Whistler Sustainability Initiative launched Saturday 

Ray Anderson
  • Ray Anderson

After a year of work behind the scenes, the early adopters of The Natural Step framework for sustainability are ready to roll the program ? Whistler. It?s Our Nature ? out to the community.

On Saturday, Dec. 1, the early adopters ? the Resort Municipality of Whistler, Whistler-Blackcomb, the Fairmont Chateau Whistler, Tourism Whistler, AWARE and Whistler FotoSource ? are hosting an open house at the Whistler Conference Centre, featuring displays, toolkits for residents and businesses, an introductory video, and a presentation by Ray Anderson, a Fortune 1000 executive and visionary who has influenced other prominent industrial leaders to work towards sustainability.

"Things are coming together for us," says Whistler sustainability co-ordinator Dave Waldron. "Ray Anderson is a dynamic speaker, and we?re ready for the official community launch. Everything is ready, and we are very excited about it."

The early adopters officially adopted The Natural Step framework last December, after a visit by Natural Step founder Dr. Karl-Heinrik Robert. Instead of looking at every environmental issue as a separate case ? and subsequently having each issue debated by scientists using incomplete research, to the point where the issue itself becomes clouded ? Robert worked backwards to build a consensus in the scientific community: what facts can we all agree on?

Because nothing concrete could be decided on any environmental issues, nothing was being done to help the situation. He compare the debate to a family of monkeys living in a tree, arguing over the branches while the trunk died underneath them.

As a result, the human race is consuming the planet?s resources at a faster rate than nature can replace them, while polluting the planet and resources at a faster rate than the planet can break down and reabsorb them. The walls of the funnel, represented on the top side by the diminishing supply and on the bottom side by the growing demand, are closing. Sustainability would stabilize supply and demand before the converging walls meet.

The answers Robert received from scientists allowed him to create four basic and incontrovertible system conditions for a sustainable planet.

In a sustainable world, nature is not subject to systematically increasing:

1. Concentrations of substances from the Earth?s crust (such as the burning of fossil fuels and buildup in nature of scarce metals like Mercury).

2. Concentrations of substances produced by society (such as persistent organic pollutants, chemicals, compounds, and other materials that do not break down in an acceptable period of time).

3. Degradation of the physical means to sustain ourselves (such as the loss of farmland to urban sprawl, nutrient loss through industrial scale farming, forestry and fishing, and the pollution and overuse of our water supply).

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