Organizer: Joanna Krawczyk
In Warsaw, Poland, the Pyramid method was employed as a way to apply concepts from sustainable development to the strategic decisions of a small architecture studio. The problems that they were facing had to do with the negative impact of architecture solutions on the environment, unreliable contractors, lack of private customers, low trust in the local government, fatigue and lack of efficiency among employees.
In the analysis process the participants enumerated 4 key targets for the development of an enterprise in the construction sector:
To meet those tagrets the company should concentrate on:
Overall this was a success, while the atmosphere was “relaxed, but focused on the main topics of the workshop”.
Organizers: Vineet Chhatria and the Habsut team
Habsut International is an NGO that “advocates Sustainable Habitat & Sustainability with a practical approach in context of the ultimate environment surrounding us.” Coordinator Vineet Chhatria has been traveling around South Asia for weeks now, doing Pyramid 2012 workshops seemingly wherever he goes — and usually creating several of them in the process, as this photo from Kathmandu illustrates.
The Habsut Pyramid 2012 workshops — in India, Nepal, and Bangladesh — are exploring a wide range of issues, including the Rise of Urbanization, Education in India, Health & Sanitation, and other topics of importance to South Asian youth. They also managed to get their series of Pyramid workshops featured on the UN-HABITAT sponsored website “I’m a City-Changer” (http://www.imacitychanger.org/).
The Habsut Facebook page is also lively: http://www.facebook.com/HabsutInternational.
We are not really sure here at Pyramid 2012 campaign headquarters, exactly how many Pyramids Vineet and his team have done now as part of Pyramid 2012 … but they seem to have done the most so far! Congratulations to Habsut!
Organizers: Adana Mahase-Gibson & Keith Gibson
“Who knew sea turtles were so connected? We tend to look at local issues affecting the turtles when they are on our beach – overharvesting, beach erosion, lack of enforcement of laws etc. We sometimes forget that saving that nesting beach is just one part of the turtles’ story, and of ours.”
From Charlotteville, Tobago, where a group of representatives of environmental NGOs and eco-tourism businesses met to discuss sea turtle conservation, we received a very detailed and interesting account of the Pyramid workshop, that we would like to present here in full.
“The main outcome of our workshop was to see sea turtle conservation as a ‘capstone’ at the top of a wider environmental pyramid of sustainability issues in our country. The Pyramid process provided additional justification for ongoing projects and has inspired us to consider several new projects in our respective organisations.”
Organizer: Agata Rudnicka
“What are the first steps that need to be taken in order to make our city more sustainable?” Students from the Faculty of Management and the Faculty of Biology and Environmental protection in the Polish city of Łódź addressed this question by building not one, but two Pyramids!
As always, first they looked at the current problems: bad infrastructure, obsolete technologies, high use of water and resources, low ecological awareness, unemployment. Bureaucratic barriers and old patterns of behaviour were some of the underlying causes that they named. Envisioning what needs to be done was a pleasant part of the exercises and many ideas where vehiculated, from involving the residents into defining the future of their city, to stronger cooperation between businesses and academia. However, in the end they had to choose the most urgent solution: “facilitating entrepreneurship development and promotion of the city, both by public authorities and NGOs, students and residents themselves.”
A positive experience, overall, as “students were highly involved in the discussion and the process of pyramid building”. Thank you, Lodz!
Organizers: Anshuman Sharma and Vidya Kishnamurthi
“Seven exciting and enthusiastic students came together to address the issue of hunger in the country from various Universities and Institutes in Delhi, India. The group had a discussion covering long term trends and interlinking and interdependent causes on both at micro and macro scale respectively. Such as wastage of food by people in restaurants or in parties, farmers giving up agriculture and migrating to city as a labour force, influx of refugees adding burden to as it highly populated country.
