Institute for a Sustainable Future
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Welcome to Institute for a Sustainable Future (ISF)!

ISF is a not-for-profit organization working to support and improve ecological health through advocacy, research, consultation and education. ISF works to build, support and replicate models of success. Consistent with its ecological approach, ISF engages in approaches which foster relationships and collaboration. ISF recognizes science and the arts as equally important in building a healthy, sustainable world.

Commons Health

Over the last five years, ISF has increasingly focused its work on systems thinking and interconnectedness. To  focus and build this collaborative work, ISF initiated the Commons Health Network. Using a systems framework, Commons Health works to catalyze and network place-based models of health creation.  For more information and to join the network, visit Commons Health.  


Interconnectedness and Systems

ISF believes that many of the dire issues of our time are a function of linear or mechanistic thinking and an associated outdated hierarchical operating system. We need a new approach. Systems thinking helps us shift toward what we value, from parts to the whole, from objects to relationships, from quantity to quality. By adopting a systems mindset, we usher in a new operating system of collaboration, networks and relationships.

Systems thinking helps us think creatively about multi-benefit solutions. By working toward safer chemical policies, we can enhance the health of individuals, workers that make our goods, our environment and our community. Systems thinking helps us understand the science and the concern about chemical contamination throughout the web of life. Similarly, our work on food systems has helped us understand that the issues of justice, access, nutrition and environment and others are false distinctions. They are all connected.


Jamie Harvie, P. E. is the Executive Director of Duluth, MN based Institute for a Sustainable Future (ISF) and is nationally recognized for his extensive experience at the intersection of health, community, environment and healthcare. For this work, he has been interviewed and cited in media including Time Magazine, USA Today, Minnesota and National Public Radio. Read Jamie Harvie's full bio here.

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Health, healthcare and navigating in uncertainty at CleanMed Talks 2017

ISF Executive Director Receives National Thought Leader Award with Michael Pollan
ISF Executive Director Receives National Thought Leader Award with Michael Pollan
Latest News
  • ISF connects with the Next Systems Project. “Ultimately, a health care system that works for everyone must include an ongoing process to include the voice of and to be accountable to the community.” Read about the Next Health System.