The SPREAD team is crowdsourcing a research agenda for sustainable lifestyles. Your answers will be incorporated in the SPREAD project research agenda, which will be finalized by November 2012. The first draft will be presented to EU policy makers on October 2nd in Brussels. Have you say now!
3. Are there promising approaches in practice that should be studied scientifically?
- What kinds of signals or experiences might look like fruitful areas for research?
- Please share any stories of success or experiments that should be studied in more depth!
A commons approach to solving sustainability issues has been presented to the United Nations for the past three years, relating it to diverse issues as this came up. I enclose two papers here: One to show how it can be used as a basis for a commons-based world economy based on the well being of all people and nature and one giving examples of the types of commons that already exist. One billion people are official members of cooperatives that take a commons approach to business.
At present a number of commons-organizations are developing a Commons Abundance Network that will allow the multitude of commons to learn from one another, network, plan together, act as a unit, form a significant sector (next to the public and private sectors) and become the common-based economy we are advocating at the United Nations.
The enclosed files were hand-outs designed for various UN conferences. We have a great deal of materials. There is also a UNITAR course on the commons designed by some of our experts.
If you have any questions I should be glad to put you in touch with relevant experts in the field.
- Long-term evaluation: since a major challenge is to accomplish lasting change, the long term effects of interventions need to be evaluated. However, usually no budget is reserved for this. How can we enable long-term evaluations against reasonable costs?
- In line with this, we need evaluation methods that go beyond (quantitative) efficiency and effectiveness indicators only. Issues in particular in this regard: How to define success? When is a project successful? Efficiency and effectiveness indicators may be of use but assume set goals in advance against which to measure progress. However, if projects show flexibility and adapt to changing circumstances, this can also be regarded as a success factor as the project shows the ability to learn and adapt. However, such adaptations make efficiency and effectiveness measurements more difficult. In addition, social learning can be considered a success factor - if more people take up sustainable lifestyle-elements through social learning, this helps ‘spreading’. Here again: how to design tools that enable such evaluation (against reasonable costs)?