Organizers: Mariella and Bianca
Continuing the series of reports from the International School Manila, the Philippines, we will now briefly share the story of a group that tackled the topic of “Biodiversity and Ecosystems Loss”
They started by defining some visions for each side of the sustainability compass. Next the group defined indicators and tried to create a behaviour graph for each of these, in order to reveal the underlying trends. For instance, they plotted the past and present situation, as well as their future projections for deforestation (see more details here.
Posted by organizers: Anshuman Sharma and Vidya Kishnamurthi
In India, Gene Campaign recognized the problem of hunger in the country and decided to organise the Pyramid workshop on the theme of ‘Sustainable Solutions to the Problem of Hunger’. Despite Government’s efforts and policy interventions to eradicate hunger from the country, India has some of the highest rates of malnutrition and stunting in the world. To bring attention to this subject there is an urgent need to come with a sustainable approach to the problem of Hunger.
We decided to work with youth and announced our first workshop of building Sustainability Pyramid. A young group of 15 students from various colleges and institutes across Delhi, India came forward to be a part of the discussion.
Who said it takes a lot of resources and people to run a Pyramid workshop and then put the results into practice? A very small group of American expats in Bangkok, Thailand, gathered to discuss water management issues. There was the banker, the businessman, the teacher and the consultant, all committed to taking action to address the challenge at hand.
After a thorough analysis of the situation, they concluded that there was a general lack of awareness regarding water management issues, which in turn led to systemic problems, as illustrated by the recent floods in Bangkok. In order to address this problem, the participants decided to set-up a high-profile collaborative project and use their local networks to generate interest. Their Capstone Agreement was “to work together and meet once per month (minimum) to advance the project and achieve the desired objective”.
Organizer: Julia Andrea Osorio Henao
In the small village La Holanda, in Cuernavaca, Colombia, farmers met to build a Pyramid around their local water problems. The workshop was organized at the initiative of Julia Andrea Osorio Henao as part of her doctoral research work on integrated peasant water management technologies.
Water use in the region of Cuernavaca is monopolized by companies that need this resource for the irrigation of sugarcane crops, water bottling and hydroelectric power generation. This results into water shortages for the local community which often cause health problems or lead to social conflicts.
Organizers: YiHua Lin and Krystal Kang
Another group at the International School Manila chose to discuss the problem of digital divide. This refers to the gap between people with access to digital and information technology and those with very limited or no access at all. Those in the first category are considered to have an advantage in almost every aspect of their life, from learning new information, to getting a job, while the latter will lag behind in terms of knowledge, opportunities, thus being trapped in their current situation. As formulated by the organizers: “This divide enables developed nations to continue developing the technology they possess, but further hindering the underdeveloped or undeveloped nations, creating a cycle that ultimately affects the world economy and inhibits the world from solving issues such as poverty.”
Coordinators: Limmena, Joey; Yang, Kevin; Bagli, Roshni
As you might already know, 20 simultaneous workshops were run at the launch of Pyramid 2012 in Manila. Here is what happened in Group A, which consisted of international students between the 9th and the 12th grade and the founder of Global Climate Action, a local NGO.
The topic tackled: global warming. The participants quickly identified the rise in demand for resources, over-extraction and overproduction as being the main underlying factors causing it. This might already sound familiar, but the novelty lies in the solutions, because that is where each group can fully express its creativity! In brief, here are some of the ideas they came up with:
Facilitator and Organizer: Markus Will, University of Applied Sciences Zittau/Goerlitz
A rapid-4 hour-Pyramid session took place at the University of Applied Sciences Zittau/Goerlitz in the context of lectures given by sustainability expert and consultant Markus Will. The group of motivated students from the Universities “Ecology and Environmental Protection” Bachelors program worked in teams in order to identify innovative options to enhance the sustainability performance of an industrial plant. The case study here was a production plant of washing and cleaning detergents.
