We help our clients develop and advocate for policies that harness market forces and best practices to turn environmental problems into opportunities for prosperity. We seek to correct market, cultural and regulatory failures that needlessly pit human interests against those of the environment. We help individuals, organizations and communities adapt and flourish as vehicles of the transition to a sustainable society by providing them with the right information, strategies, tools and partners.
Resterra is guided by the following core principles:
Whole Systems Approach
Community sustainability needs extend across energy, climate protection, the built environment, land development, transportation, social networks, economic development, cultural heritage and infrastructure sectors. Resterra analyzes interconnected issues where decision-makers may not have the best conditions to identify causes or connections of a given issue in a comprehensive way. To understand why a problem exists or how to leverage a benefit is to understand the part in relation to the whole. Not only does systems thinking point the way to solutions to particular problems, but it also reveals interconnections between problems, which often permits one solution to be leveraged to create many more. More than just adding green features to communities, plans, or initiatives, RestTerra's integrated strategies consider all aspects of the project, from environmental impacts, public engagement, aesthetics, function and receptivity to industry-related challenges such as financing, scheduling, and regulatory compliance.
Resilience Thinking Lens
Resilience thinking is about understanding and engaging with a changing world. By understanding how and why the system as a whole is changing we are better placed to work with change. Building resilience into human-environment systems is an effective way to cope with change characterized by surprises and unknowable risks. There are four main clusters of factors relevant to building resilience: (1) learning to live with change and uncertainty, (2) nurturing various types of ecological, social and political diversity for increasing options and reducing risks, (3) increasing the range of knowledge for learning and problem-solving, and (4) creating opportunities for self-organization, including strengthening of local institutions and building cross-scale linkages and problem-solving networks. Local communities are better able to withstand various cycles of change if they know more about the ecological drivers of their region, embrace rather than control the processes of natural change, and are empowered to make their own decisions about appropriate local developments.
Rather than focusing on problems and assigning blame, we find better ways of meeting human needs that turn snowballing costs and problems into cascading savings and solutions. Environmental damage arises from an effort, usually sincere, to meet human needs. Citizens opposed to inappropriate development can be too easily cast as being opposed to this goal. The benefits of a positive approach are many. It broadens our constituency and fosters creativity and innovation. And by focusing on what we are for rather than against, it inspires and energizes our staff and partners- often enlisting unexpected allies including the public.