Managing sustainability knowledge across social media.

fs social media workflow

After last weeks UCLAN Centre for Sustainable Development,  Social Media launch session I was asked how to ‘manage’ and ‘filter’ what you can learn and share across the world of social media sustainability.  It was not too easy to summarise in a few minutes on notepaper, so here is my ‘work flow’ and the five key applications used:


Inwards …

Twitter

Most of my inflow arrives via twitter or twitter based apps, eg tweetdeck or hootsuite. I have a number of established feeds or filters established which enables me to keep a real time watch on activity relating to the topics I am concerned with, or related to my clients interests.

Google Reader

Blogs and websites I follow are RSS subscriptions into Google Reader

Flipboard

Described as a social magazine, Flipboard is a brilliant feed application that enables me have a one stop ‘viewing’ place. In addition to having twitter searches feeding into Flipboard, I also have Google Reader, linkedin groups I follow, hub feeds such as the Guardian Sustainable Business and 2degreesnetwork. (Feeds also include cycling, outdoor, walking and weather interests.)

Managing …

Instapaper

Instapaper works across many platforms and is my main ‘receptacle’. It is used to collect and tag articles for later reading. Train journeys and waiting times are great Instapaper reading catch up time. From here I retweet, and / or move to Evernote for keeping or further reference.

Evernote

Rapidly became my everywhere note book. I am drafting this in Evernote! Articles or extracts in Instapaper wanted for reference are exported to Evernote and filed away with tags. These can be for future reference, inspirations for blog posts or, importantly topics on which I can hone, improve or enhance the services I provide for my clients across the built environment.

Outwards …

Tweets can be made either direct from Instapaper or buffered through Buffer which enables some interesting time lapse tweets, or repeated tweets to catch differing time zones. (Care is needed with buffer however to be sure to react to responses!)

My Blog

From Evernote and within Evernote I can easily then compose and curate articles and  for this and other (eg Green Vision) blogs

So there you have it. This has been an established work flow a quite a while now and one that  works for me. It would be interesting to know your work flow and what works for you.

Having a strategy or plan to deal with social media is critical to making effective use of your time online. Building on the support provided to organisations  to date on similar social media strategies, we can help you hone your social media plans, with one to one face to face sessions, or on online via (eg) skype.

In addition coffee shop based, sustainability related, social media clinics will kick off  very soon. Watch his space, subscribed to this blog, follow on twitter or drop me an email

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Have we picked the low hanging fruit of Sustainable Construction?

low hanging fruitThe mid 90’s saw my first involvement with sustainable construction, as Business Improvement Manager, setting up strategy and awareness programmes for Mowlem Construction, driven it should be noted to address client bid requirements in PFI and Prime Contracting.

At that time Brundtland’s definition from 1987 was fresh and it made good sense to include it in strategies and as a definition.

In hindsight, one of the problems of this approach is that it reinforced the thinking of that time, that environmental management, and by default sustainable construction belonged firmly and squarely within the Health and Safety departments.  A misconception that many organisations still subscribe to, or struggle to move away from.

But, since then, sustainability thinking has moved on from environmental management as H&S add on, to a wider view of sustainability that includes social and business responsibility, ethical procurement and localism and is now heading for a challenging future greener and deeper agenda

It is encouraging to note the move away from what I have referred to as ‘accommodationalist‘ thinking – ie doing only what we are required to do by law, no more no less. In fact this  thinking is now being challenged by the Governments red tape initiative, proposing to remove certain sustainability related legislation

Over the last 7 years I have been supporting organisations map out and chart progress on their ‘Route to Zero‘, identifying actions necessary today, tomorrow and most likely into the future. We may be in the position of being able to say we have picked off the low hanging fruit from the sustainability tree.

Most construction companies now have a sustainability policy and project approaches that are ISO 14001 accredited, to deal with better management of waste,  recording transport construction miles, employing locally and so on.

But now the real work begins, reaching higher into the greener, more dense canopies of the tree, with a new, emerging set of challenging actions that will take us closer to our zero impact ambitions.

Amongst these new challenges we can see:

  • Collaborative and circular economy thinking. For example what if every building improved with age, improved in its function, its resilience, its performance.  Became more ‘durable‘?  Contracts would not only need to cover the design and construction of buildings, but a new form of collaboration between provider and user that included continuous improvement criteria.  Such Circular Economy thinking would force new collaborations across the supply chain, across discipline and with clients.
  • Convergence of data, information rich ICT environments, an Internet of Things linked to metering sensors that will provide real time feedback on performance of the buildings and of the construction process, driving improved and sustainable resource utilisation. Getting us closer to zero waste and  zero carbon emissions.
  • Responsible specification and procurement, that is not only local but considers ethical and most importantly the health impact of building product ingredients. (see the Healthy Product Declaration Standard)
  • Challenging standards, that bring new deep green philosophies and certifications for buildings and facilities, as we see with the Living Building Challenge
  • The inclusion of costing nature within construction projects. ‘Cheap’ buildings may only be cheap because the real social, environmental costs have been externalised for someone else, often society and the public purse to deal with. Time to bring those externalised costs back into the project costs?
  • A mindful built environment sector, or one that has mindfulness, ie ‘in the moment’ awareness of the impact the design, the construction, the maintenance, use and deconstruction of the building will have upon the environment and nature. Mindfulness is a huge and complex topic but an important sustainability concept we will hear far much more of in 2013.

The first Green Vision tweetchat for 2013 will explore some of these issues on the 28th January at 8pm using the hashtag #GVisChat, asking the question are we getting closer to ‘Zero’?

If you would like to know more on how the Fairsnape Route to Zero mapping and charting programme can help your business, please do make contact

Update – Presentation on this theme 

Are we so oblivious to the ways of nature?

“After 10 generations of industrial society, and with most people in the west removed from a world of soil and sweat, we are so oblivious to the ways of nature that we cannot bring ourselves properly to absorb its vital importance”

Mark Cocker author of Crow Country reviewing the excellent What Has Nature Ever Done For Us? by Tony Juniper “How environmentalists now put money at the centre of their argument”  (For example, read the book/review to understand why the total bill for India’s programme of removing its flock of vulture scavengers has been calculated at $34 billion)

Mark Cocker, based in Norfolk and written extensively on modern responses to nature.  Crow Country is a fascinating look at the life of crows, on the state of country life in Britain, and on the relationship between ourselves and nature.

Related: Re-Connecting – the 3R’s for rethinking built environment sustainability

So, what have we done for nature?

Having listened to Tony Jupiter’s “What has nature done for us” podcast talk at the RSA over the weekend, my son Tom brought this simply brilliant animation to my attention – “what have we done to nature” …

MAN from Steve Cutts on Vimeo.

Related:

The world may not be ending today, but does the construction industry continue to waste as though there is no tomorrow?

3 R’s for rethinking built environment sustainability

Sustainability: Closing the Circle: Barry Commoner