The Natural Step
The Natural Step is a set of ecological principles originating from Sweden, based on four basic principles:
The Four System Conditions
- Nature cannot withstand a systematic buildup of dispersed matter mined from the Earth’s crust (e.g., minerals, oil, etc.)
- Nature cannot withstand a systematic buildup of persistent compounds made by humans (e.g., PCBs and DDT)
- Nature cannot take a systematic deterioration of its capacity for renewal (e.g., harvesting fish faster than they can replenish, converting fertile land to desert)
- Therefore, if we want life to continue, we must (a) be efficient in our use of resources and (b) promote justice — because ignoring poverty will lead the poor to destroy resources for short-term survival, which we all need for long-term survival (e.g., the rainforests).
The Natural Step Has Influenced Farmers, Citizens, and Businesses
- The Federation of Swedish Farmers is aiming at sharply cutting back their dependence on artificial fertilizes and pesticides. Organic growers (about 2,000 and rapidly increasing in number) are regarded today as the cutting edge of agriculture. Conventional farmers receive various kinds of help from the farmer’s federation if they wish to convert to more organic methods.
- Electrolux, the refrigerator and appliance company, decided not to replace their cfc freon chemicals with a less toxic freon because this still went against System Condition #2. Instead, they opted to research a totally biologically harmless substitute.
To learn more about the successes of The Natural Step, please visit the Natural Step website.