Club of Amsterdam Journal, April 2024, Issue 263

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Lead Article

Ai Weiwei says art that can be replicated by AI is ‘meaningless’ – philosopher explains what that means for the future of art
by Maria Serban, University of East Anglia

Article 01

Different Forms of Intelligence
by Jordan B Peterson Clips

The Future Now Show

Quantum Relations Intelligence - The Breakthrough
with Hardy Schloer & Katie Schultz

Article 02

This Is What the Earth Sounds Like From Space!
by V101 SPACE

News about the Future

> World's first photovoltaic road surfacing
> The Future of Pool Safety

Article 03

by Pattern Energy Group

Recommended Book

The Sustainable Design Book
by Rebecca Proctor

Article 04

Ecosophy: Nature’s Guide to a Better World
by Elisabet Sahtouris, PhD

Climate Change Success Story

Sustainable Furniture

This Guy Is Making Furniture and Buildings out of Your Trash
How to turn seaweed into furniture
A different way to make sustainable furniture
This Guy Is Making Furniture and Buildings out of Your Trash
How we design sustainable furniture - Our circular design principles

What is a sustainable furniture?

THE PLUS // Jan Christian Vestre about the world's most environmentally friendly furniture factory
The Plus: BIG and Vestre unveil “the world’s most sustainable furniture factory”
Sustainable furniture production for a greener house

How to Shop for Sustainable Furniture
Material Bank Europe
Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute

Futurist Portrait

Rick Griffith
Optimist Futurist

Ai Weiwei, Artificial Intelligence, Arts, Awakening, Cosmos,
Design, Ecosophy, Gaia, Innovation, Magnetic Field, Morocco,
New Mexico, PHILOSOPHY, Production, Quantum Relations
, Renewable Energy, SCIENCE, Seaweed, Solar
Energy, Space, Sustainability, Sustainable Furniture, Wind


Felix B Bopp
Producer, The Future Now Show
Founder & Publisher, Club of Amsterdam

Website statistics for
March 2024:





Elisabet Sahtouris: "Story, in the modern world, lost its importance as we assumed that science could tell us the truth, while story never did. But science was long based on the assumption of a reality independent of humans - a material universe that could be studied without interfering in it in any way. When physicists discovered that all the universe was composed of energy waves and that every instance of our human reality was a wave function collapsed from sheer probability by a conscious observer, everything changed."

Hardy Schloer: "The human brain links and processes huge amounts of data every second of every day. To do this, it uses neurons that learn, calculate, and communicate independently but are constantly interacting, creating intelligent information. Based on this, we have developed the QRI data model, a method in which data autonomously organizes itself."

Rick Griffith: "It really does matter what you do, who you do it for, with, and how you connect to the impact of your output.”

Lead Article:

Ai Weiwei says art that can be replicated by AI is ‘meaningless’ – philosopher explains what that means for the future of art
by Maria Serban, University of East Anglia


Maria Serban



Ai Weiwei, China's most famous dissident and artist, has called art that can be easily replicated by artificial intelligence (AI) "meaningless". What I find most striking about this comment is how it manages to look both backwards into the intricate corridors of art history and forwards into the uncertain future of the art world.

Does Ai Weiwei mean that AI should make us rethink our appreciation of the works of art of the past? Or is AI so powerful that it should shape the mission of future artists?

The undertones of this double challenge are familiar to philosophers of art, who have, at times, seriously entertained the claim that art can come to an end.

Exploring art's goal

Among the most famous and influential voices are G. W. Hegel in the early 19th century and Arthur Danto in the late 20th century. Both have argued that while artworks can continue to be produced in great numbers - and perhaps even in new and exciting ways - there is a sense in which the progress of art has reached its peak.

According to their arguments, art has "ended" because it has completed its goal. This claim might seem obscure to a contemporary audience, but what both Hegel and Danto were getting at is pretty simple.

Portrait of G.W Hegel

G.W Hegel was a prominent philosopher of art.
Alte Nationalgalerie

If you think about art as having some sort of innermost goal, then you can imagine that at some point in time, that goal has been attained. Art always does something in that it has an effect. An effect on the artist creating it, on its audience and ultimately on the world. But that intended overall effect can change.

Danto claimed that looking into the history of art, we can extract a narrative, or a story, about how art has achieved its goal.

The first narrative, capturing centuries of art history from classical Greek sculpture to Renaissance paintings, was focused on verisimilitude - here art's goal was to create realistic representations of its subject.

The second of art's narratives, Danto believed, was triggered by a crisis which came from the technological advancement brought by the camera. Since art's first goal - of creating perfect representations - had been superseded, art needed a new one. The second goal was to enquire into what art itself could be, seeking out its own limits.

The works of various modernist artists - such as Pablo Picasso's The Aficionado (1912) or Wassily Kandinsky's Bustling Aquarelle (1923), up to Andy Warhol's Brillo Boxes (1964) - could then be understood as a quest for establishing what it means for an object to be an artwork and asking: "What is the meaning of art itself?"

Writing in 1967, Danto believed that even this second goal had been fulfilled - but perhaps its repercussions haven't quite been felt yet.

A third goal for art

This is where I think Weiwei's new perspective is refreshing. It seems to suggest that AI technology might be pushing us towards a new goal for art. The new challenge would be establishing what a truly digital future of art might look like - and what our human contribution to it might be.

We can then ask how art can be meaningful again in our AI-shaped social worlds. And what the role of the artist should be in creating this meaning.

Philosophers of various convictions, from John Dewey to Kendall Walton, have pointed to such a solution for a long time. We can create new meaning for art by exploring new forms of expression - by doing new things with both new and old tools.

Art not only adapts to new tools and technology, it does something new with them, and in that process, it has the potential to become something new itself.

Ai Weiwei himself touches upon this in one of his quotations in his book Weiwei-isms (2012), when he says that art is: "About freedom of expression, a new way of communication. It is never about exhibiting in museums or about hanging it on the wall ... I don't think anybody can separate art from politics."

The subtle slide here, from new forms of expression to new ways of contributing to political conversations, prompts another important question: how can art contribute to political conversations in distinctive ways?

In his new book, Artists Remake the World: A Contemporary Art Manifesto, philosopher Vid Simoniti suggests a possible answer. He claims that art provides a distinct mode of political expression which enables audiences to reflect on central issues while momentarily setting aside binary judgments of right or wrong.

Art permits engagement with political matters without imposing the burden of adopting a specific stance. It is moored to the real world, but allows also for an open-ended space where new positions can be imagined, explored and inhabited. Could AI create those artistic spaces with us, or for us? Perhaps confronting this challenge could set a new goal for the digital art of the future.


Maria Serban, Lecturer in Philosophy, University of East Anglia


This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.


Article 01

Different Forms of Intelligence
by Jordan B Peterson Clips

How highly correlated are different forms of intelligence?


