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Newly planted spirea plants are shown near the Bald Hill Natural Area in November 2016. An estimated 100 volunteers helped clear the area and plant a series of plants that are part of plans to regenerate a stream that once fed into Dunawi Creek. The work on the project continues Nov. 9.

This month continues a description of the Natural Step, an international framework for sustainability. The framework is based on four basic principles or systems conditions discussed in my previous columns, so I'll restate them for those learning about this for the first time.

I am quoting from “The Natural Step — Towards a Sustainable Society” by David Cook.

“In the sustainable society, nature is not subject to systematically increasing...

1. Concentrations of substances from the Earth’s crust.

2. Concentrations of substances produced by society.

3. Degradation by physical means,

4. In that society people are not subject to conditions that systematically undermine their capacity to meet their needs.”

Much has been written about the Natural Step. I recommend the above book along with “The Natural Step for Communities” by Sarah James and Torbjorn Lahti.

How are these principles applied? One strategy is to use the ABCD method which uses backcasting instead of forecasting to achieve results. Backcasting works back from the four system conditions so you plan what you need to do meet the four systems conditions.

The ABCD method uses these ideas to move forward:

A: Awareness and visioning. The organization understands what the challenge is and creates a vision of where it wants to go.

B: Baseline assessment. The organization assesses where it currently is in regards to the Natural Step principles so it has an understanding of what to work on.

C: Creative solutions. The organization has a visioning session that is creative and free-flowing without regard for what is practical or within a budget. This helps create a sense of creativity and possibility without constraint.

D: Decide on priorities. The organization works up a plan of priorities beginning with the low-hanging fruit or easiest to accomplish and often that which brings back the fastest monetary return. Then they move toward the higher fruit or bigger wins.

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This process can be used anywhere — from the home environment to schools, communities, corporations and government.

The Natural Step is the only entity I know of that has a good definition of sustainability grounded in science. It has been around since 1989 and is used by many internationally. Whistler, British Columbia, Canada, used the Natural Step for its urban planning. In Corvallis three restaurants used it for their businesses and to create a white paper that has been used by other restaurants.

For more education on sustainability check out this month’s offerings:

• Your Downtown – What’s Next? 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Nov. 5, Courtyard Marriott, 400 SW First St., Corvallis. Explore the future of the heart of our city in this free community workshop sponsored by several organizations including the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition, city of Corvallis, Imagine Corvallis, Corvallis Chamber of Commerce, and the Downtown Corvallis Association. For more information contact imageinecorvallis.org. Sponsors: city of Corvallis, Imagine Corvallis, Corvallis Chamber of Commerce, Corvallis Sustainability Coalition.

• The Doctrine of Discovery – Unmasking the Domination Code: 4-8 p.m., Nov. 5, Native American Longhouse Eena Haws, 311 S.W. 26th St., Oregon State University campus. This film screening and talk will cover the root causes of fear, domination, and dehumanization that are negatively impacting our planet, and quality of life for all peoples. For more information contact isus66739@gmail.com.

• Champinefu Lecture Series – The Kalapuya Mounds of the Willamette Valley: 7 p.m., Nov. 6, Majestic Theater, 115 SW Second St., Corvallis.  Tia Cody presents the results of her archaeological research into the hundreds of mounds built by the Kalapuya people in the mid-Willamette Valley. Free. Doors open at 6 p.m. For more information contact Dave Eckert at deckert@willamettewatershed.com or 541-230-1237.

• 20th Anniversary Stories from the Field: 7-8:30 p.m., Nov. 7, The Arts Center, 700 SW Madison Ave., Corvallis. Join the Institute for Applied Ecology for a celebration of its restoration, research and ecological education work. Free. For more information contact Michel Wiman, michelw@appliedeco.org, 541-753-3099 ext. 701.

• Dunawi Creek Regeneration Native Planting Party: noon to 4 p.m., Nov. 9, Bald Hill Natural Area, directions provided when you register. Help plant over 1,600 native shrubs and Camas to regenerate a buried creek at the foot of Bald Hill in Corvallis. To register, contact Dave Eckert at: deckert@willamettewatershed.com or 541-230-1237.

• Audubon Field Trip: 7 a.m. to noon, Nov. 9, meet at Willamette Park Shelter, east end of Southeast Goodnight Avenue. Destination to be determined for this free field trip. Registration required. Contact CorvallisAudubonSecondSaturday@gmail.com. Sponsor: Audubon Society of Corvallis

• Fall Repair Fair: 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Nov. 13, OSUsed Store, 644 SW 13th St., Corvallis. Bring your broken items and volunteers will help you learn how to repair your belongings; attend demonstrations to learn more skills. Repair skills will likely include appliances/electronics, housewares, clothing, and bicycles. Also, drop-in demos will be offered each hour. Free. For more information contact Lily.Butler@oregonstate.edu, or 541-737-5398.

• 2019 Wild and Scenic Film Festival: 5:30 p.m., Nov. 14, Whiteside Theater, 361 SW Madison Ave., Corvallis. This is the fourth year this national tour of outdoor adventure and environmental films comes to Corvallis. The cost is $15 for adults, $10 for youth. Buy tickets at www.corvallisenvironmentalcenter.org/wildandscenic/. For more information contact engage@corvallisenvironmentalcenter.org.

• “Infarmation” – How to Buy Meat Direct from the Farm: 6-8:30 p.m., Nov. 14, Marys River Grange, 24707 Grange Hall Road, Philomath. A free event on how to buy meat direct from farm, demystify the process of buying a quarter or half of an animal and why supporting pasture-based producers is better for the environment and can help combat climate change. For more information contact Lindsay@friendsoffamilyfarmers.org. Sponsors: Friends of Family Farmers, OSU Southern Willamette Valley Small Farms.

• Audubon Program - Vern Beeson, Current Status of the Malheur Field Station: 6:30-8:30 p.m., Nov. 21, First United Methodist Church, Wesley Hall, 1165 NW Monroe Ave. Free. For information contact mark.baldwin2@comcast.net.

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Maureen Beezhold has been writing the Earth Year monthly column since 1999. She works with the sustainability committee at the Beit Am Jewish Committee and organizes a monthly walk for Corvallis area interfaith leaders. She can be reached at 541-752-3517 or maureentns@peak.org.