Following a life cycle approach the students identified indicators and innovations in order to improve the product qualities itself, i.e. reduction of anionic tensides, phosphor loads, bio-degradable or easy-to-recycle packaging or the production processes, i.e. use of renewable energies or more efficient transport logistics. Well-Being and social aspects are touched by occupational health and safety issues, as well as actions to improve organizational culture and working atmosphere. Most of the proposed issues were related to enhanced research and development, changing of organization patterns and processes. Special attention was payed to systems mapping.
Faciliated by Alan AtKisson – 20 March 2012
Organizer: Per Berg & Manolya Akin, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala
Urban sustainability pioneer Per Berg, originator of the “Citylands” concept of regional planning and integration, teaches a course on Interdisciplinary Methods, and this course was a perfect fit for the first Swedish contribution to the Pyramid 2012 campaign.
About 40 students from 20 countries are taking the course as part of their Master’s Degree studies, and their motivations to participate range from “frustration” at the pace of change in social conditions in Kenya, to “curiosity” about how to understand complex systems. The students work in teams to study eight different “Citylands” — that is, metropolitan areas and their surrounding rural zones — around the world, and the Pyramid process helped them quickly develop a more systemic sense of what they were learning.
This was one of the fastest Pyramids Alan had facilitated: students glued sticks into triangle shapes during the morning lecture on global sustainability trends, produced trends for each of their cities over lunch, and then rapidly developed systems maps showing leverage points for their Cityland systems in the afternoon. They generated ideas for advancing sustainability, voted on the best one … and the winner was, “Urban De-Growth.”
Posted by Axel Klimek – 13 March 2012
Organizer: ISIS Academy, City of Hofheim, Hofheim Local Agenda 21
Almost 40.000 people live in Hofheim am Taunus, a beautiful little city close to Frankfurt am Main and Wiesbaden. As Hofheim is the headquarter of the ISIS Academy GmbH, it was an obvious choice to run the first German Pyramid 2012 Workshop there. For initiator Axel Klimek, it was also pretty easy to find competent co-sponsors in the town for this event – the Hofheim Local Agenda 21 and the municipality of Hofheim.
Early in the evening of March 13 the 2nd city counsellor opened the event by welcoming more than 30 residents of Hofheim and asking them to create challenging and good ideas for a sustainable Hofheim. Later that evening we also had the pleasure to welcome the Hofheim mayor, Mrs. Gisela Stang, who joined the workshop after finishing another important meeting and also offered something to eat for everybody.
Organizers: Joanna Klak and Anna Gust
On the 11th of February a Pyramid workshop took place at a local secondary school in Śrem (near Poznan) during the conference “Thinking about the future”. Students aged 17 to 19 years old discussed the issue of global climate change.
Among the first subjects debated were the possibility of reversing the unfavourable trend of climate change and the ability of individuals to contribute to environmental protection by making small changes into their daily routines.
Although the group had never come across the issue of sustainable development before, they quickly identified not only the obvious factors that contributed to the problem, but also some that go beyond the surface, such as: a “profit matters” attitude, gaps in regulation, personal behaviours, society and state rivalry, diversity of opinions.
Organizer: Jamila Haider
In the UK, a Pyramid workshop was run during the Cambridge Climate and Sustainability Forum, with a diverse group that included students, faculty members and community members from a nearby town.
The central challenge: making Cambridge carbon neutral. As described by the participants, the main question here is whether the benefits that stem from promoting sustainability ideas off-set the carbon emissions that come along with it, an issue that they named “brain-print”. A leading research institution, Cambridge surely contributes to fostering knowledge on a whole range of topics, but its activities also revolve around a carbon-intense conference industry, a paper-heavy culture, tourism and, generally, a lot of international business and personal travel.
Organizer: Adrian Strzałkowski
The following is a report summary written by Adrian:
“Sustainable development at AGH – sharing ideas” – that was the name of the workshop organized within the global happening Pyramid 2012, which gathered a group of 12 students and lecturers from AGH University of Science and Technology in Cracow on March 8th.
Based on the assumption that every modern university should implement principles of sustainable development into its own organizational structures, participants attempted to analyze the current state and propose positive changes to their Alma Mater. The event was patronized by the Rector of AGH and supported by the Sendzimir Foundation.
