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Re: Industrialism to Ecology of Commerce

Dan's comment is all too true

<<we've built an entire culture on an infrastructure that is itself 
toxic and requires a constant input and output of toxicity ...>>

how to work out of this box is a tall order

one of the more useful helper applications to permaculture design is a 
strategy contained in the natural step system conditions 
posted in brief herein

the natural step provides a framework for assessing options particularly 
related to industrial ecology (and as discussed in paul hawken's seminal 
_ecology of commerce_)

joanne tippett of holocene design co. has created some really good training 
materials that tie together these essential approaches to sustainability inan 
artful way <www.holocene.net>

btw there is a big get together on this subject this week in portland
i will be schlepping up from ventura and was wondering if any one on this 
list has some perma designs to show and tell up there, please post me 
directly or generally

eric werbalowsky

The Natural Step's Four System Conditions 

1. Substances from the earth's crust must not systematically increase in 

In a sustainable society, human activities such as the burning of fossil 
fuels, and the mining of metals and minerals will not occur at a rate that 
causes them to systematically increase in the ecosphere. There are 
threshholds beyond which living organisms and ecosystems are adversely 
affected by increasobal warming, contamination of surface and ground water, 
and metal toxicity which can cause functional disturbances in animals. In 
practical terms, the first condition requires society to implement 
comprehensive metal and mineral recycling programs, and decrease economic 
dependence on fossil fuels. 

2.  Substances produced by society must not systematically increase in 

In a sustainable society, humans will avoid generating systematic increases 
in persistent substances such as DDT, PCBs, and freon. Synthetic organic 
compounds such as DDT and PCBs can remain in the environment for many years, 
bioaccumulating in the tissue of organisms, causing profound deleterious 
effects on predators in the upper levels of the food chain. Freon, and other 
ozone depleting compounds, may increase risk of cancer due to added UV 
radiation in the troposphere. Society needs to find ways to reduce economic 
dependence on persistent human-made substances. 

3. The physical basis for the productivity and diversity of nature must not 
systematically be diminished. 

In a sustainable society, humans will avoid taking more from the biosphere 
than can be replenished by natural systems. In addition, people will avoid 
systematically encroaching upon nature by destroying the habitat of other 
species. Biodiversity, which includes the great variety of animals and plants 
found in nature, provides the foundation for ecosystem services which are 
necessary to sustain life on this planet. Society's health and prosperity 
depends on the enduring capacity of nature to renew itself and rebuild waste 
into resources. 

4. We must be fair and efficient in meeting basic human needs. 

Meeting the fourth system condition is a way to avoid violating the first 
three system conditions for sustainability. Considering the human enterprise 
as a whole, we need to be efficient with regard to resource use and waste 
generation in order to be sustainable. If one billion people lack adequate 
nutrition while another billion have more than they need, there is a lack of 
fairness with regard to meeting basic human needs. Achieving greater fairness 
is essential for social stability and the cooperation needed for making 
large-scale changes within the framework laid out by the first three 

To achieve this fourth condition, humanity must strive to improve technical 
and organizational efficiency around the world, and to live using fewer 
resources, especially in affluent areas. System condition number four implies 
an improved means of addressing human population growth. If the total 
resource throughput of the global human population continues to increase, it 
will be increasingly difficult to meet basic human needs as human-driven 
processes intended to fulfill human needs and wants are systematically 
degrading the collective capacity of the Earth's ecosystems to meet these