Sustainable Development Network


Sustainable Development Network

Thanks Andrea Gewessler for holding the network, we are now seeking a new coordinator.

Members: 56
Latest Activity: Jun 5

Our network is for people interested in using organisational development, change and learning to build a sustainable society. Please join in!

Photo of grape harvest by Isolino, from flikr.


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Robin Wall Kimmerer and other interesting reads

Started by Julie Allan Jun 5.

View David Attenborough on the Extinction Crisis

Started by Bob MacKenzie Oct 13, 2020.

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Comment by Penny Walker on January 26, 2010 at 9:16
Some notes from our 26th January Cafe Conversation on Copenhagen here.
Comment by Caroline Coyle on January 11, 2010 at 5:37
I've come across this before but always good to run through it again, tho' Prof Bartlett's pace of explanation reminds me of some of my past lecturers!
Comment by David F McAra on January 10, 2010 at 15:03
Anyone listen to More or Less on BBC Radio 4? Seems to me they are doing important work highlighting our general ingnorance about numbers although the tone tends to be rather flippant. No point being angry, I suppose.

Anyway, there's a very interesting piece 9 minutes in with Dr Albert Bartlett on exponential growth. The More or Less podcast will be available until Friday (15 Jan 10) and a lecture by Professor Bartlett on YouTube.
Comment by Penny Walker on December 3, 2009 at 11:08
There's some activity around Dec 3rd's meeting - see here.
Comment by Penny Walker on September 28, 2009 at 2:17
Please note the biomimicry event on 30th September has been postponed - watch this space for the new date.
Comment by Penny Walker on September 7, 2009 at 2:55
A couple of things from the SDN Update which I've just sent around to those on the list who haven't yet joined this group...

UNICEF's Children Climate Forum, Copenhagen - facilitators wanted

Received via contacts at the International Association of Facilitators, this is a great opportunity which I wanted to share with SDN members and friends:

We are currently seeking climate change facilitators to lead the facilitation team at and before UNICEF’s Children Climate Forum – Copenhagen 2009. If you can recommend individuals with climate change facilitation experience or if you are interested in facilitating our team, please let me know.

Kerry Constabile
Specialist, Environment and Young People
Adolescent Development and Participation (ADAP)
Division of Policy and Practice
UNICEF Headquarters
3 United Nations Plaza
New York 10017, U.S.A.

For more on this, see the original blog entry here.

The Psychology of Climate Change - new report from the American Association of Psychologists, featured in New Scientist.

I'm grateful to Roy Tindle who sent this around to various lists a couple of weeks ago. Roy introduces the New Scientist's editorial...

The first editorial in this week's New Scientist, headed "Positive thinking for a cooler world" should be read by all who seek behaviour change relating to climate change:

"THE threat posed by climate change is all too real, but some of the solutions are all in the mind. That's the message from work in the field known as conservation psychology, which is beginning to show how people can be encouraged to change their lifestyles to cut greenhouse gas emissions (see "How psychology can curb climate change").

As well as showing what does work, this research also tells us what does not. And in that regard, groups trying to promote action to fight global warming could pay closer attention to what the psychologists are saying. Environmental groups have already learned some obvious lessons: no one likes to be hectored, and preachiness is not a winning tactic. Positive campaigns like "We can solve the climate crisis", run by Al Gore's Alliance for Climate Protection, are a better idea. Meanwhile, other research suggests that human nature need not be as rapacious and short-sighted as it sometimes appears: we are surprisingly ready to act in the interests of others and the natural world (see "Triumph of the commons").

But other tricks are still being missed. The website of the "We can solve the climate crisis" campaign features a video by of the hip-hop group Black Eyed Peas. As a backdrop to his song Take Our Planet Back, it shows images of environmental degradation coupled with statements like "Every American generates 2000 pounds of trash each year".

Approaches like this can be counterproductive, reinforcing the idea that heavy consumption is the societal norm and promoting a sense of helplessness in the face of an apparently insurmountable problem. Like it or not, most of us go with the herd. Show people this video and they will find little motivation not to carry on generating trash and burning oil like there's no tomorrow. But tell them about the steps their peers are taking to make things better, and they may just follow suit.

