SLF and CRCS Now Part of Possible Planet

Posted by Admin under: Forum; Leadership; Organization.

The Sustainable Leadership Forum, which became the Center for Regenerative Community Solutions, is now part of Possible Planet. Please visit our new web site at www.PossiblePlanet.org.

Also feel free to browse our entries here. This site is maintained for archival purposes only.



SLF Now a Project of CRCS

Posted by Admin under: Climate Change; Ecology; Forum; Regeneration; Sustainability.

The Sustainable Leadership Forum is now a project of the Center for Regenerative Community Solutions (CRCS). This web site has not been updated in over two years, and contains of material of mainly archival interest. Please visit CRCSolutions.org for our latest work. Thank you for your sustained interest over many years; we look forward to your joining us in our current efforts to bring PACE, cohousing, and other innovative solutions to New Jersey.



Finally, Some Sanity on Climate Change

Posted by Admin under: Climate Change; Ecology; Energy; Events; Forum; Fossil Fuels; Future.

June 25, 2013: A great deal of what Obama just said on climate change at Georgetown University will seem like common sense to many of us, so it’s important to recognize just how dramatic a shift in the public conversation it is likely to cause.

Several distinct concepts were introduced and reinforced in the speech, most notably that of “carbon pollution,” which is clearly more emotionally and politically powerful than “greenhouse gas emissions.” By calling it (some might say “calling it out as”) carbon pollution more than a dozen times during the speech, he laid the groundwork for a comprehensive approach to the challenge of climate change as a priority for the U.S. and for the rest of the world — including placing the U.S., now second in the world as a carbon emitter to China, at the head of the line in addressing the problems.

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What the First Annual Survey of New Jersey Business Sustainability tells us

Posted by Admin under: Sustainable Business.

polskysm_200By Matt Polsky and Pooja Aravkar

None of the world’s leading companies pursuing sustainability are U.S.-based, reports Oekom Research, a German company in its annual Corporate Responsibility Review. What could we do about this in New Jersey? Researchers from the Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU) Institute for Sustainable Enterprise(ISE) can offer some ideas. The mission of ISE is to “bring people together to learn how to live and manage sustainably by solving problems and capitalizing on opportunities in ways that simultaneously enhance economic, social, and environmental vitality.” It is the intellectual hub of sustainable business thinking in New Jersey.

ISE’s 2010 report Developing and Implementing a Sustainable Growth Strategy for New Jersey provided several guidelines for developing a “Green Economy” – an economy that includes and extends beyond clean energy, potentially penetrating all business sectors to protect and restore the environment while creating economic growth. The report, which urges all sectors to practice corporate social responsibility and aim towards greater levels of sustainability, concludes that “New Jersey has a unique opportunity to play a leadership role.”

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The Great Transition (and Our Place in It)

Posted by Admin under: Climate Change; Community Development; Ecology; Economy; Energy; Entrepreneurship; Fossil Fuels; Future; History; Hurricane Sandy; Leadership; Permaculture; Regeneration; Resiliency; Science; Story; Sustainability.

We are, whether we like it or not, moving into an age of great transition.

This transition is beginning to take hold just about everywhere in the world — though in some areas more rapidly than others — at both a global and a local level.

It is accelerating, in part because the effects of climate change are already being felt — in the form of droughts, fires, floods, and hurricanes — in a growing number of areas; and in part because the recognition is dawning on even the elites that we really are overburdening the planet and exhausting many of the most readily-available resources. In the face of these new realities we are slowly but inevitably adjusting to what Bill McKibben calls “Eaarth,” a new and different planet, where the conditions we’ve experienced for the last ten thousand years are changing very rapidly.

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Rebuilding New Jersey’s Shore Communities

Posted by Admin under: Climate Change; Community Development; Ecology; Economy; Emergency; Events; Future; Hurricane Sandy; Organization; Permaculture; Resiliency; Sustainability.

