Question Template, Following Principles of Compression Thinking

This line of general questioning may prompt you, but you have to make the questions situation specific. Do your own situation-specific research for any project or initiative.

  • How does this project/initiative fit into larger systems?
    • Natural systems?
      • Resource use (energy and materials)
      • Ecologies, nearby and far distant
    • Economic systems?
      • Markets, customers, intermediaries
      • Suppliers – supply chain participants
      • Long-term maintenance or field support
      • Scale of operations? Scale down instead of up?
      • Monetary affordability? Financing?
  • What “stakeholders” will be affected? How can you identify them? Who will speak for them, including the mute ones (plants, animals, mineral deposits, watersheds, water systems, and disposal sites)?
    • What are the objective effects on stakeholders’ quality of life? (Data)
    • What are the subjective effects on stakeholders; will they perceive their quality of life as improving or deteriorating?
    • What do stakeholders need to learn? Information? Education? Will they accept what they learn? Can disinformation be anticipated?
    • What ongoing learning process can be built in? (See Dialog)
    • What stakeholders will be active participants? Which ones passive?
  • Do you have, as an attractor, a central place for demonstrations, meetings, and dialogs to propagate the culture (and the momentum of change).
  • Will total use of energy decrease? For a whole community? For s total supply chain? (Increasing use in one place could reduce total use.) Where is energy being wasted? What sources of energy seem feasible?
  • Will total use of water decrease? For a whole community? For a total supply chain? (Increasing use in one place could reduce total use.) What is the quality and probable future of water sources? Low-energy water (easy to get in usable state). Or high-energy water (takes a lot of pumping or processing).
  • Will use of land decrease? (Like compacting residential housing instead of sprawling it. What customs, beliefs, laws, and regulations might inhibit this?)
  • What toxins are in use now? How can you know? What toxins can be eliminated? (Toxins are chemical; pathogens are biological – living. Both can cause trouble.) By the Precautionary Principle, avoid using substances whose consequences are unknown. Some toxins occur in nature, like snake venom. A toxin review may be very technical. The toxicity of thousands of chemicals is unknown.
  • Where do trash and discards go? What are possibilities for local reuse, rebuild, and recycle? What are the hazards of leaching or other contamination from waste sites or receptacles?
  • How can people in a community maintain health (avoid getting sick). How can you promote exercise, good diet selections, locally grown food, and waste of food?
  • What are provisions for draughts, floods, or storms? Can the community rebuild easily? (It’s easier if disaster resilience is considered in original designs.)
  • How can the community adapt to long-term changes in environment (climate and weather, mostly)?
  • What are possibilities for local rent/borrow “libraries” of tools, vehicles, and devices that most of us use only occasionally?
  • Will land be opened to let nature regenerate soil and macro-ecologies? (A park does not preserve nature. In nature preserves, human disruption is negligible.)
  • What new balance with nature will be struck? (This cannot be precisely foreseen; natural balance can be perturbed by invasive species or by human system effects like light and noise. Anyplace close to human activity cannot become “pristine.”)
  • What will the initiative look like in 100-200 years? What’s the follow up plan?
  • Most of all, how can a community wean itself off excessive, wanton consumption?
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