Reliable Prosperity Index

This site consists of short essays, called patterns, which we list here in alphabetical order. You can also start browsing the hierarchy from its root, Reliable Prosperity.

Access to Knowledge — At all educational levels, provide a fully-integrated ecological literacy curriculum which grounds students in the science of living systems and the practical skills necessary to create reliable prosperity. Place particular emphasis on local and bioregional topics, and carefully connect educational institutions with their surrounding communities. Ensure that access to knowledge is universal, and available to all ages.

Agriculture — Farms and gardens should maintain their own soil fertility, avoid pesticide use, and prevent erosion. They should be planted in a wide variety of crops, and maintain their genetic diversity over time. They should use water efficiently, maintain the health of nearby riparian zones, and provide as much wildlife habitat as possible

Beauty and Play — Celebrate beauty, wholeness, and play as central features of life.

Biodiversity — Maintain biodiversity by establishing a system of connected wildlands, practicing ecologically-minded forestry and agriculture, employing better materials cycles, and using fair trade to avoid the spread of invasive species.

Bioregional Economies — Bioregions need to reclaim a strong measure of economic sovereignty by becoming more self-sufficient and trading on their own terms. They can create economies that celebrate and mirror local ecosystems and cultures.

Buffer Zones — Around areas that are protected for their conservation values, establish buffer zones where products can be extracted from the wild, subject to limitations that ensure the continued ecological integrity of core and buffer areas alike.

Capital — Find ways to finance the just transition of economic capital from sunset industries to the sectors of reliable prosperity. Root capital in place and make it much more broadly distributed.

Civic Society — Promote the gathering places, non-governmental organizations, and independent media that give civic society full expression. Honor civic society as a barrier between and alternative to both government and commerce.

Climate Services — Provide incentives for climate stabilization through carbon taxes and emissions trading agreements. Shift from a fossil fuel-based economy to a hydrogen economy. Award carbon credits to landowners practicing better forestry and agriculture.

Community — Encourage human-scale neighborhoods that create opportunities for community and democracy through their physical design and mix of uses. Support community efforts to enhance social equity, celebrate cultural diversity, and create a sense of place. Build community capital over the long-term to aid in the just transition to reliable prosperity.

Community Benefit — Embed community benefit as a core business strategy with a variety of returns including employee productivity, customer loyalty, community support, supply chain integrity, and accountability to place.

Compact Towns and Cities — Metropolitan Regions should have towns and cities with well-defined edges and vibrant neighborhoods. They should be set in a matrix of open space, agricultural and forest land, and wildlife corridors extending outward to regional wildlands networks. Towns and cities should make use of efficient, ecological infrastructure, offer a range of transportation connections, and offer a mix and distribution of land-uses that supports diverse regional economies.

Connected Wildlands — Establish networks of connected wildlands that radiate out from core reserves with highly restricted uses to buffer zones where people pursue livelihoods subject to an etiquette that honors the needs of the wild. Weave these areas together by providing wildlife corridors so that animals and plants can disperse effectively.

Core Reserves — Set aside large tracts of land and aquatic habitat where the needs of the more-than-human world come first, the commercial extraction of commodities is banned, and people may visit only if they keep their impact to an absolute minimum. Ensure broad representation of species and ecosystem types in a bioregional core reserve system.

Cultural Diversity — Celebrate the intrinsic worth and richness of cultural diversity in all its forms. Find ways to harness this diversity in the service of reliable prosperity.

Cultural Preservation — Find ways to keep the whole spectrum of cultural practices vibrant and alive.

Ecological Infrastructure — Create an ecological infrastructure for cities and towns that partially replaces materials, energy, and engineering with the self-organizing intelligence of living systems.

Ecological Land-Use — Using urban growth boundaries, zoning laws, and other techniques, ensure that cities and towns are compact, which allows for a highly efficient infrastructure. Protect diverse working rural landscapes right up to the urban edge. Over time, weave remaining lands into a connected matrix of wildlands that connects outward to neighboring bioregions.

Ecosystem Services — Protect the health of ecosystems in order to maintain their flow of ecosystem services. Identify and value streams of ecosystem services as a way to provide incentives for conservation.

Ecotourism — Seek opportunities for ecotourism operations, but only if they can be owned and managed by local people, and adverse impacts to sensitive ecological and historical areas can be avoided.

