The Realm of Possibility by shuifanglj


									Thinking Like A System

           Kevin Palmer
  The Center for Sustainable Solutions
         The University
         4 January 2007

What is the greatest challenge
      facing humankind?

   How would you solve it?
•   The issue
•   The argument
•   It’s the system
•   Thinking in systems
•   Amazing examples
•   Not just theory
•   Can we do it?
               The Issue

We’re at zero balance on earths – we’ve only got
one, no spares.
This has Consequences for the
 • Economy
 • Community, and
 • Environment

  Economists’ view

      Well being

 Human Survival
 Goods & Services
 Raw Materials
Natural Resources
    The Argument

No matter what happens now,
future technology and invention
          will save us
       The Answer
 Innovation and technology have
  always been our edge to solving
          hard problems…
But it takes understanding of the
     system and investment to
    develop a sustainable future
         The Trick
Is knowing:
• Which challenges can be
  overcome with technology
• When will we know when a
  technology is ready
• How will we change systems to
  accommodate new technology
    The Other Trick
Is understanding that new technologies don’t
   just happen. It takes:
• Changes in mindset and problem-solving
• A willingness to use future investments to
   obtain superior technologies
• Coordination with the markets we create
   and dominate
• Balance to enhance economy, quality of life
   and environment
It begins with the vision to
   understand that things can and
   should get better for the next
We have always had visionaries who
   could see the future and set the
   world toward change
     It’s the System

• Sustainable System Conditions
• Technologies
• Approaches
  Choosing a Framework

• Derived from fundamental scientific
• Simplifies the complexity of
  systemic (environmental) issues
• Provides a framework for planning
  and action
• Uses a “systems” perspective
   The Rules of This System

Closed with respect
to matter

Open with respect
to energy
Basic Science – All Scientists Agree
   • Matter and energy do not disappear
   • Matter and energy tend to break
     down or disperse
   • We consume the order, structure,
     and quality of matter
   • Photosynthesis is the major process
     by which order is produced
      The Way Nature Works

In cyclical natural systems, waste does not exist.

Waste = Food.
                         Step 6 - metal ingot    Step 11 - can is
Step 1 - bauxite is
                         cured and shipped to    lacquered and
mined in Australia
                         Germany to be rolled    coated inside

Step 2 - bauxite is      Step 7 - ingot is       Step 12 - cans are
trucked to plant for     heated to 900F and     palletized, stored,
chemical processing      rolled into coil        and shipped
1 ton ore yields up to
1/2 of Aluminum Oxide
                         Step 8 - coil is        Step 14 - bottler
                         stored and cold         cleans and fills with
Step 3 - shipped to      rolled into sheet       product
Norway for
                         Step 9 - sheet metal    Step 15 - cans are
                         is shipped to England   packed in
Step 4 - oxide sits at   punched and formed      promotional boxes
smelter site for up to   into cans               palletized and
2 months                                         shipped to retailer

                         Step 10 - can is
Step 5 - 2-hour          washed, dried,
smelting reduces 1/2     primed and painted      Step 16 - Can is purchased, contents
of oxide into 1/4 ton                            consumed within a few minutes and
of metal                                                    is thrown away
                          Material Flows
 In cyclical natural systems, waste does not exist. Waste = Food.

Linear Industrial Processes: Waste is created faster than it can be
reconstituted to quality resources. Take-make-waste
                                                6% Product 80% of products
 Raw                   Manufacturing                             discarded after
 Materials             Process                  94% Waste        single use
(Source: NAE / Factor 4 p. xx, 1997)

It is estimated that 99% of the original materials used in the
production of, or contained in, the goods made in the US become waste
within 6 weeks of sale.
(Attributed to Paul Hawken, Factor 4, 1997)
System Condition 1

              In a sustainable society,
              nature is not subject to
              systematically increasing:

              … concentrations of
              substances extracted from
              the Earth’s crust.

              What does this mean?
              Who’s got an example?
System Condition 1
             In a sustainable society, nature is
             not subject to systematically
             increasing concentrations of
             substances extracted from the
             Earth’s crust.

             This means substituting certain
             minerals that are scarce in
             nature with others that are more
             abundant, using all mined
             materials efficiently by reusing
             them in closed loops, and
             systematically reducing
             dependence on fossil fuels.
  Telling Indicators
• In 2000, globally, mines extracted
  900M tons of metal and produced
  6B tons of waste ore.
• Projected US clean-up costs for
  mines is up to $24B
• Worldwide, mining provides 1% of
  the jobs worldwide and is
  responsible for 5% of the work-
  related deaths (14,000/year)
System Condition 2
             In a sustainable society, nature
             is not subject to systematically
             …concentrations of substances
             produced by society.

