What does it mean to be a green organisation or ecosystem ?
The climate and energy crisis and the threats to the availability of resources and biodiversity requires a transition of our societies towards a sustainable development model for all living beings, allowing the transmission of a planet more fertile and richer ways of life for future generations.
The founder of the Transition Network, Rob Hopkins, talks about the first city designed to fit the “peak oil”: Totnes in England. His book The Handbook of Transition shows us how to organize a community life, to adapt, to build resilience against the next oil crisis: « the peak oil ».
Learning goals: What is ecological transition? What is sustainable development ?
“Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” – Brundtland 1987
There are primarily two schools that can be distinguished in the way they see a sustainable future. They can simply be indicated as growth-oriented and degrowth-oriented. Between the two there is a grey area of combined orientations.
The growth-oriented point of view
This point of view assumes that technological innovation will and is providing the solutions to the situation, so that people may keep or even increase their comfort.
Jeremy Rifkin, author of ‘The Third Industrial Revolution’ is particularly confident about this, saying that open-access online-tools, distributed individual means of production and techniques of renewable energy, will eventually converge to a democratically distributed energy, like information on the internet.
His Third Industrial Revolution will be oriented towards :
- shifting to renewable energy;
- transforming the building stock into micro–power plants;
- deploying storage technologies to store energies;
- using Internet technology to transform the power grid into an energy internet;
- transitioning the transport fleet to electric vehicles on a smart power grid. The well communicated concept of Smart-cities is an important component of this approach – where the Internet of Things will deliver the necessary means to monitor and optimize consumption. Many governmental programmes are based on this strategy of ‘distributed capitalism’. The Circular economy, or Cradle to Cradle as it was called in 1992, is another important element of the growth-oriented approach. It believes that, as in nature, waste should not be considered as such, but rather to be used in a next cycle. These approaches can be seen as ‘engineering’ approaches as they try to master the technicalities of the situation. In an far reaching biologically supported approach, biodiversity is a key element of sustainability. Ecologists speak of ‘ecosystem services’ as they describe the required stable interrelation between natural systems and human culture. But there are also opinions on this positive point of view, that say that its beneficial effects might be restricted to only few participants in society.
In contrast to this is the ‘degrowth’-oriented approach
In this approach is believed that the planet will under no circumstances be able to sustain prosperity as it is known today in the western world, and as it is pursued by the emerging economies. Achieving a quality life is now uncoupled from material consumption, and brought back to the definitions of Abraham Maslow’s ‘Hierarchy of Needs’, where physiological, safety, love, esteem and self-actualization needs can be met without material consumption.
When we read Tim Jackson’s ‘Prosperity without Growth’, we see how the debate changes focus, away form environmental performance, and towards life qualities “in the strength of our relationships and our trust in the community… by our satisfaction at work and our sense of shared meaning and purpose”. Others are more radical, such as the ‘Amis de la Terre’, who proclaim that ecosystems nearing the end of their existence, that capitalism is an obsolete model, that there can’t infinite growth in an finite world. They propose frugality and equality through degrowth.
Philippe Bihouix recently published his book ‘The Age of Low Tech‘, where he proposes numerous low-tech solutions to attain ecological sustainability, such as putting on a sweater, accepting the seasons climate, and paying deposits on packaging, to bring down consumption to 25% od the current level.
- Why does your theme exist ? The fact to be in collective and shared place, is ecological – third places are naturally growing up because of needs of the workers in the society /
Tiers-lieux et transition écologique
Organizations will be able to adapt themselves only if they reduce the carbon intensity of their development, to anticipate changes that will accompany the decline of fossil fuels and reduce their overall environmental footprint.
The third-places intending to embody a contemporary response to changes in the work and the development of entrepreneurs and workers are especially concerned by this issue.
Their legitimacy will be based on the compatibility of the new working conditions they offer with the challenging transition to a more sustainable economic model that gives a concrete reality to responsible economic concepts, inventive, low-carbon, circular, functionality based, « short circuit » …
The Third places can not be satisfied with incantations on this issue and should, for their own credibility and sustainability therefore ultimately implement the conditions so that this ecological transition takes place.
Their involvement can not be limited to the availability of a set of buildings with high environmental performance. Beyond that, the third-places should stimulate collective and creative approach with and between the occupants and parts-stakeholders to achieve responsible and exemplary uses of the property, meeting this ambition of ecological transition and social welfare .
- Benefits of your theme (locally, nationally to others) – It is easier to expand and to develop new ideas, pilot projects which can be disseminate at local as well as a national level
CARD #2 :
What are the benefits of ecological transition for the users of a Third place ?
To be effective and bear fruit, the individual contribution to the environmental transition by the occupants of a third-places must always allow them a “return on investment ». Otherwise, the process could not be sustainable.
Many companies and organizations are beginning to view their work as a key element of their overall performance in the economic, social and ecological fields.
In the light of similar experiences at national or international level, the return on investment is usually measured by several criteria:
- Image benefit
Companies are increasingly subject to the supervision of their different stakeholders who urge to take their social and environmental responsibility and contribute to societal issues. CSR practices (corporate social responsibility) consider themselves primarily in terms of daily management of the business and its direct impact on the community. “Begin to put its own house” allows the use of its premises as a place of practical demonstration of commitment and a guarantee of credibility that provides immediate benefit of image and minimizes the risk of reputation and even legal disputes (it is especially the employer’s duty to ensure a safe environment and safe at work and regulation hardens today on aspects of the quality of indoor air).