Tell people about the steps their peers are taking to make things better, and they may follow suit

Over at the Earth Day Network site, it gets worse. There you can find out how many planets it would take to support your lifestyle if everyone on Earth lived the same way. It's hard to find any positive messages: a vegan who doesn't own a car, never flies, takes public transport to work and shares a tiny apartment in a US city would still be told that their lifestyle requires 3.3 Earths. It is hard to see what this is going to achieve, other than disillusioning people who are already doing their bit and telling everyone else that it isn't worth the bother.

Psychology, often denigrated as a "soft science", has a vital role to play as humankind grapples with a truly vexing problem. Better to employ its findings now than to turn to psychologists only when we need help in dealing with the distress of occupying a world that has passed some dangerous climate tipping points."

See the full article here and the APA's report here (pdf link).
Comment by Penny Walker on September 2, 2009 at 14:04
See also the discussion thread 'sustainability' in the forum...
Comment by Penny Walker on June 24, 2009 at 8:24
Pasted here from the latest e-mail update to the SDN circulation list. (As this site develops, I hope that people on the circulation list will join the group here and eventually a separate e-mail won't be needed.)

This message contains:

* notice of Eco Leadership for Women, co-led by Elizabeth Rivers (long-term friend of SDN).
* advance notice of a fascinating conference exploring the relationship between our psychological health and our relationship with nature, Landscapes of the Mind.
* news about the new MSc in Sustainability and Responsibility Business at Ashridge Business School (formerly the MSc in Responsibility and Business Practice at Bath University).
* Survival Academy - a contribution to the Copenhagen Climate Conference.

Eco-Leadership for Women

You may have come along to or read about the SDN session on Wild Law two years ago, led by Elizabeth Rivers. As well as being a 'wild lawyer', mediator and facilitator, Liz also coaches people on presentation and influencing skills. It's in that capacity that she's co-organised this one-day programme on Eco-Leadership for Women.

It's on the 4th of July, in London, and will focus on courageous conversations, powerful face-to-face communication, and personal resilience.

Landscapes of the Mind

I know that many of us in SDN are curious to explore the deep relationship between mind and nature. This weekend conference in September, at the Eden Project in Cornwall, includes sessions led by Joanna Macy, Mary-Jane Rust, Satish Kumar and long-standing SDN friend Paul Maitney.

Starting on the evening of Friday 25th, and running through to Sunday 27th September, there will be plenty of opportunities for learning, reflection and informal networking.

MSc in Sustainability and Responsibility

This new MSc is being offered at Ashridge Business School by the team who led the highly-regarded MSc in Responsibility and Business Practice at the University of Bath Centre for Action Research in Professional Practice. They have moved the programme to Ashridge, refreshed it and given it a new name, and are recruiting for next year's cohort. See here for more details: .

Survival Academy - the Human Dimension of Climate Change

This is an interesting new initiative, exploring how people can come to terms with and respond effectively to climate change. Those of us interested in learning, change and psychological responses may want to check it out.

From the site: "The future we are moving towards will not be a simple extension of the past. The world is changing faster than we understand and with greater impact than we could have wished for. In such times we – as individuals, communities and organizations - often search for clarity and understanding of where in the big picture we fit in.

The Survival Academy is a place where, during the COP15 Climate Summit, participants and the general public can come to learn human capacities of influencing and adapting to the future of climate change."

Copenhagen, Dec. 7-18, 2009.

Please post your own notices of interesting events, initiatives, articles etc.

Comment by David F McAra on June 4, 2009 at 1:47
Some of the comment is interesting too from rather adversarial positions. How can we help polarised positions to work on the challenge together.

From a single position it is easy to take the moral high ground for an issue. E.g. Joanna Lumley and the Gurkhas. When you have to acknowledge the whole, complex picture nothing is so straightforward.

Susan Harrington writes about the need for moral courage in HR in the Positive Psychology edition of O&P.
Comment by Penny Walker on June 2, 2009 at 3:36
Anyone else see this about Tim Nicholson, who is taking his former employers to an industrial tribunal, because (to summarise greatly) they got in the way of him doing what he considered to be his professional job as Head of Sustainability?


What implications for us as professionals in OD and professional development, who may be working with individuals in organisations who are feeling tension between what they believe to be right, and what their organisation is willing to do?

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