Foundational Principles

Foundational Principles are assertions we consider to be self-evident, which do not require proof, even though many people do not think about them (and some people may even actively obfuscate them).


Humans are a part of nature, not apart from nature

The assimilative capacity of the natural systems of Earth is finite

Human activities are not exempt from the physical laws of the universe

Resource usage today impacts future quality of life

Detailed Principles

The following is a more detailed, but tentative, working set of principles that aim to capture the common understandings that bring PLAN members together:

  1. Humans are a part of nature, not apart from nature.
  2. Non-renewable materials cannot be harvested indefinitely on a finite planet.
  3. The ability of Earth’s ecosystems to assimilate pollution without consequences is finite.
  4. Energy throughput is essential to all human activities, including the economy.
  5. Technology is a tool for deploying, not creating energy.
  6. Fossil fuel combustion is the primary cause of ongoing global climate change.
  7. Exponential growth, whether of physical or economic form, must eventually cease.
  8. Today’s choices can simultaneously create problems for and deprive resources from future generations.
  9. Human behavior is consciously and unconsciously shaped by mental models of culture that, while mutable, impose barriers to change.
  10. Apparent success for a few generations during a massive draw-down of finite resources says little about chances for long-term success.

Looking for More Detail?

The following document contains a preliminary set of “working hypotheses”: assertions that may not be self-evident, but which we consider to be almost certainly true, based on current evidence.