Jordan Bernt Peterson

Dr. Jordan B. Peterson is an author, psychologist, online educator, and Professor Emeritus at the University of Toronto. The Jordan B Peterson podcast frequently tops the charts in the Education category. He has written three books, Maps of Meaning, an academic work, presenting a new scientifically-grounded theory of religious and political belief, and the bestselling 12 Rules for Life, and Beyond Order, which have sold more than seven million copies.

With his wife, Tammy, Dr. Peterson’s international lecture tours have sold out more than 400 venues, providing live insight into the structure of mythology and narrative to hundreds of thousands of people.

For twenty years, he taught some of the most highly regarded courses at Harvard and the University of Toronto, while publishing more than a hundred well-cited scientific papers with his students and co-authors.




The Future Now Show

Quantum Relations Intelligence - The Breakthrough
with Hardy Schloer & Katie Schultz


Hardy Schloer engages in a discussion about quantum relations intelligence and its distinction from traditional AI models. Hardy emphasizes the need to understand the core concept of intelligence before implementing AI and criticizes current AI models for lacking true innovation. He also shares his insights on the functionality of the human brain, suggesting it stores sensations and undergoes changes whenever there is a sensation and further discusses the process of how the brain learns and understands through sensations and associations. - AI summary by Zoom








QRI Introduction






Hardy F. Schloer
Founder & CEO of Alpha Centauri International

Cognitive Intelligence by Alpha Centauri Group
L1-01, Cyberview CoPlace 5, Block 3710, Persiaran APEC, Cyber 8, 63000 Cyberjaya, Selangor, Malaysia

Dubai Silicon Oasis, DDP Building A2 Dubai, United Arab Emirates



Schultz (Miss Metaverse™)
Futurist and Content Creator
Bangkok, Thailand & Cary, North Carolina, USA

Felix B Bopp
Producer, The Future Now Show

The Future Now Show

You can find The Future Now Show also at

LinkedIn: The Future Now Show Group
YouTube: The Future Now Show Channel


Article 02

This Is What the Earth Sounds Like From Space!
by V101 SPACE


3 Nov 2022
The European Space Agency (ESA) recently released 5 minutes of haunting, crackling audio. Revealing what Earth's magnetic field sounds like. Called the Magnetosphere, it is generated deep within the Earth's interior, at its core. It extends out into space, creating a strong protective shield against things such as charged particles zipping out of the Sun, called the solar wind. And Without this powerful magnetic field, Earth would likely be a barren, cold, dry world. The audio clip you are about to experience might sound like the stuff of nightmares, but sit back, relax and listen to the strange creaking, crackling and rumbling of our planet's protective shield. This is the sound of the Earth's magnetic field.

Find out more about this audio clip: ESA






News about the Future

> World's first photovoltaic road surfacing
> The Future of Pool Safety

World's first photovoltaic road surfacing

Wattway is manufactured with a new type of solar panel that is amazingly thin (a few millimeters thick) and solid. The photovoltaic panels are glued to the existing surface of roads, bicycle paths, parking lots, etc., without the need for major civil engineering work. Wattway can produce electricity without encroaching on agricultural land and natural landscapes.

Each panel is made up of conventional photovoltaic cells which transform solar energy into electricity. These extremely fragile cells are coated in a multilayer substrate composed of resins and polymers, sufficiently translucent to let in sunlight and resistant enough to withstand vehicle traffic. As for the surface in contact with tires, it is treated to provide the same grip as conventional road mixes.

The collaboration between Colas, a world leader in the construction and maintenance of transport
infrastructure, and INES, the French solar energy center of global renown, which brings together teams
from CEA and the University of Savoie, has made it possible to combine road construction techniques with
those of photovoltaic production. The partnership resulted in an innovation: a composite material, consisting
of photovoltaic cells, inserted in resin layers which are resistant and provide tire grip. The material is also
able to adapt to thermal dilatations of the roadway and bear vehicle traffic.

Wattway, a trafficable photovoltaic panel that is glued on existing roadways, is a breakthrough innovation
because the panels, which are connected to electrical equipment, provide a second use to roads: the
production of renewable energy.

The Wattway panels are manufactured in Châtellerault, France by VMH, a company that acquired the
photovoltaic business of the initial manufacturer, SNA. VMH is a recognized photovoltaic manufacturer in
France, and its expertise is continuing to contribute to optimizing the technology in Wattway.



The Future of Pool Safety

Using vision-based analytics and cutting-edge artificial intelligence, PoolScout detects and distinguishes toddlers (up to four years-old) from other people, pets and objects in and around the pool.

The PoolScout app also shows your camera’s LiveStream in real time, giving you constant reassurance that the system is active and working, keeping your pool safe.

PoolScout automatically identifies specific unsafe scenarios and raises only relevant alerts to enhance pool safety. For example, PoolScout will determine a toddler is unattended if detected in the pool area with no adult in sight.PoolScout Service is NOT intended to replace adult supervision at all times

Why is PoolScout Unique?

    • Only system to distinguish between Toddlers / Adults / Pets for reliable alerts
    • Smart AI notifications & alerts based on scenario understanding
    • ‘Learns’ over time and continually improves
    • Detects if a person is underwater for 10+ seconds (in Beta) Auto re-arm (unless shut down)
    • Designed for pool owners with more features coming soon!


Article 03

by Pattern Energy Group

SunZia Wind is a 3.5-gigawatt wind farm
being developed in New Mexico, United States, in Lincoln County, San Miguel County and Torrance County.
When completed, this will be the largest wind project in the western hemisphere.

Full construction underway on SunZia Transmission and SunZia Wind, bringing clean power to 3 million Americans and over $20 billion in expected economic impacts

Albuquerque, New Mexico, December 27, 2023 – Pattern Energy Group LP (Pattern Energy), a leader in renewable energy and transmission infrastructure, has closed an $11 billion non-recourse financing and begun full construction of SunZia Transmission and SunZia Wind, which together is the largest clean energy infrastructure project in U.S. history.

SunZia Transmission is a 550-mile ±525 kV high-voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission line between central New Mexico and south-central Arizona with the capacity to transport 3,000 MW of clean, reliable, and affordable electricity across Western states. SunZia Transmission will deliver clean power generated by Pattern Energy’s 3,515 MW SunZia Wind facility, the largest wind project in the Western Hemisphere, which is being constructed across Torrance, Lincoln, and San Miguel Counties in New Mexico.

This groundbreaking financing includes an integrated construction loan and letter of credit facility, two separate term facilities, an operating phase letter of credit facility, an innovative tax equity term loan facility and a holding company loan facility.

“Our hope is this successful financing of the largest clean energy infrastructure project in American history serves as an example for other ambitious renewable infrastructure initiatives that are needed to accelerate our transition to a carbon free future,” said Hunter Armistead, CEO of Pattern Energy. “We are very grateful to all of our financial partners who are backing SunZia as part of this record-setting project financing. Construction is well underway on this historic project that will deliver clean power with a generation profile that complements abundant solar generation available across the Western United States. We’d specifically like to thank our shareholders for their support of Pattern’s efforts to deliver this critical project and meaningfully advance the world’s energy transition.”

