Using the doughnut to talk about sustainability



Recently my wife asked me to give a lecture about sustainability to the children from the executive of her company.
Since it’s a theme discussed to exhaustion in their schools, I was thinking on how to bring something new. And the Doughnut saved my day.
I decided to talk not about what is sustainability, how to be sustainable or those common subjects on the field.
So I presented to them why we’re not sustainable.
With the doughnut and graphs from Dan O’Neill’s site I was able to explain the why we have overshoot, and shortfall problems, how to read and understand the doughnut.
I first presented the doughnut, told about the meaning of each of it’s areas and bring O’Neill’s graphs for four distinct countries (Brazil, USA, Uganda and Finland) to explain how to read the doughnut and why the high developed countries are not sustainable as they claim, as Finland, Norway, etc… explaining the idea of exporting unsustainability to the countries from which they depend upon.
After that I discussed (with some graphical images) how this need for external products resulted in the current social/environmental problems and why it became a global issue in a finite planet where there is no outside.

Finally I could to make them understand (I hope) that the the answer to “how to be sustainable” is the good and old “enough is enough”. But also that a simple answer doesn’t implies in simple solutions.

I want to thank Kate for this fantastic tool.


There are some great resources developing in Wales on the back of our Well-Being of Future Generations Act, including these from one of our local authorities that might be worth sharing with the teachers.


I keep seeing things about “sustainability.” I want to find out what, if anything, is being done about “regeneration.”

A case in point is Joel Salatin and his methods of meat production. His grass use for cattle actually takes carbon out of the atmosphere.