             What does this mean?
             Who’s got an example?
System Condition 2
             In a sustainable society, nature
             is not subject to systematically
             Increasing concentrations of
             substances produced by society.

             This means systematically
             reducing dependence on synthetic
             compounds known, or suspected to
             be, harmful to living systems.
          Telling Indicators

The cost for clean-up of synthetic organic
chemicals from all sources in the US released to
the environment – about $87B from 1981 – 2010 –
This does not include mining or nuclear waste or
any future materials to be regulated
                                Source: EPA
System Condition 3

In a sustainable society,
nature is not subject to

… degradation by physical

What does this mean?
Who’s got an example?
 System Condition 3
In a sustainable society, nature
is not subject to increasing
degradation by physical means.

This means that the productive
mechanisms of nature are not
diminished in quality or
quantity, and we must not
harvest nature beyond its
capacity to regenerate.
Telling Indicator - Frontier Forests
          8,000 Years Ago

Source: World Resources 2000-2001
Telling Indicator - Frontier Forests

Source: World Resources 2000-2001
Why are Forests Important?

    • Biodiversity – Habitat for >65% of all species
      on Earth

    • Carbon – >80% of Earth’s carbon

    • Ecosystem goods & services value - >$5
      trillion/year in US

    • Cultural value – Supports >60 million people

    • Economic value – US wood products >$400
      billion to global economy or approximately 2%
      of global GDP.
System Condition 4

In a sustainable society:

Basic needs are met

What does this mean?
Who’s got an example?
System Condition 4
 In a sustainable society,
 basic needs are met

 This means using
 resources efficiently,
 fairly and responsibly, so
 that the needs of people
 on whom we have an
 impact (near and
 remote), and the future
 needs of people not yet
 born, stand the best
 chance of being met.
                    Telling Indicators
Afghanistan facts:
• 23.8 million  44 million by 2025
   –   3.88% population growth rate, 3rd in the world
   –   Life expectancy - 43.1 years
   –   Median age – 18 years
   –   Infant mortality rate -147/1000 or 14.7% vs. <0.7% in US
• 13% access to safe drinking water
   – 39L/day/person (minimum std is 50 Ldp)
• 12% access to sanitation - 21% in 1970
• Less than 3% forest lands
• Percent arable lands – 12% including forests
   – Food production dropped by 40% 1995 to 2000

   Source: Military Science of Environmental Security Brief by COL Chris King, PhD, USMA
     Thinking Like a System –
   Bio-mass Energy Production


                       Direct Use
Biomass   Processing                Heat to Facilities


                                    Additional Uses
Bio-mass Energy to
  Future Energy
                                                                           Regional Grid?
                                         Adaptability?                      Distributed?
                                      Other H2 Sources?                      Mini-Grid?
                                   Other Electricity Sources?
                                      Direct Solar, Wind?          Method?
                                                                   Fuel Cell?
                  Technology?                                   Micro-Turbines?
    Types?                                                       Combustion?
   Municipal?                           Transmission?
                  Composting?                                           Electricity
 Food Service?                           Distribution?                  Generation

                                         Direct Use
   Biomass         Processing                                        Heat to Facilities


                   Location?                                          Additional Uses
   Regional?                               Technology?
                               • What does the current distribution
Give it Context                  system look like?
                               • What is the current power generation
   How does this               • What new technology is needed?
opportunity apply to
  the evolution of
                               • What investments should we make now
   secure power                  help in meeting the future?
    generation?                • Is the opportunity a transition
                               • Where and how will we use it?

                                     Direct Use
Biomass           Processing                           Heat to Facilities


                                                        Additional Uses
                                • Could farmers become more
                                  profitable and help keep lands out
        What is the
                                  of development?
   Relationship to Local
   Agriculture, Regional        • Can we help stimulate wealth and
      Development,                create a better local relationships?
   Security, and Quality        • Are other side products or
          of Life?                materials developed or used that
                                  support other markets?
                                • Who can partner with farmers for
• Could a new, high energy        space for system?
  yield crop become more
  profitable?                                               Generation

                                     Direct Use
 Biomass           Processing                            Heat to Facilities


                                                          Additional Uses
      What is the             • How can local energy participate?
relationship between          • Can local manufacturers support
 this energy source
and the community?              development of the requisite new
                              • Can our installation tip local energy
                                markets or move toward renewables?
                              • Can this option result in new
                              • Can local industry benefit?