For the approximately $8.8 billion construction and term facilities, BNP Paribas, Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank, CoBank, ACB; Desjardins Group, Export Development Canada, ING Capital LLC, Intesa Sanpaolo S.p.A., New York Branch, KFW IPEX-Bank, MUFG Bank, Ltd., National Bank of Canada, Natixis Corporate & Investment Banking, Societe Generale, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation and Wells Fargo Securities, LLC acted as Initial Coordinating Lead Arrangers and Joint Bookrunners. Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, The Bank of Nova Scotia and Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank, Limited, New York Branch acted as Coordinating Lead Arrangers.

BNP Paribas, Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank, MUFG Bank, Ltd., Societe Generale, and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation are acting as co-syndication agents. MUFG Bank, Ltd. is acting as Administrative Agent and Deutsche Bank Trust and Agency Services is acting as collateral and deposit agent for the transaction.

The financings are structured as green loan facilities in alignment with the Green Loan Principles and BNP Paribas, Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank, Desjardins Group, ING Capital LLC, Intesa Sanpaolo S.p.A, New York Branch, National Bank of Canada, Natixis Corporate & Investment Banking, Societe Generale, and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, and Wells Fargo Securities, LLC acted as Co-Green Loan Structuring Agents.

A $2.25 billion tax equity term loan facility was provided by Banco Santander, S.A, New York Branch and Santander Bank N.A. (SBNA) as Joint Coordinating Lead Arrangers. Bank of America, GE Vernova’s Financial Services business, Natixis Corporate & Investment Banking and Royal Bank of Canada acted as Joint Lead Arrangers. SBNA acted as administrative agent. The facility monetizes project tax credit attributes.

Nomura Securities International, Inc., and CPPIB Credit Investments III Inc., a subsidiary of Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPP Investments) has participated in the final piece of the financing, a holding company facility to support initial equity capital for the project.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP served as borrower counsel for the Borrower while Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP served as senior lenders counsel to the senior facilities lenders and the holding company facility lenders and Milbank LLP represented the tax equity term loan lenders. Holland & Hart LLP and Rodey, Dickason, Sloan, Akin, & Robb, P.A. served as local counsel for the Borrower, and Snell & Wilmer L.L.P. served as local counsel for the lenders.

“SunZia represents an important step forward in the global transition to renewable energy and we are pleased to support Pattern as it works to bring this project toward completion,” said Bill Rogers, Managing Director, Global Head of Sustainable Energies, CPP Investments. “CPP Investments’ ability to provide a unique combination of flexible capital and deep expertise places us well to support projects like SunZia, which we expect will provide attractive, risk-adjusted returns to the CPP Fund over the long term.”

“We congratulate Hunter and the entire Pattern team on today’s milestone,” said Yakov Tsveig, Principal of Riverstone Holdings LLC. “The SunZia project represents the latest, largest, and most exciting part of the journey we started with management in the formation of Pattern in 2009 and when we made our first joint investment into New Mexico in 2017. We are grateful for the conviction shown by our numerous financing partners, helping unlock significant value and positioning Pattern for its next stage of growth.

“This financing is a testament to the commitment of our financing partners to the renewable energy space and to Pattern,” said Daniel Elkort, Executive Vice President at Pattern Energy. “The size and scale of both the SunZia project and this multifaceted financing show that the renewable energy space can secure attractive capital at levels previously only seen in traditional generation.”


Construction is underway on the SunZia Transmission and Wind project in New Mexico

SunZia Wind and Transmission will employ more than 2,000 workers on-site during construction, including heavy equipment operators, electricians, laborers, and others. The project will also utilize the expertise of several industry-leading suppliers and contractors. The EPC Contractor of the transmission line is Quanta Infrastructure Services Group and the HVDC supplier is Hitachi Energy. The EPC contractor for the wind project is Blattner Energy, a Quanta affiliated company. The wind turbines are being supplied by GE Vernova and Vestas.

SunZia Transmission and Pattern Energy have partnered with the New Mexico Renewable Energy Transmission Authority (RETA) on the development of the transmission project in New Mexico.

About Pattern Energy

Pattern Energy is one of the world’s largest privately-owned developers and operators of wind, solar, transmission, and energy storage projects. Its operational portfolio includes 30 renewable energy facilities that use proven, best-in-class technology with an operating capacity of nearly 6,000 MW across North America. Pattern Energy is guided by a long-term commitment to serve customers, protect the environment, and strengthen communities. For more information, visit

Construction on SunZia energy project in New Mexico begins



Recommended Book

The Sustainable Design Book
by Rebecca Proctor



The Sustainable Design Book updates the reader on the latest products and developments in the field of "green" design. Around 300 of the most exciting new products are featured. Q&As with leading designers give insight into trends and key techniques used within the industry, while handy icons highlight each product's sustainability credentials at a glance.

Beginning with a chapter on sustainable materials, the book goes on to cover furniture, lighting, home accessories, and personal accessories, giving readers a broad and current understanding of sustainable design from raw elements through to finished products. Web addresses of designers and retailers make each product easy to source.

This combination of products, profiles and information will make The Sustainable Design Book an unbeatable resource for those aspiring to best practice within the field of sustainable design, as well as students of contemporary product design. Consumers looking for beautiful but environmentally conscious products and accessories will also find this an essential guide.


Rebecca Proctor

Rebecca Proctor writes about fashion and interiors. She is particularly interested in all areas relating to craft, craftsmanship and sustainable design. Rebecca is the author of 1000 New Eco Designs and Where to Find Them and co-author of New Shoes: Contemporary Footwear Design, both published by Laurence King Publishing.

Article 04

Ecosophy: Nature’s Guide to a Better World
by Elisabet Sahtouris, PhD



The most exciting and beneficial things I believe happened to humanity in the past century were physicists’ recognition that “the universe is more like a great thought than like a great machine”1 and astronauts lifting far enough from Earth to see, feel and show us how very much alive our planet is. Those events led to a wonderful sea change from the older - and rather depressing - scientific story of a non-living material universe accidentally giving rise to all within it, devoid of meaning or purpose.

The new view, revealing a conscious universe and a living Earth in which we are co-creators, takes us out of fatalistic victimhood to becoming consciously active agents of our destiny! It lifts the fog of our self-image as consumers of stuff, giving us awesome rights and responsibilities to live out our full co-creative humanity.

We humans always have been and probably always will be storytellers. Whether we create our stories from the revelations of religions or the researches of science, or the inspirations of great artists and writers or the experiences of our own lives, we live by the stories we believe and tell to ourselves and others.

Story, in the modern world, lost its importance as we assumed that science could tell us the truth, while story never did. But science was long based on the assumption of a reality independent of humans - a material universe that could be studied without interfering in it in any way. When physicists discovered that all the universe was composed of energy waves and that every instance of our human reality was a wave function collapsed from sheer probability by a conscious observer, everything changed.

