Time Being of the Essence Principle
Act with a sense of urgency short-term and support resilient sustainability for the
Understanding the past provides a perspective on present realties and future possibilities. Future scenarios include both doomsday and utopian possibilities. Evaluative thinking applied to the present can be joined with futuristic thinking to illuminate forward-looking patterns and trajectories. Monitoring how interventions and initiatives unfold can inform adaptations along the way.
The Blue Marble Evaluation approach to time reframes traditional evaluation thinking as follows:
- beyond project and program time boundaries to a global ecological sustainability timeframe;
- from a static (continuity) to a dynamic (resilience) approach to sustainability;
- from short-term to long-term thinking; and
- from past time (Holocene) complacency to real-time (Anthropocene) urgency.
Implications for design include:
- Design interventions to accomplish shorter-term results while enhancing capacity for long-term resilient sustainability of the intervention through ongoing adaptation.
- Design initiatives with attention to how larger systems dynamics, both human and environmental systems, will affect the development and adaptation of the intervention over time.
- Design interventions to contribute to global planetary sustainability.
- Include in the intervention design expected and evaluable milestones of resilient sustainability progress?
Possible evaluation questions include:
- To what extent and in what ways does an initiative systemically address the relationship between shorter-term results and longer-term resilient sustainability?
- How are larger system dynamics, both human and environmental, tracked to support initiative adaptations over time?
- To what extent, in what ways, and within what timeframe does a particular initiative contribute to global planetary sustainability?
- How and when are evaluation activities and reporting timed to ensure timeliness?