A tipping point for sustainability

Could this be one of the key important concept diagrams for sustainability and environmental impact?

Snapseed‘Restorative sustainability’ in one simple graphic.

This brilliant  slide came to my attention via a @melanieloftus tweeted picture  taken during Jason McLennan’s presentation, Mind the Gap at the Living Futures conference, positioning Living Building Challenge beyond LEED. 

Reflecting on this simple model, we can visualise the impact of our current built environment sustainability approaches – are they just doing less bad, or really doing more good and making a restorative, positive contribution?

And importantly we can visualise that tipping point for sustainability, from less bad to more good.

The urgency for reconsidering ‘sustainability’ was emphasised in the recent report State of the World 2013: Is Sustainability Still Possible? The term sustainable has become essentially sustainababble, at best indicating a practice or product slightly less damaging than the conventional alternative.

Is it time to abandon the sustainability concept altogether, or can we find an accurate way to measure sustainability?

The Living Building Challenge, as a philosophy, an advocacy and assessment scheme has real significance. It enables us to cross the sustainability rubicon, setting a vision for a future built environment and encouraging owners, designers, constructors, operators and users to track towards it. As commented on the opening of the Bullitt Centre in Seattle a LBC accreditation hopeful, such approaches are driving a wedge into the future so others can see whats possible.

I feel honoured to be a Living Building UK Ambassador, spreading the message of the Challenge as fresh sustainability thinking into the UK built environment agenda.

For more information and planned events for the Challenge in the UK , check out our presentation to Green Build Expo, visit the Living Building website,  follow us on @UK_LBC on twitter or say hi via email. (We even have a facebook page to like!)

Related Post: Have we picked the low hanging fruit of Sustainable Construction?

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