It meant that our world is produced in our consciousness - that realities are not fixed scenarios in which we grope our way about, but the ever-changing creations we ourselves ‘bring forth’2 both individually and collectively through our beliefs and actions. In other words, a universe “more like a great thought than like a great machine” is more like a storytelling universe we make up as we go than like a stable physical reality in which we grope our way about.

Every living being is connected intimately, and from this intimacy follows the capacity of identification and as its natural consequences, practice of non-violence… Now is the time to share with all life on our maltreated Earth through the deepening identification with life forms and the greater units, the ecosystems, and Gaia, the fabulous, old planet of ours. ~ Arne Naess

Much more than a simple ecology, ecosophy is a wisdom-spirituality of the earth. ‘The new balance’ is not so much between man and Earth, but between matter and spirit, between spatio-temporality and consciousness. Ecosophy is not simply a ‘science of the earth’ (ecology) and even ‘wisdom on earth,’ but the ‘wisdom of the earth itself’ that occurs when a man knows how to listen with love.
~ Raimon Pannikar

As conscious observers, we tell each other our realities as stories; as conscious actors, we create our realities. It takes time for the new scientific stories of a conscious living universe and Earth to percolate through society. But the time is ripe now for evolving our stories from that meaningless purposeless decaying old universe to a conscious, living universe and planet Earth. We must become active co-creators of our own reality once we realize we have the power - and the responsibility - to change it intentionally, day by day, even minute by minute.

Philosophers of science have long made it clear that science can only give us useful hypotheses, not truths.3 Even the ever-more-obsolete scientific beliefs and findings told us a story, and a very powerful story at that. It told us we lived in a one-way universe beginning with a Big Bang and running down ever since like a battery depleted in the process of powering all the random collisions that gave us galaxies and our world. Some of those collisions, we were told, brought about certain molecules that sprung rather magically to life, but life - so the (largely Darwinian) story goes - became a struggle for survival in fierce competition before the running-down tide called ‘entropy’ eventually sweeps all life away.

It was a tragically misleading story. We abandoned community to individualism and turned our human civilization into a competitive ‘Get what you can, while you can’ globalized shopping mall of stuff. We have been frantically chopping down, drilling, digging and scraping up Earth’s ‘resources’ as if - or rather, because - we expected no tomorrow. We have literally put ourselves into the Sixth Great Extinction and are the first of Earth’s species to create such disaster. Only Earth’s very first creatures, her most ancient bacteria, came close to our destructiveness, causing both global hunger and global pollution in turn. They, however, solved both those problems, as we would do well to note!4

Awakening and Maturation

The awakening of humanity from this depressingly hopeless creation story - surely the bleakest in the history of human cultures - comes in the nick of time, just when our rapacious activity has created the ‘Perfect Storm’ of crises in energy economy and ecology all at once. It is as though we are taking a collective Big Breath and releasing the burden of this story with a huge sigh. Just as everything seems hopeless, we suddenly have cause to Hope. “We are the Ones we’ve been waiting for!” has become the mantra empowering us not to wait for saviors but to be them.

Conscious creation through changing our stories, our beliefs, becomes the means by which we change ourselves - even our own genes5 - as well as the world we experience. Technology developed in the fiercely competitive mode has turned to seemingly endless Internet capacity for cooperation and collaboration. We talk to each other, empower each other, build community, become human again after an interlude of trying to turn ourselves into cogs within the wheels of industry, of mechanized society, even of a clockwork universe.

We know there is something obsolete, something hopelessly immature, about the competing and fighting and grabbing going on at the highest levels of human society. After all, those are the very things we teach our children not to do to each other. The Occupy Movement that began in North Africa, moved to the Middle East, came ‘round the Mediterranean to Spain and swept across to America was a natural outburst against such destructive and immature behavior. In many places, Occupy has been a peaceful and overtly loving process.6 It is most surely part of the wake-up call to humanity.

Love and other values lost to consumerism are pouring back into our lives like fresh water. Community as a concept, finally having lost the taint of its association with communism, is in wonderful revival as local self-sufficiency and sustainability become very human and very practical goals in an uncertain world. Caring and sharing are replacing competing and grabbing, in no small measure due to the increasing empowerment of women, who have always held these values. Indeed, many of us see this as a growing-up, as the maturation of humanity. As an evolution biologist and futurist, I find this view entirely compatible with my own theory of a repeating evolutionary cycle of maturation.7

Values such as caring and sharing made little sense in a meaningless, purposeless material universe operating by mathematically describable scientific laws, including the law of entropy. But western science is not the only source of universal law and there is a considerable revival of the Perennial Philosophy - the universal truths found common to all religions and popularized in the West by Aldous Huxley, 8 as well as other compilations of universal laws honored in various ancient cultures (e.g., Vedic Indian and ancient Egyptian as attributed to Hermes Trismegistos, elaborated in contemporary scientific terms by Marja de Vries).9 These ancient laws, based on human inquiries into cosmology, have to do with Oneness, Correspondence (as in ‘As above, so below’), Vibrations (cosmic energy waves), Polarity, Rhythm, Cause and Effect and Dynamic Balance. Further, such laws are in complete harmony with contemporary findings in physics.

Getting back to story, mythologer Joseph Campbell showed us over a quarter century ago that certain themes of mythology were also common to many ancient cultures, notably the Hero’s Journey.10 Campbell called for a new myth for all current cultures, for all Earth - a call I believe we are now answering as we co-create a new future.

The story most often cited as the quintessential Hero’s Journey is that of Odysseus’ wild and thrilling adventures. But the end of the story seems almost a let-down. We are relieved that Penelope’s faithfulness is rewarded, but Odysseus, with his son’s help, must continue to battle with his wife’s erstwhile suitors to restore order where disorder had reigned in his absence. Thus, the story ends on a note of relief and exhaustion. We are left without a clue to how Ithaca might become a stable, sustainable society. Penelope does not seem very important; we only know that Ithaca’s strong leader is back and all challengers dead for the time being.

In short, the Hero’s Journey, like the Darwinian evolution story, is one of competitive youthful adventure and ends with no guide for building a mature society that thrives in peaceful prosperity. We must now write the second phase of the Hero’s Journey story.

There is a lovely story attributed to Mark Twain, though never verified, of a youth who leaves home for his own adventures and returns, finding to his surprise that his father has gained considerable wisdom in his absence. We smile. It is the son who has changed. Whatever the actual source, the story conveys a kind of folk wisdom about youth and maturity - that a youth cannot perceive the wisdom gained by experience until he becomes experienced himself. We humans now stand on the brink of maturity, still in adolescent crisis, but just mature enough to seek ancient wisdoms for guidance.

