What is One Planet Living?
One Planet Living is a global initiative that encourages people to live happy, healthy rich and productive lives within the carrying capacity of the planet and in harmony with wildlife and wilderness.
The program is measured using ecological foot printing - under the premise that the average North American would need five planets worth of resources to sustain our current lifestyle. Yikes!
Therefore, the solutions provided within the One Planet Living Framework reduce one’s ecological footprint down to - and within - the resources available on our mere planet Earth. Hence, the program name.
How do North Americans stack up to the rest of the world? Well, to maintain the current typical lifestyle of a Western European we’d need three planets. In China the overall average is one planet. Although, as we all know, nations around the world are vying to be ‘just like us’ with the modern and material conveniences of the US and thus, are pushing past the one planet.
As a global population, we’re consuming resources and polluting the planet at a rate 40% faster than the earth and replenish or absorb.
Who Developed and Administers One Planet Living?
One Planet Living was developed by an international non-profit called BioRegional in collaboration with the World Wildlife Fund.
BioRegional, with five offices worldwide (North America, UK, Mexico, China, South Africa) initiates practical sustainability solutions and delivers them by setting up new enterprises and partnerships around the world. BioRegional assists and encourages others to achieve sustainability through consultancy, education and informing policy. Real life examples, in particular, with the Bed Zed development in the UK, are the cornerstone of demonstrating practical solutions to plan, deliver, communicate and mainstream sustainable development and the green economy.
World Wildlife Fund (WWF), an international nonprofit, has a mission to stop the degradation of our planet's natural environment, and build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature. In order to achieve this mission, WWF focuses its efforts on enabling continued biodiversity and to reduce the negative impacts of human activity – our ecological footprint. We are working to ensure that the natural resources required for life -land, water, air - are managed sustainably and equitably.
One Planet Living in Action: Beddington Zero Energy Development (BedZED)
Completed in 2002, BedZED (Beddington Zero Energy Development) is the first large scale carbon-neutral eco-community in the UK. As a mixed-use project with residential homes, commercial buildings, an exhibition center, a children's nursery and a show home for visitors to experience life at BedZED, the project was completed and occupied in 2002.
BedZED, built on a brownfield (wasteland) site 20 minutes by train from central London, today features 99 homes – a mixture of flats and townhouses - and 1,405 square meters of workspace occupied by over 200 residents and 60 workers. The development is highly energy-efficient and built with sustainable construction materials: natural, recycled or reclaimed, and sourced within a 35-mile radius of the site wherever possible. Close to public transportation, BedZED also hosts London’s oldest car-sharing club as well as solar-driven power points for recharging electric vehicles.
Its buildings are topped with colourful, wind-driven ventilation cowls that swivel in the breeze, ushering in fresh air while funnelling out the stale. Birds perch atop them, occasionally descending to find insects in the rooftop greenery. Solar photovoltaic panels absorb the sun’s rays (even on cloudy days), contributing to the overall power mix.
All of BedZED’s flats face south to maximize the sun’s heat and light, and areheavily insulated to retain warmth in winter and coolness in summer. Residents have small conservatories and private gardens, and their homes’ interiors are fitted with low-energy lighting and appliances, along with water-saving devices in the kitchens and bathrooms. BedZED statistics show that water-efficient appliances have cut the development’s mains water use (the public supply) to 91 liters per person per day, compared with a UK average of 150 liters.
Monitoring conducted in 2003 found that BedZED had achieved these reductions in comparison to UK averages:
- Space-heating requirements were 88% less
- Hot-water consumption was 57% less
- The electrical power used, at 3 kilowatt hours per person per day, was 25% less than the UK average; 11% of this was produced by solar panels
- Mains-water consumption has been reduced by 50%, or 67% compared to a power-shower household
- The residents' car mileage is 65% less.
Learn more about BedZED and how it is functioning, seven years later.