Paolo Soleri rejected the mainstream Sustainable Development approach and model. He said that sustainability had become tainted by the reality that the people who used it seemed to be able to always make it something that was harmless to the prevailing notions of mainstream growth and prosperity.
The Lean Alternative
Soleri proposed at the core of his Arcology sustainable development model, the term Lean or Leanness. He added to this core of lean, the notion of Lean Society. To create the Lean Society we needed to propose a Lean Alternative. To test this alternative we needed to outline the Lean Hypothesis. Holistic Sustainability is another attempt to address the lack of a comprehensive approach to reversing course in the mainstream society. This includes developing a holistic and synergistic approach as was suggested by Bucky Fuller who coined the term. Lean does not have to mean austere or scarcity – rather it means the smart and clever use of resources that all of humanity prospers without destroying or degrading the environment that we depend on for life.
Synergy as a Key Building Block for Lean Alternative Take Off
Synergy is based on the way natural systems normally operate in ways that have a tendency to build up the value of natural capital within those systems by synergizing so that the whole becomes much greater than the sum of its parts. Yet modern system continue to primarily get value from reductionistic thinking in which the parts of broken up and consider in isolation to each other. Sustainability as something that must be holistic in order to truly be sustainable. Yet it requires that we must change the very nature of how we think, look at problems and configure solution sets.
More mapping and scenario developing is needed to be explain an alternative understanding of how a sustainable/lean future might look like but first we have to develop a set of scenarios that lead to take off.
It develops in stages and steps as described here:
- Step 1 Developing an Ecological Awareness – Deep Ecology is the way in which we explore deeply the unsustainable roots of the mainstream society – an economy geared towards exploiting the planetary resources of the planet. This includes research that raises questions to many mainstream assumptions that rely on the delinking of economics from the ecological “limits to growth. A book Limits to Growth was published in the 70s by the Club of Rome.
- Step 2 Creation of an Ecological Practice of EcoLiving – This could be seen as a form of socially conscious consumerism, deeply rooted in the notion of frugality and Voluntary Simplicity. Its the way in which we begin to put those understandings and our evolving conscious grasp of them into some kind of practical lifestyle and behavioral change.
- Step 3 Creating A Solution Set of Appropriate Technologies needed for Change – EcoLiving Solutions can be as the potential solution sets for developing at the habitat and community level the kinds of infrastructure systems and solutions for enabling and empower more ecologically and socially conscious lifestyles.
- Step 4 Envisioning the Holon Effect as a Prototype – An EcoLiving Center develops, tests and prototypes these solution sets. The Holon Effect is the realization that life at least in its higher forms organizes itself in Holons. A Holon really is a building block for sustaining higher life function. A sustainable society must necessarily be made up of these holons in order to mimic natural systems processes within the human habitat/society matrix.
- Critical Mass Prototyping (Scaling the Models) – This means working together at the global as well as local scale to support prototype development while envisioning larger scale out and replication scenarios that be presented to the public as alternatives to ecologically toxic business as usual approaches
- Critical Mass Replication – Is when we are ready for Critical Mass to begin to seed these ideas into the mainstream society by creating little seedlets
- Scale Out – is to envision scenarios for mass scale development of the resulting best practices that lead to reductions in consumption of resources from the most efficient use of technology to deliver human needs by using appropriate technology and putting it into practice synergistically.