A History of Maturation

For me, that wisdom is inherent in the nearly four billion years of Earth’s evolution. Species after species, from the most ancient bacteria to us, have gone through a maturation cycle from individuation and fierce competition to mature collaboration and peaceful interdependence.11 The maturation tipping point in this cycle occurs when species reach the point where it is more energy efficient - thus, less costly and more truly economic - to feed and otherwise collaborate with their enemies than to kill them off.

In the case of primeval bacteria that had Earth to themselves for almost two billion years - fully half of all biological evolution - the tipping point crossing led to evolving the nucleated cell as a giant bacterial cooperative. These cells, being new on Earth, then went through their own competitive youth for a billion years until they crossed the tipping point into maturity by evolving multi-celled creatures. Humanity crossed this tipping point when tribes built the first cities collectively as centers of worship and trade that we are only now discovering in South America, Africa, Asia and Europe.

These city cooperatives too have been experiencing their own youth as cities became the centers for competitive empire-building over thousands of years up to national and now corporate empires. We have at last reached a new tipping point where enmities are more expensive in all respects than friendly collaboration, where planetary limits of exploiting nature have been reached. It is high time for us to cross this tipping point into our global communal maturity of ecosophy.

Exploring Ecosophy

‘Economy’ once meant the careful, efficient management of households and larger human communities to provide for people as well as possible with the least expenditure, but industrial competition led to excesses that resulted in a complete perversion of the word. Most economists adopted the Darwinian story of fierce competition in scarcity that Darwin admittedly got from his friend Thomas Malthus. As Darwin described his own theory in The Origin of Species: “This is the doctrine of Malthus applied with manifold force to the whole animal and vegetable kingdoms.”12

Malthus was the first professor of history and political economy at the East India Company’s Haileybury College in England. The East India Company was the first true multinational corporation in the world, with British, French, Dutch, Portuguese, Swedish and Danish national charters. Malthus’ mission was to assay the world’s resources, which led him to the famous conclusion that human populations always outstrip their food supplies and are thus necessarily competitive in the struggle for survival - an observation that justified the exploitation of other countries’ resources in such inevitable competition for ‘survival of the fittest.’ Thus, we really should talk about economists adopting the Darwinian/Malthusian hypothesis of fierce competition in scarcity and of human nature as inherently competitive.

To explain my intention for ‘ecosophy,’ let me go back a few decades to tell a personal story. During the first Clinton administration in the early ‘90s, I lived in Washington DC and attended the meetings of the President’s Commission on Sustainability with great interest and hope. At the end of one lengthy debate on whether the commission needed to include economics, when its mandate was only concern with environmental issues, I was fortunate to be given three minutes to address the commission.

As the debate had been heavily weighted against including economics and I had so very little time, I pointed out the etymology of the two words, economy and ecology. Both words come from the ancient Greek word for household: oikos (pronounced ee’ kos, at least in modern Greek). The word ‘economy’ (oikos + nomos = oikonomia) means the rule or governance of the household. The word ‘ecology’ (oikos + logos = oikologia) means the creative organization of the household.

I asked, “How can we talk about only one of the most important aspects of running our human household without the other? The problem is not whether to integrate economy with ecology, but that we have separated them.” I added my hope that they invite a child and a Native American grandmother to their future deliberations - the child to remind them for whom they were working; the grandmother to remind them of the need for wisdom, as well as consideration of future generations, preferably seven of them. That completed my three minutes.

It is in concert with these root meanings of ecology and economy that I give the word ‘ecosophy’ (oikos + sophia = oikosophia) the meaning it would have had in ancient Greece, had it come into use there:

Ecosophy: wisely run household of human affairs
or, even more simply:
Wise Society

This is somewhat different from the meaning of ecosophy as introduced by Arne Naess, father of Deep Ecology, who used it as a contraction for ‘ecological philosophy’ and stressed its connection with respect for Nature and the inherent worth of beings other than human.13

French psychotherapist and philosopher Felix Guattari is also credited with coining the word ‘ecosophy.’ Much influenced by Gregory Bateson (author of Steps to an Ecology of Mind), Guattari’s ecosophical model follows Bateson’s model of nature as a cybernetic system of interconnected feedback loops and nonlinear causality.

The aspect of Guattari’s model I agree with is that it includes three different levels of ecosophy that must be integrated - the human psyche, culture and nature - which clearly reflects the ancient Greek conception of Nature described in the section to follow on The Concept of Cosmos, where I will elaborate on this matter of levels.

The aspect of his model I cannot accept is that each of these levels is cybernetic - in his own words, an ‘abstract machine.’ Cybernetics is an advanced form of mechanism, but it is still mechanism, which I consider a poor metaphor for any living system - a metaphor missing the system’s very essence.14 Guattari argues that cybernetic machinery, which introduced the capacity to collect all manner of feedback to increase control, has indeed, with the advent of the Internet, made elite control more insidious and effective than ever.15

He is right that elites have learned to control society by deliberately working to construct society itself as machinery, and teach people that it is machinery, because machinery can be controlled. That does not mean that psyche, society and nature are machinery!

Mechanism and Organism

The confusion of mechanism and organism is extremely widespread in today’s world, even among scientists, especially those in Artificial Intelligence (AI). This accounts for such beliefs as that computers and/or robots will eventually come to life, that living cells can be assembled from molecular components, etc. Fritjof Capra has done an excellent job of debunking these notions in his book, The Web of Life.

I believe the same mechanistic reasoning, conscious or not, was behind the founding fathers of science modeling the universe as a clockworks and Descartes believing that even animals were mechanisms devoid of feeling. As inventors of machinery themselves, these founders of science completely understood and controlled it; therefore, a mechanical universe would also be understandable and its forces subject to control at least locally on Earth. No wonder they projected their engineering abilities onto God as ‘Grand Engineer.’ Unfortunately, there were no ‘founding mothers of science’ to temper their hubris and work for a better understanding of life.

So, while I honor and incorporate Naess’ deep ecology and Pannikar’s emphasis on spirit in my version of ecosophy, as well as honoring Guattari for seeing psyche, culture and nature as levels of ecosophy, it is not possible from my perspective to promote an ecosophy in terms of cybernetic mechanics.

Mechanism and organism are created and function by completely different kinds of logic.16 So while I honor Naess and Pannikar as ecosophy pioneers with a deep understanding of and manifested respect for all nature as alive and Naess’, Pannikar’s and Guattari’s respective pleas for a human society fully integrated into the rest of nature, ecosophy for my purposes is very simply, as I said above, what I believe it would have been in ancient Greece given the meanings of the words ecology and economy.

Ecosophy would have been oikosophia, the ‘wise household’ - the human household in which economy (including finance) and ecology are not separated because they are understood as aspects of a single living system, or living economy, that is both organized and governed wisely. Thus, in an ecosophy, ecology cannot be made subservient to economics by treating nature simply as resources for human use.

