or services of long-term value?
17. Increase efficiency of energy flows?
18. Use natural organic models in its design?
19. Encourage reduced consumption of natural resources?
20. Increase the long-term economic viability of local
communities?
21. Utilize full life-cycle ecological, economic and social
accounting?

See www.NaturalStep.org for further


information on the Natural Step
Framework
All space photos are courtesy of NASA
unless otherwise indicated

Produced by
J. Andy Smith III
www.earthethics.com
With assistance from
Ralph Copleman