This article was originally published in the Dead River Journal on February 12, 2013 – see http://deadriverjournal.org/regenerating-nj-shore-communities):

IMG_8878smThrough our new nonprofit, the Center for Regenerative Community Solutions (CRCS), we have begun the work of rebuilding NJ’s shore communities in a more sustainable way. As part of the basis for this work, we’ve published the following article, originally posted January 12, 2013, and most recently revised February 11, 2012: RegeneratingNewJerseyShoreCommunitiesJan2013r

We’ve also been sharing the following message with a number of Shore-based and statewide nonprofits:

CRCS is looking to partner with other nonprofit and civic organizations to host a series of community dialogs regarding the long term sustainable reconstruction of the NJ shore. Our team has substantial experience and expertise in community engagement, urban planning, anthropology, organization development, project management, leadership development, finance, and permaculture, as well as the broad topics of sea level rise, coastal ecosystem integrity, and climate change.

While we are a newly registered entity, CRCS comes out of work that we’ve done for a number of years through the Institute for Sustainable Enterprise at Fairleigh Dickinson University, the Center for Leadership in Sustainability, and through several other nonprofits.

As set forth in our non-profit charter, CRCS was created to:
Provide local communities with educational services on the effects of climate change and other related issues that can affect their long term ability to regenerate their ecological and economic systems,

  • Provide local government institutions with assistance to undertake actions and initiatives to reduce and ameliorate present and expected extreme weather and other climate change effects,
  • Help small businesses and non-profit organizations obtain funding and other resources to undertake actions and initiatives to reduce and ameliorate present and expected negative climate change effects in low and moderate-income communities, including communities impacted by Hurricane Sandy.
  • We are inviting inquiries and expressions of interest from shore-based and statewide nonprofits such as yours to work with us to organize these kinds of community conversations, with the intention of launching an on-going process of sustainable design and redevelopment for coastal communities.

We invite your participation in working with us to host these community dialogs. If you are interested, please contact me at [email protected].

We are also seeking funding to expand this program, and to assist communities in implementing the elements of sustainable design and redevelopment at the Jersey Shore. If you can assist us either directly or by joining with us in fund raising, please let us know this also.



Seeking Sustainable Growth in NJ in the Wake of Sandy

Posted by Admin under: Climate Change; Community Development; Ecology; Economy; Emergency; Events; Future; Hurricane Sandy; Permaculture; Resiliency; Sustainability.

This article was originally published on December 30, 2012 in the Dead River Journal (http://deadriverjournal.org/seeking-sustainable-growth-in-the-wake-of-superstorm-sandy/)

The Center for Regenerative Community Solutions and Regenerative Community Ventures, Inc. have recently circulated a position paper on “Laying a Foundation for Sustainable Growth in New Jersey in the Wake of Hurricane Sandy” with policy makers and community leaders in the state. Here is a final version, and several excerpts. The authors are co-founders of the Center for Leadership in Sustainability, the Sustainable Leadership Forum, and Acumen Technology Group, LLC. Jonathan Cloud is Senior Fellow, Institute for Sustainable Enterprise, Fairleigh Dickinson University and Managing Partner, Acumen Technology Group, LLC. Victoria Zelin is Principal, Regenerative Community Ventures, Inc., a licensee of Unified Field Corporation.

Superstorm Sandy has dramatically altered NJ’s economy as well as its geography for years to come. While there may be a short-­?term “bounce” from the money spent on reconstruction, the thinking about how that rebuilding should be carried out is already moving very quickly toward the view that it needs to be substantially more hurricane-­? proof and disaster-­?resistant, more resilient, and — in a word — more sustainable.

This paper sets out some considerations and recommendations for creating a foundation for sustainable growth in New Jersey, describes some of the initiatives we are taking through our new nonprofit organization, the Center for Regenerative Community Solutions, and makes specific suggestions for policies and programs for state and local government to support these and similar initiatives from other organizations.

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Reflecting on the 2013 Financial Permaculture & Local Economy Summit

Posted by Admin under: Community Development; Entrepreneurship; Events; Food; Forum; Money; Permaculture; Sustainability.