Ecosophy in Context

In my 2013 presentation to global corporate leaders at the Xynteo Foundation’s annual Performance Theatre event held in Istanbul, I thanked these high-ranking corporate executives and board members for having globalized the economy through competition and creative initiative, as that was a necessary evolutionary step for humanity, inviting them to lead the way now to a sustainable future based on peaceful cooperation. I then apologized for my field of science, for providing economists and business leaders only the Darwinian story that has guided them throughout this expansive industrial and globalizing phase, while giving no guidance for the necessary next phase that must now be created with extreme speed.

As I had only five minutes to speak, I followed this with my elevator pitch on how this mature cooperative phase in Nature comes about and why it is sustainable, as well as repeatable for developing mature living economies. (This and the Washington DC talk described above were the shortest I have ever given, and thus the most challenging!)

In separating economy and ecology, both are failing us now. Economy because it cannot get beyond its youthful competition now in runaway mode; ecology - unfortunately made subservient to economy - because ecosystems are taken to be no more than resources for human use. This misunderstanding is what has brought the current ‘Perfect Storm’ of crises to our world, and we must understand now that it should be the other way around - that our human economy must be fitted harmoniously into nature’s ecology.

We are in desperate need of this wisdom as the governing principle of our human household. We must review, re-conceive and reinvent our human way of life beyond the separations and misconceptions preventing us from creating a wise way of life. Thomas Berry, walking in the footsteps of Teilhard de Chardin, one of the authors of the word ‘ecology,’ said cogently: “We cannot tell the human story without telling the Earth’s story.”17

Berry, like Naess, well understood that we humans are, for better or worse, solidly embedded in and dependent on Earth as one of its myriad species of living creatures, however much our unique brand of consciousness permits us to pretend otherwise - that we are somehow apart from and superior in intelligence to our Earth, that our technologies are superior to her living designs.

John Cairns, Jr. asked: Since the human economy is totally dependent upon the biosphere and humans are dependent on the biospheric life support system, why are [we] tolerant of the type of economic growth that damages the biosphere? He then suggested that Humankind should only engage in activities that nurture the biosphere.18

Such overarching holistic frameworks are needed to develop a coherent ecosophic strategy for living economies,19 which can fruitfully be based on Nature’s lessons for growing sustainable abundance through cooperative creativity without further physical growth. Nature has role-modeled the way and reveals it to us if only we look. If we follow her way, I believe we will find it to be the way to a genuine leap in humanity’s maturation from economy to ecosophy - even a leap in Earth’s evolution by way of her humans as we truly become cooperative, wise Homo sapiens sapiens!

Photography by Robert Gendler. Cosmos is the organizational pattern of the universe as our greatest context and cosmos is also the organizational pattern inherent in a human society, as well as its collective of people per se.

Cosmos, Philosophy and Science

In modern Greece, as in ancient times, the word cosmos is used for nature’s grand universe as well as for a smaller ‘universe’ of people - a populace or ‘the public’ (in Greek, a polis, from which we get our word ‘politics’). Cosmos is the organizational pattern of the universe as our greatest context and cosmos is also the organizational pattern inherent in a human society, as well as its collective of people per se.

In ancient Greece, this relatedness of nature and society also held for the human mind or psyche that is preoccupied with them, so all three - universal nature, human society and individual psyche/mind - were seen as embedded levels of our complete world, and all three were based on the same organizational principles and laws of operation or conduct.20

In this truly cosmic model, the Greeks believed that if we knew how the greater cosmos was organized, we would know how to organize our human cosmos. The greater cosmos came out of chaos, which was not seen as the disorder for which we use the word chaos, but as the unpatterned no-thing-ness of the universal source, the infinite potential (chaos, more as in today’s chaos theory) within which all arises. Thus, the matter of how cosmos-as-order arose and functions is of supreme importance for human life.

To create a harmonious human cosmos within nature’s greater cosmos, the Greeks believed that the human mind and emotions would have to be trained to function by the principles of harmonious cosmic organization.21 Epic poems, ancient Greek drama, and eventually logic were all teaching tools. A contemporary BBC television series on the ancient Greeks begins with the intentional relationship between Greek drama and democracy.22 Dramas about terrible tragedies wove together the levels of cosmos in order to teach people democracy - what most difficult or horrific situations could befall people, what decisions had to be made, what consequences must be dealt with when bad decisions were made, how cosmic influences moved between levels. Comedy taught similar lessons by spoofing how people actually behaved in order to promote better behavior, as in Aristophanes’ plays Lysistrata and Women in Parliament, in both of which women scheme to make peace when men fail to do so.

Another familiar ancient Greek word, philosophy (philosophia from philos sophias), meant love of wisdom and was used to designate the pursuit of wisdom by studying the natural world for guidance in human affairs. The Greeks assumed that the study of nature would reveal patterns of relationships applicable to human society - patterns that would help people organize and conduct their own lives, the lives of their families and their society wisely. Thus, philosophy included all the studies later given the designation of natural science, the term ‘science’ coming into use only in the Middle Ages.

When I discovered this ancient Greek goal of science, well after becoming a scientist, it resonated deeply within me as the very mission that had driven me to the study and practice of science. I believed that scientific understanding of nature, including our own human nature, would help us live on Earth more intelligently and peacefully. Sadly, science had abandoned that mission long ago when philosophy became an independent field while the systematic study of nature became ‘science,’ from the Latin scientia, a word implying knowledge and the analytical separation or division of things into parts to understand them.

Wisdom went with the name - out of science and (presumably) into philosophy. Philosophy became a very broad pursuit in its own right, based on thinking instead of experimentation or other formal research. Its foundation is widely accepted as reason and logic, but it also includes values, beliefs and principles in its domain. In everyday use, it is the way we think about and reflect on life and how we steer our lives in terms of our values. In that sense, we all are - or should all be - philosophers.

The ancient Greeks were like many indigenous cultures have been, and like some still are, in their recognition of levels - individual, family/household, society, cosmos - as repeating the same patterns and principles as embedded living systems at different scales. As the perennial philosophy mentioned earlier has it, ‘As above, so below’ - now even becoming part of western science via the fractals and holograms increasingly used by physicists and biologists in describing nature.

Ecosophy can not only unite our separate categories of economics, ecology, finance, politics and governance, but can also unite science and spirituality, and bring human values into the entire human enterprise. In its core focus on wisdom, it must especially draw upon the feminine concerns with well-being, with caring and sharing as long promoted by, for example, Hazel Henderson23 and Riane Eisler.24


Studying physiology in a PhD program in the 1950’s, J.B. Cannon’s book The Wisdom of the Body (1932) was still a text, though a term such as ‘wisdom’ was soon after dropped as anthropomorphic - a human-centered view to be eschewed by ‘objective’ scientists. I pointed out that we were expected to take a mechanomorphic view of things - to see nature as machinery, which was actually illogical as machinery was the invention of humans (anthropos), making mechanomorphism secondary to anthropomorphism. Such commentary was not very welcome in graduate school.

