Summary: This topical lunch aims to initiate an exchange of insights around the design of a
sustainable community from the "ground up." Specifically we want to elicit interest and
identify participation from a broad interdisciplinary group who see the concept of
sustainable communities as a significant way to address life style changes with major
implications for production, consumption and resources.
"Building" a Sustainable Community
ISSUE: A recent report by the UNEP1
seeks to provide independent, coherent and
authoritative scientific assessments of policy relevance on the sustainable use of natural
resources and the environmental impacts over a life cycle. In particular the report looks
at the economy from the perspectives of: 1) production (what sectors have the highest
impact?), 2) consumption (what products and consumption have the highest life cycle
impacts?) and 3) resources (what materials have the highest impacts?).Two primary
conclusions emerge; that processes using energy and fossil fuels and agriculture
and food consumption cause the highest impacts.
OUTLOOK: The UNEP Report states, "Population and economic growth will hence lead
to higher impacts, unless patterns of production and consumption can be changed.
Impact reduction strategies may include the shift to clean and efficient technologies
(production perspective), shifts to less material-based, more sustainable life styles as
well as the use of low impact products (consumption perspective) and the use of low