Archive: 2001 Video Short Course

In 2001 I did a speaking tour of Queensland, Australia. The Queensland Environmental Protection Agency filmed my talks and created a series of short (ca 3 min) videos. The videos were widely distributed around Australia on CDs and used in training courses. Later, they were archived on YouTube. Today, these grainy videos are only of historical interest: they are snapshots of the sustainability movement at a certain moment in time. You can explore the whole series below.

Included in this antique video set are three of my songs. (Click here to skip to the songs at the end of the page.) They were still rather new in 2001. Now there are multiple versions of these songs scattered around YouTube, I’ve performed them so many times …

Sustainability vs. Environmentalism
In 2001, there was a lot of confusion about the difference between these two concepts, and I spent a lot of time explaining that difference, and framing sustainability in positivist, transformational terms: the “yes” to environmentalism’s “no”.

The Seven Principles of Sustainability
These were taken from my book Believing Cassandra. In 2001, they were getting a little traction as a way of defining or explaining how to take action for sustainability.

A History of the GDP
Throughout the 1990s, many of us sustainability “pioneers” were promoting new indicators for sustainability. We also spent a great deal of energy on critiquing the GDP, in order to establish the need for better measures of progress.

Indicators of Sustainability: An Introduction
For the first decade or so of my consulting career, I was considered an international expert on the topic of indicators. Today, sustainability indicators are everywhere and are part of the official apparatus of the United Nationals Sustainable Development Goals. But in 2001, the concept of “indicators of sustainability” was still new to many people.

Creating Sustainability Indicators
A process introduction, and a reflection of the “state of the art” as of 2001.

The Global Reporting Initiative
The GRI has come a long way since 2001. At that time it was still rather new, and I made a point of promoting it everywhere I went. (I had been told that the GRI founders were partially inspired by the success of the Sustainable Seattle indicators project and the resulting international movement that grew from our example.)

The Sustainability Compass
The Compass, invented in 1997, is widely used now as an orientation and planning tool, especially in education but also in corporate and other settings. In 2001, it was still new, and we had just published the first “Compass Index of Sustainability”, focused on Orlando, Florida USA.

The Compass Index: Assessing Sustainability Performance
The introduction of the Sustainability Compass (previously called the “Compass of Sustainability”) is documented in my book The Sustainability Transformation. This video describes the indexing tool and the story about how we first used it to get media attention with the Orlando project noted above. We also used the Index with corporate clients for many years; it was a very effective feedback mechanism on their goal-setting and reporting.

Introduction to Exponential Growth
My song about “Exponential Growth” is widely known, but this video is a more prosaic description of the phenomenon. Things growing at small percentage rates may not seem very alarming. At the time, CO2 emissions were growing at 3% per year. And 3% growth of CO2 means our emissions would double in just 24 years. This mini-lecture from 2001 explains why exponential growth is a big problem.

The Pyramid (or “Pyramid of Sustainable Development”)
The workshop we call “Pyramid” was brand new in 2001, and I was still describing it in terms of “ISIS” instead of “VISIS“, the updated methodology that we have now released as open-source. It’s fun to think about the fact that more than 10 years after this presentation, Pyramid had spread throughout the world, and that thousands of people have experienced it now.

Introducing the Amoeba – A Model of Cultural Change
The “Amoeba Game” is one of the most popular tools I ever created, and it is also the oldest. My 2014 TEDx talk is more fun, but here is the 2001 version.


The Songs

Exponential Growth

 The System Zoo 

The GDP Song