The workshop began with a short speech of prof. Jan W. Dobrowolski, who presented a Polish input into sustainable development theory with a reference to the pioneering concepts of Walery Goetel, a former AGH’s Rector between 1945 to 1951.
The working part of the workshop was a friendly exchange of thoughts carried out according to ISIS methodology. Both the situation at the University and at the Student’s Campus were taken into account.
Facilitator: Alan AtKisson
The Department of Water Affairs in Botswana has been involved in a significant restructuring of its work in recent years, and I had the good fortune to visit them last week — in the middle of the Pyramid 2012 campaign — and run a workshop that used Pyramid at its heart.
Botswana is a fast-developing nation, and water is a scarce commodity. Working with a group of about 18 water officials in the country, as part of a longer training organized by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), we explored the long-term trends in the country using the ‘Compass’ framework, and the groups then selected out key trends to explore in detail, using systems mapping.
Then developed a set of ideas (Innovations) that could be new additions to their current strategic planning process. The remainder of the workshop focused on how to implement new ideas most effectively — especially considering that not everyone likes new ideas! — and we kept with the Pyramid structure and process as we did that.
Our workshop ended on a high note, as participants used the last level to capture their own strategic insights … and then we capped it off. For me, this was a joy: the first Pyramid in Botswana, my first time in that beautiful country, and a chance to get to know some of the people that are working to make sustainable development (water is so crucial to SD!) into a reality. – Alan AtKisson
Many thanks to Ana Cascao and SIWI, as well as the Department of Water Affairs of Botswana, for making this Pyramid possible!
Organizer: Maria Dian Nurani
In Jakarta, Indonesia, a Pyramid workshop was run with the employees of a sustainability consultancy firm. They collectively decided to reflect on sustainability in general, within the national context.
After a brief analysis conducted in groups, they concluded that most of the issues that their country faced stemmed from the same cause: a lack of human resource quality. Many actions were proposed, such as: awareness raising, workshop and training, coaching, evaluation, improvement plan, training for government officers, setting up an apprentice program, having collaboration with educational institutions, volunteering at school, encouraging companies to channel their CSR budgets for educational programs.
Organizer: Joanna Danilewicz
What does it take to make a university campus more sustainable? Especially when you look at this question with the eye of an architect/urban planner? This was the central challenge addressed by master students at the Gdańsk University of Technology in Poland. And so, a new Pyramid was born.
Many issues were brought to the table, from the untapped potential of available space to the fact that environmental awareness doesn’t translate into practice. One of the solutions lies in the creation of “places” that would encourage cooperation, innovation, interdepartmental exchanges and actions, that would “make some life”, as the participants framed it. Space – both in a physical and social sense – becomes thus a tool that can shape human interactions. In practical terms, the participants agreed that the transformation of the campus needs to begin with the community itself, so they proposed that volunteering opportunities be created, recurring events – established, competitions, workshops, interdisciplinary projects and personal initiatives – encouraged.
Organizer: Stanislav Vavilov
How can Russia tackle the exhaustion of nonrenewable resources? A few students of chemical technology from the D. Mendeleyev University in Moscow found a way to get this started. While analyzing the problem they realized that, within the local context, one of the main issues was the insufficient information available to executives, stemming from a rather old-fashioned model of education within universities.
As a consequence, the solutions proposed were targeted to the academic environment where a mentoring system and practical projects in the field of sustainability would need to be implemented: “Education is one of the main leverage points in the problem “Resource Exhaustion”, because especially in Russia, there is no such information in education process at schools and universities”, the group concluded.
Organizer: Roberta Fernandez
In New York, second year Bard College students came together to figure out how to get the local Solar Jobs Act to pass the legislature. Divided in four groups, one for each of the sides of the Sustainability Compass, they worked their way through the different levels of the Pyramid during a two-day workshop.
