Institute for a Sustainable Future
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Welcome to 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 heirarchical operating system. We need a new approach. Systems thinking helps us in many ways including a shift from what we value, from parts to the whole, from objects to relationship, from quanity to quality. In so doing systems thinking ushers in a new operating system of collaboration, networks and relationships.

Systems thinking helps us think creatively about multi-benefit solutions. By working towards 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 for 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 one and the same.


Jamie Harvie, P. E. is the Executive Director of Duluth 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.  Full bio here.

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ISF Executive Director Recieves National Thought Leader Award
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ISF Executive Director receives the Minnesota Public Health Association Paul and Sheila Wellstone Achievement Award for distinguished leadership in public health. See twenty year old clip of Jamie Harvie interviewed as mercury man, by Ed Ehlingher M.D. current MN Commissioner of Health and 2006 Wellstone award winner.