The Sustainability Institute Website:

The Sustainability Institute, is the organization behind the website, and was founded by Donella Meadows in 1981. Meadows was a respected scientist and author, and was one of the pioneers of the sustainability movement. She co-authored a book in 1972 called The Limits to Growth with the message that the world economy could not continue to grow without severe environmental strains and eventual social collapse. This was a message she carried on into various projects throughout her lifetime including one that I found particularly interesting. She created Cobb Hill; an Ecovillage near Hartland, Vermont. This “village” is structured as a cohousing community in which families live in individual homes that are solar-powered, and eco-friendly. Not only are the individual homes eco-friendly, the community engages in activities together such as fitness classes, dinners, gardening, etc. Rather than just preach sustainability, Meadows wanted to show that a sustainable community was not only possible, but ideal. Cobb Hill was self-sustaining in many ways, and some residents make their living at the community’s organic gardens, orchards, dairy farm and maple sugar business. This is also the location of the Sustainability Institute, the organization that created this website.

The website itself is informational in nature. It is best summed up on its homepage in the welcome message: “We focus on understanding the root causes of unsustainable behavior in complex systems to help restructure systems and shift mindsets that will help move human society toward sustainability.” This is a great resource for this project as well, as we are focused on changing the minds of the public, and creating a solid basis for sustainable thinking.

The content of the site is separated into: Projects, Services, Tools & Resources, and Links. Each area is well written and organized, and the language is both logical and easy to understand. The Institute uses real live situations where they examine specific issues, and start from an analysis of how these issues came to be, and breaks down where changes need to be made to change the root of these problems. This is different from many of the other websites focused on sustainability that I’ve reviewed, in that they are more reactive in nature, and usually only address the problem in a way that focuses more on the symptoms and how to resolve them rather than starting from the root of the issue to determine how it came to be. This is a wonderful approach that I feel is effective and can really make a difference in the shift towards a sustainable future.

Check it out:

Jihae Lim