Fair Trade — By building diverse local economies, encourage only those exports which are value-added and healthy reflections of local cultures and ecosystems. Avoid dependence on imports that are produced with destructive consequences to people and ecosystems. Mitigate the environmental impacts of transportation for trade.

Fisheries — Tailor fishing quotas to the intensity of harvest that each population of fish can sustain, making sure to protect weak runs from by-catch in the pursuit of healthier stocks. Treat fish with care to show them proper respect and to return as much value as possible to the human communities where they are landed. Restore and maintain the ecosystems upon which stocks depend.

Forestry — Practice a system of forestry that takes trees while leaving the forest intact, and seek certification to document these practices in the marketplace. Ensure that benefits from forestry flow back to local communities through diverse networks of value-added production.

Fundamental Needs — Ensure that everyone in the bioregion has fundamental needs met as a non-negotiable condition of attaining reliable prosperity. At a minimum, these needs include nutritious food; shelter; healthcare; education; and ecosystem services — all provided affordably and reliably.

Green Building — Create buildings which provide their own energy, purify their own wastes, and participate in sustainable materials cycles. Make buildings flooded with natural light and fresh air, which make people feel fully alive. Design buildings which heal part of the fabric of the world.

Green Business — Green businesses improve their ability to use resources efficiently, close their materials cycles, employ renewable energy, and practice green procurement. They build value over the long-term, emphasizing broader community benefit. They measure, report on, and base decisions on their triple bottom line.

Green Procurement — Green procurement policies seek to provide the same level of quality while continuously decreasing destructive environmental and social impacts. They do this by increasing purchases of products and services compatible with reliable prosperity.

Health — Recognize that the health of humans and ecosystems is indivisible. Arrange all economic activities to be conducive to the continued health and vitality of this generation of living beings, and all generations to come. Diversify the medical system and make it more affordable and accessible to all.

Household Economies — Regain a balance between time, money, and work. Let social and ecological values guide purchases and investments. Generate more discretionary time, and a greater quality of life, by making more discerning consumption choices. Build household assets over time.

Human-Scale Neighborhoods — Take the neighborhood as the central building block of towns and cities. Make each neighborhood safe for pedestrians, with a vibrant mix of activities within a five to fifteen-minute walk. Provide a gradient of density, from parks to commercial centers. Ensure effective transit access, and create opportunities for informal gathering places. Continually recycle parcels and buildings that have become underutilized.

Just Transitions — Redeploy skills and assets from the current economy to reliable prosperity, offering training and compensation where necessary. Redress historical injustices through transparent dialogue and negotiation.

Local Assets — Provide financial and legal forms of ownership that equitably distribute both the benefits and responsibilities of ownership. Seek forms of ownership accountable to local communities. Create financial institutions that can make a wide range of loans to those of all income-levels, help to build resilient local economies, and reinvest in the local community.

Local Economies — Increase the diversity of local economies and the degree of local ownership. Meet local needs locally, and use the resulting stability and security to export only high value-added products at the most favorable terms. Promote local trading networks and currencies.

Long-Term Profitability — Focus on creating value over the long-term by honoring the needs of ecosystems and human communities. Develop financial and learning strategies that support this support this kind of value creation.

Materials Cycles — Do not allow materials from the earth's crust and from society to systematically accumulate in the biosphere. Use materials which are highly abundant, non-toxic, and easily broken down by ecosystems. When their use is necessary, toxic or persistent compounds should be kept in tightly controlled loops and completely reclaimed at the end of a product's life. Promote resource efficiency to minimize the need for raw materials.

Nature — Apply ecological land-use planning, implement sustainable materials cycles, seek a redefinition of social capital towards sufficiency rather than excess, and work towards a tax shift which fully values environmental costs and benefits. Seek new business models and ways of managing commons that broadly and equitably distribute responsibilities toward — and benefits from — nature.

Product as Service — Design products for continuing streams of service and value, not obsolesce. Create policies that favor the takeback of products by manufacturers. Establish protocols for labeling products, buildings, and other objects with disassembly and remanufacturing instructions.

Product Labeling — Participate in product labeling and certification systems that effectively document the sustainable practices associated with a product or service. When necessary, start new systems to provide an even clearer picture of social and ecological benefits. Use product labeling and certification systems to guide consumption and green procurement.