Returning from a week of intensive work on the Verde Gardens foodshed, using the framework of Financial Permaculture, I find myself once again inspired by what people can do together to begin building a more sustainable future.

The design goal of the program was to provide Earth Learning with a plan of action for its Verde Gardens projects, which a 22-acre permaculture farm, a regional food hub, and a market café/kitchen complex adjacent to the farm in Homestead, FL.

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Choosing a Sustainable Future

Posted by Admin under: Forum; Future; Global; Leadership; Policy; Science; Story.


In a recent conversation with our daughter, it struck me just what an enormous challenge it is that we are facing. We are always poised, momentarily, between a past that we can no longer change, and a future that, starting from here, offers us a certain range of possibilities.

What’s clear is that if we look at where we are as a species today the prospects for life on this planet are, as a direct result of our actions, in clear and present danger. It’s possible, given the historical conditions, that no other outcome was possible; but in any case we are here now — and facing a precarious future on any number of fronts, from climate change to mass extinction to ocean acidification to receding glaciers and melting ice caps and rising sea levels and toxic waste accumulation and continued fossil fuel combustion.

If we continue on our present course, we will inevitably end up where we are headed, which is the more or less permanent alteration of the total biosphere as an ecological system. But this future is not foreordained (if you believe it is, then no meaningful action is really possible): from where we stand today we can look out at a range of possible futures, and can choose which one we wish to pursue — taking into account the inertia of the present system, but recognizing also that change is inevitable, accelerating, and responsive to new realities. Humans will respond, uncertainly and incoherently at first; but as we bring together many different perspectives we will seek to forge a coherent alternative to the present system.

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Financial Permaculture and Local Economic Vitality

Posted by Admin under: Community Development; Ecology; Economy; Food; Forum; Money; Neighborhoods; Resiliency; Sustainability.

On January 21-25, 2013, Earth Learning, the Financial Permaculture Institute, the Economic Development Council of South Miami-Dade, and Miami Dade College will host the 2013 Financial Permaculture and Local Business Summit, bringing together community investment and financial experts, permaculture designers, and local sustainability entrepreneurs to build greater resiliency in the local and regional economy of South Florida. During the 5-day event participants will work with the Miami-Dade Community, principally around strengthening the local food system, addressing the issue of “food deserts” and supporting the development of a 22-acre farm, food hub, farm-to-table cafe, and commercial kitchen. as part of Verde Gardens, a 145-unit community for formerly homeless people in Miami.

As one of the facilitators and keynote speakers, I’ve been giving some thought to the kinds of challenges we face in making our communities more resilient, more self-sufficient, and more sustainable. Here are some recent thoughts:

Financial Permaculture

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Doing Business Differently

Posted by Admin under: Community Development; Ecology; Economy; Entrepreneurship; Leadership; Neighborhoods; Permaculture; Sustainability.

This item first appeared in Dead River Journal, 11/29/2012:

We know that the new economic and ecological realities we face require us to do something different in business, which in some cases also means doing business differently.

Certainly it’s possible to use a conventional business model to manufacture and install solar panels, build windfarms, etc., and we certainly need these kinds of things “at scale,” as they say, sufficient to offset the energy we get from coal, oil, and nuclear. But other kinds of businesses — local, community-based businesses focusing on food, energy conservation, community banking, and other elements of local “economic, social, environmental, and cultural development” — these it seems need a different approach to doing business altogether.
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DATE CHANGE: Solar-Powered Party Saturday, December 15, 2012

Posted by Admin under: Community Development; Emergency; Events; Fossil Fuels; Future; Inspiration; Sustainability.

Please forgive our mistake — the party is Saturday, December 15, 4-9 pm (not Sunday the 16th). The revised invitation is below. We hope we get your RSVP that you can attend — we don’t need to know what you will bring — the food always seems to be extraordinary, and balanced!
— Victoria Zelin (my mistake) and Jonathan Cloud (blameless in this regard!)