- Confort of the workers, satisfaction and productivity
The importance of attracting and retaining talented employees is a strategic issue for organizations. Or employees, mainly the younger generation, are increasingly attentive to both their working conditions as social responsibility of their employer. A stimulating work environment and responsible has an immediate impact on the attraction and retention of talent and provides immediate benefits on the turnover of management costs. Besides that, it is now established (although this is difficult to measure) that improving the well-being of employees, including the quality of local and neighborhood services offered on site, reduces absenteeism and improves the productivity.
- Financial savings
Rental expenses are weaker in a renovated building in term of energy performances. In addition, control energy consumption to be attentive, responsible behavior at work, pool equipment and resources are all levers that help minimize operating costs and improve profitability … especially in a context of inflation of the the cost of energy and environmental taxation ahead.
- Anticipation and competitive advantages
Measure and manage its dependence on natural resources and fossil fuels will soon become strategic for all companies. At least in the short term for reporting on its emissions of greenhouse gas and their evolution. This request may come from :
- customers who want to contribute to the preservation of the environment (and which may be a condition of purchase, especially if it is reflected in the price),
- investors (ethical funds, or more prosaically actors who combine a high risk charges linked to higher emissions …),
- public power (reduction negotiated agreements) of environmental protection associations, candidates for hiring, ..
- at medium to long term, the knowledge of the dependence of energy activity can anticipate the necessary mutation and initiate now the mutations that will be competitive tomorrow.
o What is the ecological community of Darwin ecosystem / gouvernance of the issue –
The United Nations, and many other world organisations, define the objectives of sustainability through these 7 aspects. It is considered that Ecology, Economy and Society must develop in equal importance [fig 1.]:
Evolution Ltd in Bordeaux defines the project-specific improvements for a
sustainable cluster, by the 6 fields above [fig 2.]:
The Association ‘Les Darwiniens’ in Bordeaux incorporates improvements for
a sustainable cluster, in the 3 priorities above. A majority transmits their convictions for ecological transition through the services they sell [fig 3.]:
Given the three scales of definition, these are the most representative concerns
for a success story of Ecological Transition in Darwin [fig 4.]:
SEE short video Darwin Ecosystem : Le projet Darwin – Bordeaux
o Keywords of ecological transition :
environment urban planning energy consumption reduction ‘sustainable development’ obsolete model energy production alternatives biodiversity de-growth optimization awareness circular economy energy efficiency development reducing consumption « zero waste » humanity citizens recycling energy commons motorized traffic reduction transport energetic performance
local food industry renewable energy reuse of the buildings natural resources change ecological footprint reduction public health low-tech solutions well-being
Related concepts – if relevant. Based on Global Research already done by each partner.
Green Business for Ecological Transitions, Entrepreneurship for Social Entrepreneurs, Governance for Participatory Governance, Coworking for Multidisciplinary Coworking, etc…
QUIZ 1 / check your knowledge
Indoor air is it more or less polluted than outdoor air?
Answer: indoor air is more polluted! There is less drafty, so the concentration remains high, and then a lot of building materials (furniture, carpets, …) and paints emit pollutants. Aerate and prefer materials (and paintings) less toxic. To do this, choose products with eco-labels
Is the decrease in the amount of CO2 emitted by the cars a good solution to fight against global warming?
Yes and no.
Answer: yes and no. Yes because it actually reduces the amount of pollutants, but not because it does not call into question our ways of travelling
One of the expected consequences of global warming is the rise in sea level and ocean. Is it correct ?
Yes, because the ice will melt continents and ocean waters will expand.
No, with temperatures which increase, there will be more evaporation, and thus less water.
Answer: Yes, because the ice will melt continents and ocean waters will expand
Tap water is it more or less expensive than bottled water?
Answer: a lot cheaper!
Between 1960 and 2000, annual production of household waste has …
Is the same
Answer: it has doubled !
What is a renewable energy?
an energy that is recovering and will not deplete
an energy that is new for men
energy produced in factories
Answer: an energy that is recovering and will not run out. The main renewable energies are: solar, water, wind and wood
What is the part of global emissions of greenhouse gases in industrialized countries?
Answer: 50%. However, the gas emission rates of greenhouse gases in developing countries may exceed 10 years from the industrialized countries if no assistance is provided to them.
To stabilize global warming, how much should the industrialized countries divide their greenhouse gas emissions by 2050?
Answer : by 4
In your opinion, what is the equivalent of the electricity consumption of appliances remaining in standby at home (per year)?
A light day from Orly Airport
A day-lighting of Paris
One day public lighting throughout France
Answer: A day-lighting throughout France. So beware of those little red lights of your VCR, HI-FI chains and computers! Even in sleep, your devices are still live and eat almost as much electricity as if they were running.
What is the average amount of carbon dioxide emitted by each passenger on a return flight Paris-New York?
1.2 tonnes of CO2 equivalent
6.6 tonnes CO2 equivalent
Answer: 1.2 tons of carbon dioxide, a quarter of the average emissions of a French in a year