Productive Rural Areas — Maintain the character and productivity of rural areas by protecting key areas from development and providing continuity of land ownership. Establish beneficial market linkages with nearby towns and cities. Keep ownership of land and resources broad-based and local.

Reliable Prosperity — Over the long-term, decrease economic dependence on activities that deplete natural or social capital. In the shorter-term, make investments with triple bottom line — economic, social, and environmental — returns. Harness both market forces and changes in laws, taxes, and policies that favor reliable prosperity.

Renewable Energy — Generate energy using renewable sources, including wind, solar, small-scale hydro, biomass, and geothermal. Use fuel cells as energy storage devices to complement the electrical grid, and hydrogen to run the fuel cells.

Resource Efficiency — Through good design and careful use, stretch every gallon of water, joule of energy, and pound of materials further to meet fundamental needs. Provide the same level of service with two to ten times less resource use.

Rural-Urban Linkages — Rural-urban linkages help rural producers get better prices for their goods and improve their financial stability. They also connect urban consumers with pressing issues and concerns for nearby rural areas.

Security — Security can only be maintained by addressing the root causes of violence. This requires that fundamental needs be met, community capital be increased, and ecosystem services be stabilized.

Sense of Place — Encourage the sense of place in a variety ways, from regional presses and publications, to restaurants featuring seasonal local food, to public gatherings. Support bioregional media sources that provide coverage of local cultures and landscapes.

Shelter For All — Promote a mix of housing types in every neighborhood, accommodating a wide range of income levels. Establish strong policies in support of affordable housing construction and homeownership. Use green building techniques when constructing affordable housing.

Social Equity — Promote diverse local economies that provide a wide range of employment opportunities. Build local assets that broadly distribute the wealth of a community. Encourage human-scale neighborhoods that provide shelter and community for all. Work towards a tax shift that fully values social costs and benefits.

Society — Invest in the community institutions and green businesses that build social capital. Support ownership strategies that meet needs more broadly and fairly. Seek policies that properly account for social capital. Allow household economies to find a better balance between society and economic capital.

Soil Services — Maintain soil cover and fertility through agricultural and forestry practices that prevent erosion and loss of nutrients. When necessary, restore soil health. Emphasize ecological land-use strategies to minimize the size and impact of development. Use sustainable materials cycles to avoid chemical contamination of soils.

Subsistence Rights — Protect the ability of people to access food and other resources from nearby wildlands, provided that care is taken to maintain the health of these ecosystems. Enhance regional food systems, drawing on the entire landscape to reconnect people with place and provide a nutritious diet.

Transit Access — Match the physical form of neighborhoods, towns, and cities to the capacities of a multi-modal transit system, which offers simultaneous access by walking, biking, bus, rail, and other modes. Allow different modes to compete fairly with each other to optimize the whole system's performance for least total cost. Ensure that transportation and infrastructure systems do not fragment habitat.

True Cost Pricing — At each level of tax assessment, from town to nation, shift taxes so that they accurately reflect true social and ecological costs and benefits. Stop taxing good things like employment and begin taxing bad things like pollution.

Urban Growth Boundaries — Create, either through zoning laws or land purchases and easements, an effective boundary around every city and town to channel residential and commercial development. Maintain a working rural landscape up to the edge of the city, providing additional protection as needed for land of special significance. Make the boundary itself a beautiful gateway to the city for rural dwellers and to the countryside for city dwellers.

Value-Added Production — Add value locally by careful application of appropriate skills and equipment, creating additional jobs without increasing the strain on ecosystems. This helps maintain a stable and diverse local economy.

Waste as Resource — Use waste as a resource inside a facility to cascade different uses of water, energy, and materials. When external wastestreams are generated, co-locate them within a zero-waste eco-industrial park. If this is not possible, or wastestreams already exist, seek customers for them through waste exchanges, and make capital improvements as needed to provide a commercially viable form of waste.

Watershed Services — Treat watersheds as whole systems, seeking to restore a full complement of native plants and animals, re-establish natural disturbances, stabilize soil, and connect habitat with surrounding watersheds.

Wildlife Corridors — Identify critical existing or potential wildlife corridors between core reserves, protect them, and mange them for ecosystem connectivity.