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“We are not here to curse the darkness, but to light the candle that can guide us through that darkness to a safe and sane future.” ~John F. Kennedy
The latest United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Brazil, dubbed “Rio+20,” has been met with mixed reviews, at best. The conference’s outcome document is named The Future We Want, but detractors such as the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) have renamed it “a future we can’t live with.”[i]
But rather than curse the darkness, I’d like to focus on a couple of candles coming out of Rio…
The first is that private businesses often are leading when governments fail to lead. Amidst its criticisms, the UCS praises the more than 400 companies, which comprise the Consumer Goods Forum, who have pledged to achieve zero net deforestation in their supply chains by 2020.[ii] Also, banks, investors and insurers joined forces with more than 50 countries, as well as corporations such as Unilever, Puma, Dow Chemical and Mars Incorporated, to make a collective call for natural capital valuation and accounting.
The second candle is the Higher Education Sustainability Initiative, which was launched during a side event at Rio+20.[iii] To-date more than 700 institutions of higher learning from all over the world have signed the declaration, which reads as follows:
As Chancellors, Presidents, Rectors, Deans and Leaders of Higher Education Institutions and related organizations, we acknowledge the responsibility that we bear in the international pursuit of sustainable development. On the occasion of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, held in Rio de Janeiro from 20-22 June 2012, we agree to support the following actions:
As both a business and an institution for higher education, we applaud such efforts.
“An age is called ‘dark,’ not because the light fails to shine but because people refuse to see it.” ~James Michener
by Kyle Crider
Kyle Crider is Manager – Environmental Operations at Ecotech Institute and Education Corporation of America. He holds a Master of Public Administration degree with a double-emphasis in Urban Planning & Policy Analysis. He is also a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional, Neighborhood Development (LEED AP ND). He is currently in the Interdisciplinary Engineering Ph.D. Program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author and not necessarily those of Ecotech Institute or Education Corporation of America. Email Kyle at firstname.lastname@example.org