Nevertheless, the wisdom and even ethics of the body - of all our bodies - are remarkable in endless ways. Some 50 to 100 trillion cells, each as complex as a large human city, get along amazingly well. All are agreed to send aid to any ailing part of the body immediately. No organ dominates - not even the brain - or expects other organs to become like itself. While blood is made from raw material cells in bone marrow ‘mines’ all over the body and becomes a ‘finished product’ when purified and oxygenated in the lungs, the heart distributes it equally to all those trillions of cells with no hoarding or profit.

Further, the ATP (adenosine triphosphate) ‘currency’ in our cells is given out freely by the mitochondria as banks - thus never as debt money - but carefully regulated to prevent both inflation and deflation. One can go on and on through all the interdependent systems of the body to show it is a genuine ecosophy and a clear corroboration of the Greeks’ belief that studying nature can bring wisdom to how we run our human affairs.

The wisest, most ethical human ecosophy I know is Dr. A.T. Ariyaratne’s Sarvodaya movement in Sri Lanka.25 Founded over half a century ago on the Buddhist principles of inner peace and generosity, this equitable rural development project now involves 15,000 villages, with 5,000 of them running their own banking system and helping the others develop. Businesses, schools, orphanages, community centers and agriculture are all developed to care for everyone’s need and no one’s greed.

In high technology societies, many people are now promoting the observation of nature to learn clean, non-toxic production,26 full recycling,27 ‘Natural Capitalism,’28 ethical markets29 and fair finance.30 Integrating all of these with a myriad peacekeeping and human potential efforts we can see it is possible for us to develop ecosophies.

The perfect storm of crises we now face may well prove to be the challenge that drives us into our greatest evolutionary leap. Economy must be made subservient to ecology if we want to continue our life on Earth as a healthy, embedded global human society. Economy based on principles of a conscious universe’s mature ecosystems, including that of our bodies, becomes Ecosophy. We know deep in our hearts and souls that this must be done; all we need is the courage to lead the way for all!


1. Astrophysicist Sir James Jeans
2. ‘Bring forth’ is the language of the Santiago School of Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela
3. Bateson, Gregory (1980) Mind and Nature. Bantam edition: New York; Harman, Willis & Sahtouris, Elisabet. Biology Revisioned. (1998) North Atlantic Books: Berkeley, CA.
4. See Elisabet Sahtouris’ Celebrating Crisis at
5. See Bruce Lipton’s The Biology of Belief (2005).
6. Occupy Love, a film by Velcrow Ripper.
7. Sahtouris, Elisabet, EarthDance: Living Systems in Evolution (2000) iUniverse Press
8. Huxley, Aldous, The Perennial Philosophy (2004) Harper Perennial Modern Classics edition. Huxley’s distillation of common elements in most religions and philosophies.
9. De Vries, Marja, The Whole Elephant Revealed (2012) Axis Mundi Books, Winchester, UK; Washington, USA
10. Campbell, Joseph with Bill Moyers; ed. Betty Sue Flowers, The Power of Myth (1991) Anchor edition, New York. Based on the 1988 TV series by the same name.
11. See Elisabet Sahtouris’ Celebrating Crisis at, which includes an image of the maturation cycle.
12. Darwin, Charles, The Origin of Species, Introduction.
13. This view has been taken up by the Green Party (as ‘ecological wisdom’) and in the 2010 Cochabamba People’s Accord reached by 35,000 climate activists from over 100 countries. This accord acknowledged Earth as a living being with inherent rights and made humans responsible for respecting and living in harmony with all her beings. After this meeting, the Bolivian President Evo Morales made such Earth rights law in his country, and campaigns are underway to do the same in the Netherlands, the UK, and other countries.
14. In my book EarthDance and elsewhere, I distinguish between organism as autopoietic (self-creating, self-maintaining) and mechanism as allopoietic (other-created and other-maintained; i.e., engineered and repaired by an outside entity). When we use mechanical metaphors for living entities and systems, including economies, we miss the very essence of life.
15. Additional quote: Brian Holmes on Guattari at
“What’s striking is the juxtaposition of scales. The capitalist production system now extends to fully global dimensions, but at the same time it has intensified its grip over humanity to the point of charting out detailed mental models and interaction routines, not only for classes, ethnicities, income groups and local populations, but also for the most intimate behaviors of individuals. The aim is to extract surplus value not only from our labor but also from our inherent sociability, our desires to love, play, flourish and therefore to produce and consume. As most of us have only recently understood, the computerized mapping capacities of integrated world capitalism allow for seamless transitions between macro and micro scales of intervention. Guattari speaks of a shift toward ‘intensive imperialism’ that uproot or deterritorialize individual subjectivities and entire social classes, in order to reconfigure them according to the axioms of globally integrated capital.”
16. In my book EarthDance and elsewhere, I distinguish between organism as autopoietic (self-creating, self-maintaining) and mechanism as allopoietic (other-created and other-maintained; i.e., engineered and repaired by an outside entity). When we use mechanical metaphors for living entities and systems, including economies, we miss the very essence of life.
17. Berry, Thomas, The Dream of the Earth (2006) Sierra Club Books; 2nd edition
18. Cairns, John Jr. “The Human Economy is a Subset of the Biosphere,” Asian J. Exp. Sci., Vol. 24, No. 2, 2010; 269-270.
20. Naddaf, Gerard, The Greek Concept of Nature (2005) SUNY Press, New York.
21. The brain, to the Greeks, was a cooling organ regulating the emotional passions of the heart that clearly drove people’s behavior. (It is interesting that western science now comes to understand the complex neural system of the heart as a second brain. (The Biology of Transcendence; Emotional Intelligence)
22. BBC4, The Ancient Greeks 2013
23. See
26. See and
27. See McDonough-Baumgart’s “cradle to cradle” production at
28. See
29. See
30. See


Elisabet Sahtouris, PhD

Internationally known as a dynamic speaker, Dr. Sahtouris is an evolution biologist, futurist, professor, author and consultant on Living Systems Design. She shows the relevance of biological systems to organizational design in business, government and globalisation. She is a Fellow of the World Business Academy, an advisor to and the Masters in Business program at Schumacher College, also affiliated with the Bainbridge Graduate Institute's MBA program for sustainable business.

Dr. Sahtouris has convened two International Symposia on the Foundations of Science and written about integral cosmologies. Her books include A Walk Through TIme: from Stardust to Us, Biology Revisioned, co-authored with Willis Harman, and EarthDance: Living Systems in Evolution.


Climate Change Success Story

Sustainable Furniture

This Guy Is Making Furniture and Buildings out of Your Trash
National Geographic Live

How many objects in your vicinity contain recycled material? Probably none. Engineer Arthur Huang is trying to change this by designing from trash new materials that can be used to make furniture, buildings, and even airplanes.



Ask a designer - How to turn seaweed into furniture | Sustainable designer furniture
by DW Euromaxx

The Danish designer Jonas Edvard uses seaweed to create sustainable furniture such as chairs and lamps. He gathers his materials straight from the Danish coast of Copenhagen, turning this sustainable substance into designer furniture.