The solutions they proposed included: creating YouTube videos and outreach campaigns, a training program in NY community colleges and vocational schools, a public-private partnership program with grocery retailers called “Solar Produce,” and two solar installation competition programs (“Solar Up!” and “Power by the People”). “Solar Up!” was the idea that gathered the most votes within the group.
Melissa P., one of the participants, reports: “At the end of the second day, as we all stood in a circle reflecting on everything that we had learned and experienced together, there were multiple mentions of appreciation for the new set of tools, new perspective for how to tackle work and life problems, and acknowledgment of how much easier this process was for us, coming from the same education and similar values, than it might be in a different context.”
The first known Pyramid workshop in West Africa was organized by Cabinet Espere, an Affiliate of AtKisson Group. Cabinet Espere has been working with colleagues in Sénégal these past few years to develop a variety of very creative programs. For this Pyramid, they focused on the question of waste management in African cities, with a special focus on plastic. Participants were “stakeholders involved in urban waste management in African cities: city, county, government, local communities, recyclers, university, financial partners, NGOs, international cooperation officials.”
JF Fillaut reports: “The capstone agreement was : environmental education !!! In Africa, people do not care about waste and their consequences related to health, environment… At the end of the Pyramid process, we agreed to spread environmental education, everyone with his/her own power of leverage.”
UPDATE: Pyramid group photo
Fourth-year university students at LIT used Pyramid to investigate a wide range of global sustainability issues their possible solutions, ranging from water and sanitation issues in the developing world to problems in the global financial system, and how they all linked together. Building a creative and natural Pyramid out of willow rods from a university tree plantation, they plastered its sides with their insights, and came up with a long list of ideas for accelerating sustainable development, including:
Their full report is available for download:
Facilitator: Anika Nasra haque
I am happy with the outcome of my workshop conducted with my students in Dhaka. I took two days prior conducting the workshop, one day for discussing the procedure, the other day for making the model. Then on 16th February, I conducted the final workshop from 8.30 a.m. to 6.30 p.m. The students were really motivated to work on this model after the introductory session before the workshop. And the model was a good one, the students applied their architectural creativity while making it, they made it with coloured acrylic sheet and put an electric light inside it.
The central challenge thrown to them was ‘ Urban Water Logging’, which is the most urgent urban problem faced due to climate change in Dhaka city. The outcome was really interesting… ‘A HYDRAULIC CITY’.
I will write to you in details regarding the workshop next week. Some photographs of the event are attached herewith. More to come with the report.”
The first Pyramid ever to be built in Washington DC was facilitated by Marc Oslthoorn (a graduate of the ISIS Academy Master Class) and Eva Clymans. They created a blogsite to document the event: click here to visit it.
The following is re-posted from that site, which has a great slide show and more background details on this workshop.
Yesterday [Saturday, 18 February 2012], a little over 5:30 pm, when the venue had already officially closed, we reached a capstone agreement and put a star-spangled banner on top to finish off a successful Pyramid workshop in Washington, DC!
Result: thesis competition for transit system optimization
Our group had come together to address the mobility challenge: how can mobility in DC be made sustainable for all? At the end we reached the following agreement: we propose a thesis competition among mathematical students studying at DC area universities, to optimize route and timetable design of the area’s bus services for better accessibility, simplicity and overall efficiency. Interested students, organizers, university departments, transit organization or sponsors are encouraged to contact us. You’re not alone.
This group in Harare, Zimbabwe focused on waste management issues on the campus of their college. Oraganizer Trace Madyangove had been a participant in an international training for educators with Alan AtKisson, financed by the Swedish aid agency SIDA, and adopted Pyramid for use in her classes. For Pyramid 2012, she gathered members of the Peer and Environmental Educators Club on campus. They first conducted an audit of the challenges facing that campus, and chose waste management and hygiene as the most urgent issue needing attention. Their Capstone Agreement committed the group to improvement projects (more information will follow soon). Congratulations, BTTC Harare!