Our Model of Stewardship Development

Around the world, people are recognizing and standing up to the wide range of environmental and social challenges that impact every aspect of human life and our economy. Many of these challenges are rooted in our current, dominant models of development. Over the past 70 to 80 years, our civilization has repeatedly—regardless of the nuances of place—simplified, segregated, and centralized our systems for food, energy, housing, water management, economic mobility, and social equity. Examples include massive cornfields, huge power plants, sprawling suburbs, giant dams, wealth inequality, and food deserts. These models have failed to adequately safeguard our health, quality of experience, natural systems, resource security, and integrity as a global community.  

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But at every step, we have gained knowledge and technologies that enable wiser options. The most effective solutions share common roots in decentralized, biologically inspired approaches. We see evidence in broad shifts toward diversified and organic agriculture, energy-efficient buildings, mixed-use neighborhoods, natural systems for water management, low-carbon transportation systems, and innovative investment models for achieving social impact outcomes. Such practices often have lower up-front capital requirements, are less reliant on imported resources, and create safer and more comfortable living environments for people.

The next great opportunity is to integrate these agricultural, energy, real estate, water, economic, and social advances into a resilient system in which humans continue to harvest resources for society while simultaneously enriching—rather than depleting—our ecological and cultural riches. The goal of this holistic approach is lasting prosperity, rather than short-term gain. We call this approach Stewardship Development.