We’ll be hosting our holiday potluck —”Bringing Solar Power Home for the Holidays”— on Sunday, December 16 Saturday, December 15, from 4 p.m. on. RSVP to [email protected].

A year ago, in announcing our holiday event, we wrote: “Whether it’s speaking to skeptical relatives about global warming, or changing your own habits, practices, and beliefs about what’s sustainable and what’s not, the holidays bring out a lot of emotional reactions. These can be a source of frustration — or of wisdom if you accept that we’re all on the path, and have a lot of work to do to reverse-engineer the mistakes of the past.” What a difference a year makes.
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Past Events

Correction: We'll be hosting this year's holiday potluck — "Bringing Solar Power Home for the Holidays" — on Saturday, December 15, 2012 from 4 to 9 p.m. Click here for more details. RSVP to [email protected].
Saturday, November 17, 2012, 10 a.m. Eastern: Sustainable Neighborhood & Community Conversations (III).
Saturday, October 13, 2012, 10 a.m. Eastern: Transforming Neighborhoods and Communities II.
Saturday, September 8, 2012, 10 a.m. Eastern: Transforming Neighborhoods & Communities.
Saturday, June 16, 2012: SLF Potluck June 16: Sustainable Living Communities.
The Sustainable Haiti Conference took place April 23-25, 2012 in Miami.
"Inside Job" Movie Party. Saturday, February 11th, 6:00 PM, Liberty Ridge, The Hills, Bernards Twp, Basking Ridge, NJ 07920.
2nd 'Buy Haitian, Restore Haiti Conference', January 26, 2012, Karibe Convention Center, Petion Ville, Haiti
Dec 11 SLF Potluck: "Bringing Sustainability Home for the Holidays" Basking Ridge, NJ. RSVP to [email protected].
Saturday, July 9, 2011, 4 p.m. Open House Party & Potluck, Saturday, July 9, 4 p.m., Basking Ridge, NJ.
RSVP to [email protected]
Saturday, May 21, 1-4 p.m. EcoCenter Update. At the Morristown EcoCenter, 55 Bank Street, Morristown, NJ 07960.
Saturday, April 16, 1-4 p.m. "Haiti & Us: The Leading Edge of Sustainable Development." At the Morristown EcoCenter, 55 Bank Street, Morristown, NJ 07960. A copy of the update presentation has been posted here.
Saturday, March 19, 1-4 p.m. "Creating the Morristown EcoCenter." Held at 55 Bank Street, Morristown, the site of the proposed EcoCenter.
Saturday, February 19, 1-4 p.m. Monthly meeting, ""A Profound Transformation in Consciousness," Morris County Library, Whippany, NJ. Click here for details.
Saturday, January 15, 1-4 p.m. Putting Idealism into Practice: Tour of Half Moon House. Click here for details.
Saturday, December 18, 1-4 p.m. Challenge & Strategy Session: "Reinventing Wealth," followed by our annual "Potluck for the Planet" from 4 to 8. Click here for details.
Saturday, November 20, 1-4 p.m. Challenge & Strategy Session: "How Do We Measure Sustainable Value?". Click here for details.
Saturday, October 16, 1-4 p.m. Challenge and Strategy Session: "Toward a Sustainable Growth Strategy for New Jersey".
Download the slide presentation here, and the discussion paper here.

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Leadership Quotes

"Nearly every man who develops an idea works it up to the point where it looks impossible, and then he gets discouraged. That's not the place to become discouraged."
(Thomas A. Edison—thanks to Regan Caton)

"Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” (G.B. Shaw)

"There is the true joy of life: to be used by a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; to be thoroughly worn out before being thrown on the scrap heap; to be a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that life will not devote itself to making you happy." (G.B. Shaw)

"Leadership is a privilege to better the lives of others. It is not an opportunity to satisfy personal greed." (Mwai Kibaki, President of Kenya - thanks to Christine Comaford, Rules for Renegades)