In 2008 we embarked on a collaborative project with Earth Economics to develop and disseminate materials related to the concepts of ecological economics. These concepts are also being used to create policy matrices that can be used to solve problems on a global scale or for our own ecosystem, the Puget Sound basin. We believe in building a coalition of organizations and individuals that recognizes the importance of upgrading our current economic theories and principles to deal with the problems of the 21st century. Through our partnership with Earth Economics, volunteers from our Board have produced informative white papers. In addition, the Foundation dedicated our 2008 lecture series to introducing the theory of ecological economics to the Puget Sound community, and convened numerous small group meetings with local foundations, nonprofits and ecological economics experts.
Gund Institute for Ecological Economics Introduction to Ecological Economics (Encyclopedia of Earth) Earth, Inc.: Redefining Profit Earth Policy Institute Redefining Progress: The Nature of Economics Economics for Equity and the Environment: E3 Network
Imagine Cascadia was a collaborative experiment initiated by the Foundation in 2005 in response to strategic discussions with several nonprofit organizations and others working in alignment with our mission. The objective was to start a multi-stakeholder civic conversation aimed at developing a shared vision of a healthy, sustainable future for our bioregion – one that people and groups could rally behind, implement, and use as a guide to regional decision making. The Foundation, serving as a catalyst and host for this collaborative discussion, convened two Imagine Cascadia gatherings in Oct 2005 and Jan 2006, at Town Hall in Seattle. Invitations were extended to a diverse sampling of the community working in areas such as the environment, health, social concerns, and education. Over 100 people attending each gathering explored the key questions:
> What are a few key elements of a desired future that are important to you?
> What would we need to learn or unlearn in order to begin working in ways aligned with that desired future?
> What work must we begin now together?
While Imagine Cascadia itself did not develop into an ongoing independent project, a number of new initiatives were sparked from the ideas and connections that developed from these gatherings. The ideas and connections from this event have also produced secondary connections and benefits for the Foundation’s ongoing work, and for the work of others, we hope.
In June 2006 Sustainable Path Foundtion (f.k.a. SBLF) collaborated with The, Center for Ethical Leadership (CEL), The Russell Family Foundation (TRFF), Sustainable Seattle and The Bainbridge Graduate Institute to initiate and support the Sustainability Confluence, hosted by the Center for Ethical Leadership. This two-day retreat involved participants from the business, nonprofit, education and government sectors interested in advancing sustainability in the Puget Sound bioregion. The retreat provided an opportunity to foster relationships and networks and to learn about the work of others. As a result, several cross-sector, collaborative projects emerged from the retreat:
> Sustainability Reality Check: the Pomegranate Center with Sustainable Seattle, Ridolfi Inc.,and City of Burien to fostered development of a regional pilot initiative integrating comprehensive sustainability practices into action in one or two communities of 5,000 to 50,000 people.
> Strategy for Clean Energy Technologies/Policies: Climate Solutions with Innovative Strategies and Pacific NW Pollution Prevention Resource Center.They identified the three most promising Clean Energy Technologies and Policies for businesses that have the potential to receive support through government incentives and venture capital. This project resulted in two reports on the clean energy industry in Washington state: "Clean Technology – The Answer to Washington’s Carbon Constrained Future" and “Clean Technology and Greenhouse Gas Incentives and Regulations – a Comparison between Washington, California and other Northwest States", as well as a master list of Clean Technology companies in Washington State.
> Infrastructure to Support Community Collaboration: the Center for Ethical Leadership hosted three follow-up gatherings for Confluence participants and other interested citizens. CEL hosted three events in 2006 and 2007 for over 100 people to share ideas and maximize collaboration on projects related to sustainability. CEL, with leadership from Confluence participant Kathleen Hosfeld of Hosfeld & Associates, created SustainapediaNW, an online gathering place for people interested in making the Pacific Northwest the most sustainable, thriving region in North America.
"Community’s social cohesion is an essential ingredient for planning for and realizing sustainable goals. Getting community involved is essential.”
- Pomegranate Center, excerpt from report on participation in the Sustainability Confluence (2007)