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Multispecies Sustainability

Really happy to share that a paper I contributed to (with many other co-authors) Multispecies Sustainability has just been published. In the open access Global Sustainability Journal from Cambridge University Press.

The paper was developed by the ‘Multispecies Cities’ team. We have been brought together by the Research Institute for Humanity and Nature, Kyoto, Japan

Non-technical summary:

The sustainability concept seeks to balance how present and future generations of humans meet their needs. But because nature is viewed only as a resource, sustainability fails to recognize that humans and other living beings depend on each other for their well-being. We therefore argue that true sustainability can only be achieved if the interdependent needs of all species of current and future generations are met, and propose calling this β€˜multispecies sustainability’. We explore the concept through visualizations and scenarios, then consider how it might be applied through case studies involving bees and healthy green spaces.

The paper even has its own press release. Heres an extract below:

An interdisciplinary team led by Senior Researcher Dr. Christoph Rupprecht (FEAST Project, RIHN) has revealed a new definition of sustainability that expands the concept to non-human species and their needs. With this new definition, published in the journal Global Sustainability, the researchers addressed a critical flaw in the original concept of sustainability that was hindering global transformation efforts. Examples from landscape planning and the Healthy Urban Microbiome Initiative (HUMI) suggest the new multispecies sustainability concept will have wide-ranging applications.

The team of nineteen researchers identified a contradiction at the core of sustainability: its resource management approach ignores that the well-being and needs of all living beings is interdependent in ecologically complex ways. To overcome this critical flaw, they combined recent advances in multispecies ethnography with research by Indigenous scholars and insights from cybernetics. Based on this work, the team formulated a set of six principles and a new concept of multispecies sustainability, defined as meeting the interdependent needs of all species while enhancing the ability of future generations of all species to meet their own needs. The researchers then showcased potential applications that help enable human-wildlife coexistence and radically rethink urban greenspace design based on recent microbiome and public health insights.

Future scenarios

You may remember my writing on compass memes and the Multispecies Imaginaries Compass that I made last year.

My compass was also made with this paper’s lead author: Dr. Christoph Rupprecht. This Multispecies Sustainability Paper includes this diagram:

Which is about as far as you can push things in an academic context vs our one. lol/

Anyhoo’s really happy that this paper is now out in the world.
The paper is open access, you can read it here.

About Author

Jay Springett is a Solarpunk, and consultant strategist, currently specialising in the distributed web, metaverse, and world running. He is currently writing his first public book: Land as Platform.

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