What Makes a Building Green? One Planet Living


We will go on at length about Bioregional in subsequent posts, but among their other ventures they were the developer of Bedzed, covered by Kevin here. They teamed up with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to develop the concept of One Planet Living, with the vision: A world in which people everywhere can lead happy, healthy lives within their fair share of the Earth’s resources. The aims are to: Build a worldwide network of One Planet Living Communities to demonstrate One Planet Living in action.

Their 10 points:


1. Zero carbon
2. Zero waste
3. Sustainable transport
4. Sustainable materials
5. Local and sustainable food
6. Sustainable water
7. Natural habitats and wildlife
8. Culture and heritage
9. Equity and fair trade
10. Health and happiness

Globally we are consuming resources at a faster rate than the planet can replenish them, causing problems such as disappearing forests, declining fisheries and climate change. If everyone in the world lived as most Europeans do, we would need three planets to support us. People in other parts of the world are consuming natural resources and polluting the environment at different levels. For example, the average North American lifestyle requires the equivalent of five planets. China, although currently at the one planet level, has such a large population that its rapid development is likely to lead to a massive increase in its impact upon the planet’s natural resources.

The challenge that faces us all, therefore, is: how can people everywhere enjoy a high quality of life, within the carrying capacity of one planet? For people living in developed countries, this means finding ways to reduce their impact or ‘ecological footprint’. In Europe a two thirds’ reduction in consumption of fossil fuels and virgin materials is needed to achieve a sustainable and globally equitable level. For developing countries it means enabling growth, but in a sustainable way that has the advantage of avoiding the problems now being experienced in places such as Europe, North America and Australia.

If One Planet Living is to become the norm around the world, it must be affordable and attractive to a diverse range of people and cultures. It must address key human needs including housing, clothing, food, healthcare, education, energy, transport and leisure. One Planet Living must also be easy – few people actually want to live unsustainably. However, it is often too easy to make decisions that have damaging, unsustainable consequences, and too difficult to choose more sustainable options. To live at a one planet level, we need to be able to change the ‘defaults’ of our daily lifestyle decisions to ones which are sustainable.

Read the PDF at ::One Planet Living