Recommended viewing

Thoroughly enjoyed A Passion for Sustainability on DVD this weekend – not exactly food related, but a very inspirational documentary for anyone in business and much to think about in terms of the food systems we choose to support. This 2007 film follows 14 Portland, Oregon businesses who have become more (or completely) sustainable via a program called the Natural Step, the principles of which are: 

  1. In a sustainable society, nature is not subject to systematically increasing concentrations of substances extracted from the earth’s crust. To move toward strategic sustainability, we must substitute minerals that are scarce in nature with others that are more abundant, use all mined materials efficiently, and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels; 
  2. In a sustainable society, nature is not subject to concentrations of substances produced by society. To move toward strategic sustainability, we must substitute persistent and unnatural compounds with ones that are normally abundant or break down more easily in nature and use all substances produced by society efficiently.
  3. In a sustainable society, nature is not subject to degradation by physical means. To move toward strategic sustainability, we must draw resources only from well-managed ecosystems, pursue the most productive and efficient use of both those resources and the land, and exercise caution in all kinds of modifications of nature (i.e. over harvesting or introductions).
  4. In a sustainable society, people are not subject to conditions that systematically undermine their capacity to meet their needs. To move toward strategic sustainability, we must create and support action and policies that allow people to meet their fundamental human needs in our society and worldwide so that the needs of all people on whom we have an impact, and the future needs of our children can be met.

It all seems like common sense based on the golden rule, but it shows that we have strayed a long way from sustainability when companies who adhere to these principles become documentary-worthy.

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