Category Archives: Sustainability Information Diet (SID)

Sustainability and Food Production Challenges

All types of organizations are producing animation, slide shows, documentary style videos, feature films, commercials, and the expert-interview to communicate their perspectives on food – big challenges of agricultural reform and rising food prices; food supply and demand; sourcing; and food safety.

The following curated selection reflects the complexity of the sustainability category of food production and farming and points out the opportunity for us to make more capable decisions about the food we buy and eat as well as move us beyond the more common conversations around organic products and nutrition, especially dieting.  Hopefully at least several of the eight will be conversation starters for you around the dinner table, at work, and in community meetings.


1. Big Picture, Agricultural Reform, University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment, How to Feed People without Destroying our Environment? 3:02 – 35,396 views on YouTube. 2. Paradigm Shift, Agriculture, Sophia joanes, Fresh (trailer), 2:54 – 144,000 views on YouTube.

3. Big Issue, Food Prices & Poverty, The World Bank, Rising Food Prices and Hunger, 2:50 – 206,843 views on YouTube.

moopheus4. Supply & Demand, Local Farming, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Back to the Start, 2:20 – 6,043,001 views on YouTube. 5. Factory Farming, Sustainable Table , Meatrix and the Lie We tell Ourselves, 3:46 – 135,687 views on YouTube.

6. Sourcing, McDonald’s lettuce supplier, Top Quality from Field to Fork, 1:54 – 213,730 views on YouTube. lettuce7. IBM commercial, Tracking Food through the Supply Chain, 0:31 – 18,073 views on YouTube.

8. Food Safety, Richard Linton, Ohio State University, Food Safety, 2:05 – 170 views on YouTube.

Ruth Ann Barrett, Sustainability Advocate, March 28, 2012, San Francisco, California 415-377-1835

What is Sustainability?

The 1.2M citizens per month* searching Google on the term, sustainability, very often ask, as we do here, What is Sustainability? It shows we have some work to do to raise awareness by starting with the basics. The definition I use most frequently comes from the Constitution of the Iroquois Nations:

Look and listen for the welfare of the constitutionwhole people and have always in view not only the present but also the coming generations, even those whose faces are yet beneath the surface of the ground – the unborn of the future Nation.

Here are thirteen other voices, some you may recognize, others, until you listen, are strangers, but all are sustainability advocates.panel1 We begin with Dr. Stuart Hall of Cornell University, Sustainability Has Many Definitions, 1:37

Larry Merculieff (Aleut), Alaska Native Science Commission, Use of the Term Sustainability 4:52. This is one interview of a series conducted by Dr. David Hall on Native Perspectives of Sustainability.

Dr. Karl-Henrik Robèrt of The Natural Step, Defining Sustainability:Business panel2Insights, 1:39 and The Responsibility of Civic and Business Leaders, A Personal View 5:56. No better source for sustainability than Dr. Robèrt.

Dassault Systemes, Definition of Sustainable Innovation, Elementary Style, animation, 2:50

Hunter Lovins, Natural Capitalism Solutions, What is Sustainability? A Nest of Issues 9:26

RealEyes, Definition of Sustainability, animated feature 2:02. More videos on their YouTube channel such as Sustainability in Turkish.

panel3Dr. Albert Bartlett, Sustainability 101: Exponential Growth, 59:12 Even the first 3 minutes is worth the listen especially about percent growth rate, but this is really stuff we should have all learned in arithmetic.

Chris Farrell, Being Frugal: The Original Sustainability, 5:34 He makes a good point.

Christoph Lueneburger of Egon Zehnder, Definition of Sustainability by Corporations, 3:01. Biggest barrier is just starting with the definition.

People 4 Earth, Consumer Awareness of Sustainability, animation, 2:50. More of this kind of education and we further consumer and sustainability awareness.

Allison and Bud McGrath, R&K McGrath & Associates, What Is Sustainability? (audio only) and a father-daughter team.

Professor Julian Agyeman, Tufts University, What is Just Sustainability? 38:11. This is Julian’s keynote speech before the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).

Professor Nikos Avionas, What is Your Vision for Sustainability, 4:56

sastampThese voices of sustainability on will give you more to talk about, new people to reference, and great quotes when the topic of sustainability comes up as it does often. We hope you will be inspired to do your own definition and “broadcast yourself.”  When you do post it to YouTube to let us know about it and we will add it to our special collection, What Is Sustainability?  If you want to do more online video around sustainability to increase sustainability awareness for you and your business, call us. With over 1,000 voices now in our collection, all curated for relevancy and quality, we have learned a bit about sustainability and online video.

Ruth Ann Barrett, Sustainability Advocate, March 12, 2012, Portland, Oregon, 415-377-1835.

Note: *This is about the same number for those searching on corporate social responsibility and those wanting to know the price of an iPhone.


Changing Climate Patterns

Climate change is on the surface a hot potato.  There are all sorts of folks from Prince Charles to Prince CharlesProf Naomi Oreskes pointing out the folly of ignoring the scientific consensus on the warming of our earth and its cause – us.  One thing YOU can do is look at the evidence and come to your own conclusions.

Today’s issue of the Sustainability Information Diet (SID*) features two videos using visualization. Exploring how climate works and getting an Earth perspective enables us to see what’s going on thanks to software that turns data into a visual representation.

I selected these two from the over 900 videos we’ve curated on the subject of sustainability, keeping them organized using a database that displays them for public access on our site, in the special collection on climate change.

warmingvideoNASA Finds 2011 Ninth-Warmest Year on Record

In this animation of temperature data from 1880-2011, reds indicate temperatures higher than the average during a baseline period of 1951-1980, while blues indicate lower temperatures than the baseline average.  Visit Union of Concerned Scientists for more information.

Uncovering Winter’s Mystery


A brief recap of the satellite news media tour on February 1, 2012 that looked at the science of falling snow, how NASA observes snow from space, and the factors that lead to the 2010 “Snowmageddon.” For more on the story, check out

*The SID series by Ruth Ann Barrett of is designed to increase sustainability awareness and address the information overload problem of our readers through portion control – selecting out the best – and emphasizing online video, especially the unfiltered voices of business and civic leaders, teachers, experts, and citizens from all walks of life.  It’s a series that is part of her blog, Sustainability Advocate.