A different way to make sustainable furniture

by ANZ Newsroom

Luke and Alison Collins have incorporated sustainability and flexibility into their custom furniture business.



How we design sustainable furniture - Our circular design principles (ENG Subtitles)
by Flokk

At Flokk, we take our responsibility to the environment seriously. In fact we've been focused on making sustainable furniture since 1993. With our 5III environment concept, we've put together a simple yet effective set of principles which have guided the way we work for 25 years. Find out more by watching this film.




Source: Google

What is a sustainable furniture?
Sustainable furniture should be made from renewable and nontoxic materials, such as natural wood, bamboo or recycled materials. Avoid using materials that are harmful to the environment, or that cannot be recycled, repaired or restored, such as those that include plastics or toxic chemicals.

What type of furniture is most sustainable?
Bamboo is a much more sustainable material than wood for furniture production. It's one of the fastest growing plants in the world, and it requires much less energy and water than a hardwood forest.

What are the sustainable practices in furniture?
Practice Sustainability With Your Furniture
Sustainable furniture is made from materials that have certain eco-friendly characteristics. These materials often are recycled or repurposed. Sustainable furniture can also be made from materials that are easily renewable. For example, bamboo grows quickly and easily, so it's a good choice for a renewable resource.

Is Ikea environmentally friendly?

IKEA's Sustainable Development Standards
To that end IKEA uses wood materials from more sustainable sources: More than 98% of the wood used for IKEA products is either FSC-certified or recycled. Taking care of the climate is a key part of IKEA's corporate responsibility.

What is an example of sustainable furniture?
Furniture made of wood is generally considered to be environmentally friendly, but there are materials that have a particularly good ecological balance. When buying look out for PEFC or FSC-certified wood from local forests, furniture made from fast-growing bamboo or recycled plastics.

How do you know if furniture is sustainable?

Purchase Furniture Made with Sustainable Materials
Renewable and nontoxic materials like bamboo, natural fibers, responsibly sourced or reclaimed wood, cork, and recycled materials are good choices when shopping for furniture. Avoid buying furniture from non-renewable resources, such as endangered tree species.

Why choose sustainable furniture?
The use of recycled or reclaimed materials in furniture can significantly reduce the environmental footprint of the production process and promote a more environmentally friendly product life cycle. Recycled materials can come from a variety of sources and can vary greatly in composition.

THE PLUS // Jan Christian Vestre about the world's most environmentally friendly furniture factory
by Vestre

Vestre is known for our sustainable and caring meeting places in Times Square, Brixton, London, and Forum des Halles in Paris. Now we will build the world’s most environmentally furniture factory, The Plus, in the town Magnor in the middle of the Norwegian forest.

This will be the largest single investment in the Norwegian furniture industry in decades. The factory is designed by the world-famous architect BIG Bjarke Ingels Group and will serve as a global showcase for high-end architecture and high-efficiency production.


The Plus: BIG and Vestre unveil “the world’s most sustainable furniture factory”

Tucked in the heart of the Norwegian forest, The Plus factory by BIG - Bjarke Ingels Group for urban furniture manufacturer Vestre was “envisioned as a village for a community dedicated to the cleanest, carbon neutral fabrication of urban and social furniture.”



Sustainable furniture production for a greener house
by European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

Manufacturing furniture requires a lot of energy and generates large amounts of waste.

With the installation of a new production line, Flexibois, a small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) based in Casablanca, Morocco, has managed to improve energy efficiency and be more competitive. Their new machines are equipped with highly efficient electric motors, which reduce machine-working time, save energy, are safer for employees, and reduce waste thanks to increased precision.

This investment is part of the Bank’s Green Value Chain programme in Morocco, funded by the European Union (EU), the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and the Republic of Korea. The programme provides funding to local partner financial institutions for on-lending to Moroccan SMEs.




How to Shop for Sustainable Furniture
By Amanda Lutz
Architectural Digest, Condé Nast

Material Bank Europe

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The ‘eco’ in Econation stands for planet and ‘nation’ stands for all people.
We are a social, not-for-profit organisation that focuses on what is good for both people and planet.

Vision and purpose

The key to human well-being as well as environmental well-being is for people to reduce their ecological footprint below the biocapacity of the earth. For over ten years Econation has pointed to the ways people can reduce their ecological footprint. We stress that reducing your footprint does not mean deprivation, on the contrary, by changing our focus from consumption and material wealth to those things that truly provide well-being we will all be better off. Those things are intrinsic satisfactions like relationships, meaningful pursuits and self-fulfilment.

Econation’s vision is one where everyone is united to sustain our natural and social systems, for the good of people and the planet. A world in which people leave it as good as they found it – if not better.

Econation’s role in this vision is to provide information and learning opportunities which will guide and help people to build lives of well-being and provide a sustainable future for people and planet. The knowledge we provide is relevant and useful for individuals, families, businesses and organisations of all sorts.

Our intention is:

to make all information practical, simple and clear
to focus on causes rather than symptoms
to be unbiased and independent
to provide information that is not highly technical or academic
to provide resources for schools
to value feedback
to practice what we preach
to have fun

Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute

How companies design and make products today has a direct impact on the world we will inhabit tomorrow. We are powering the shift to a circular economy, by setting the global standard for materials, products and systems that positively impact people and the planet.

Today, it is possible to reshape the way we design and make things, using innovation as a driver of change. Hundreds of pioneers in our program demonstrate this every day. Together, we are paving the way for a world where materials and products are made for tomorrow.

A world where safe materials and products are designed and manufactured in a prosperous, circular economy to maximize health and wellbeing for people and planet.

To lead, inspire and enable all stakeholders across the global economy to create and use innovative products and materials that positively impact people and planet.

The Institute is headquartered in San Francisco, California and Amsterdam, The Netherlands.



Futurist Portrait

Rick Griffith
Optimist Futurist


Photo credit: Norman Posselt

Rick Griffith is a British-West-Indian collagist, writer, letterpress printer, designer, and optimist futurist based in Denver, Colorado. As a designer, his works are found at the intersection of programming, policy, and production. He is the designer behind the Black Astronaut Research Project (BLARP) , The Pledge for Spaces, and The Introductory Ethic for Designers and Other Thinking Persons. He co-owns a retail revolutionary bookstore and book club for designers, and DJs a live Internet radio show, Design To Kill. He is a columnist for, the two-time programming chair for the AIGA National Conference, and the 2023 Acuff Chair at Austin Peay State University. Rick’s works are collected and exhibited worldwide and can be found in the permanent collections of The Denver Art Museum, The Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum, Columbia University’s Rare Book & Manuscript Library, and The Tweed Museum at the University of Minnesota, Duluth. He is a co-founder and partner with Debra Johnson of the graphic design consultancy MATTER.

Rick Griffith
by CreativeMornings HQ

Rick Griffith at CreativeMornings Denver, December 2014.






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