Sustainability Ė letís get real- 11 March
Let’s get real: most of our actions are not truly sustainable. Some will be close,others worse. The Sustainable Transport Coalition believes we need to addressthis; otherwise ‘sustainability’ becomes an overused cliché.

Date: Thursday, 11 March 2010

Time: 12 noon for a 12.30 pm start

Venue: Auditorium, Engineers Australia, 712 Murray Street, West Perth

Cost: Free

RSVP: Not required


To ‘get real’ requires three things.

First we need to define sustainability; otherwise how do we know if we are evenclose? We have a simple, memorable definition: ‘The economic, social andenvironmental impacts of an action are all be positive; now and for the next sevengenerations’. Simple and memorable are vital for sustainability to be an everydaygoal.

Second, we need a process to get the best possible action. The process is: reviewthe action against its objectives, see if the action can be modified, consider remedialactions, and then develop offsets.

Third, we need to measure how close the action is to true sustainability. We have afive star rating system; from ‘sustainable’ (5 stars) through to ‘grossly unsustainable’ (less than 1 star). Stars are awarded against five criteria. The first three criteria aredirectly from the definition: economic, social, and environmental. The fourth criterionis ‘longevity’, to reflect the ‘seven generations’ part of the definition. The fifth criterion is ‘alternative’ which takes into account whether a better alternative isavailable: perhaps not theoretically pure, but it represents real life.

This star system is the key to moving towards true sustainability.

Existing systems were considered; none had a simple, memorable approach.

About the Speaker:

David Rice, Sustainable Transport Coalition of Western Australia

David is a Fellow of Engineers Australia. He has over 40 years experience workingfor Federal, State and Local Government, and in private industry. He is now aSustainable Transport Consultant. His early career was in country road design and construction, then in planning Metropolitan freeways, more recently in transportpolicy.

He has had practical experience in managing the economic, social andenvironmental impacts of many major road projects. David is a regular bicycle commuter, and deputy convenor of the Sustainable Transport Coalition.