                                    Direct Use
Biomass          Processing                            Heat to Facilities


                                                        Additional Uses
  Who might want to           •   Universities and researchers
      partner?                •   System manufacturers/developers
                              •   Local utilities
                              •   Agriculture
                              •   Commerce department
                              •   Business development
                              •   Community and political leaders
                              •   Others


                                      Direct Use
Biomass          Processing                             Heat to Facilities


                                                        Additional Uses
Amazing Examples
Newest Hybrid Introductions
                    hybrid refuse

       Peterbilt Class
       7 hybrid utility

                 hybrid shuttle
       Class 6/7
       hybrid utility
       truck               ISE hybrid
                           shuttle bus
Candle Wax Rocket Fuel
• Paraffin-based fuel
• By-products are CO2, and water,
  not toxic materials
• Less money because it’s
  cheaper to produce, and
  less harmful to the
  environment and workers.
How would you design a sewage plant if
     you had to live downwind?

               Living Machines™ turn sewage
               into clean water and flowers.

       Dr. John Todd
       Innovative Energy Systems
            Ascending-Descending Strategy
                                                                                        Natural Environment

                           hydrogen via electrolysis
   Solar                                                    Solar
  Thermal                                                    PV

                      Fuel Cell                                                                        Lighting,
   Natural Gas/                                                                                       Computers
     Bio gas
      rejected heat        Heat Recovery                                                   Daylighting/
                          Steam Generator                                               natural ventilation
          rejected heat                                         Energy
                                                                                      Chilled Water
                                  Steam Turbine
                rejected heat                           chilled water
                                                       regen. hot water
                       rejected heat                                        Domestic Hot Water/
                                                                              Water mullion
                                                                             Geothermal Environment
      Ford Dearborne Plant
Is investing an additional $8M in a green roof,
   porous pavement for parking lot (reduced
   cost), and a constructed wetland for
Savings will include elimination of a $40M
   storm water management system and $6M
   budgeted for landscaping.
Build it Better - BedZED
  New Materials - Aerogel

• Super lightweight solid of 96% air
• Clear Windows with the energy
  efficiency of a solid wall
• Reduces noise twice as much as a
  double pane window
Better Building Materials
• Produced from
  compressed wheat or
  rice straw
• 2x as energy efficient
• 2X Fire resistant
• Stronger
• Pest resistant
• Reduced lumber
  framing by up to 90%
Solar Energy from the Moon
One Solution – Look to Nature
   • Spider Web (thread strength)
   • Slug mucous (adhesive)
   • Abalone Shell (protective
   • Barnacle (adhesives)
   • Lotus flower (waterproofing)
   • Geckos (small hairs as glue)
   • Pond Scum – 95% efficient in photosynthesis
          Working with Community
           Towards Sustainability
New York City, the State, and Catskills
• New York City has some of the cleanest drinking water in
  the world
• The water source is the Catskill Mountain Watershed
  (1,600 sq mi)
• In 1990 EPA mandated that all public supplies of surface
  water be filtered for microbes
• spend $4-$6 billion dollars to meet these mandates
• NYC worked with upstate communities on land use,
  development planning, and agricultural best
  management practices that would improve water
• Communities and NYC purchased select properties to be
  held undeveloped and in public trust.
• NYC spent $550 million to improve their water system,
  upgrade aging sewage treatment plants, and replace
  failing septic systems in the Catskill watershed area
• Another $278 million has been spent for conservation
  easements and partnerships to protect forest lands
• The state of New York is also contributing funds to these
Water quality improved to the point
 where the investment in system
 upgrades for systems within
 watershed was unnecessary

Cost Avoided = $6 Billion
Open Space preserved = 258,716 acres
Total investment = $833 M
Not Just Theory
   2020 Sustainability Goals
Zero Waste: includes an expanded
concept of what constitutes waste in Nike’s
Zero Toxic Substances: includes
substances known or suspected to be
harmful to human health or the health of
biological systems
Closing the loop: includes product and
process design to move toward closed loop

Sustainable Growth and Profitability:
includes developing new partnerships,
business models, and influencing change
• System Condition 1
   – Down-cycling now; recycle soon
   – Substituting materials (leather tanning without heavy
• System Condition 2
   – PVC (in everything and is now virtually completely
   – Organic cotton (pesticide and #4 worker welfare)
• System Condition 3
   – Boxes (lighter, stronger)
• System Condition 4
   – Established a code of conduct, working with NGOs and
     subcontracted factories and workers, micro loans,
     education, health care, working in homes and villages
     not in the city
   Military Sphere of Influence – 97% Rule

Army Power Projection
                          Navy Bases
Other Army
                          Marine Bases
Army Support Facilities   Air Force Bases
        Can we do it?
Can we change and make it
better for our species in the
         No Excuses
The GDP of the United States is
Purchases of the Federal Government
  alone account for 17% of the total

That’s $1,700,000,000,000
     The Question

Do we want to leave the world a
 better place for them?
“Someone like you
cares a whole awful lot
Nothing is going to get better
It’s not…”
          The Lorax
          by Dr. Seuss

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