GLOBE 2010 Brings The World to the Individual Level

GLOBE 2010 Brings The World to the Individual Level

“A green economy needs to just be the economy,” said Dianne Dillon-Ridgley, a board director at InterFace Global and member of the closing Town Hall session at the 20th anniversary Globe 2010 in Vancouver.  - a sentiment which would be shared by many and echoed throughout the conference.

Held every two years, Globe Foundation gathered over 10,000 participants from more than 80 countries to focus on a variety of themes that included Corporate Sustainability, Climate Change and Energy, Finance and Sustainability, Urban Infrastructure, Clean Technology, and Water: Impacts on Business.

According to many speakers, this year the conference seemed different – more participants, more women, and a greater number of students and young professionals.  One young woman, summed up her generation’s challenge with a question to the panel – as she looks for her first sustainability job, should she work for an oil and gas company and try change them, or work for something new and different? Nicholas Parker, Executive Chairman, Cleantech Group LLC in San Francisco, CA, encouraged her to “work in the lion’s den and help create the change we, and they, need to be.”  Those fossil fuel companies, Parker asserted, are facing necessary and inevitable transformation and we should all welcome and support it.

The Honorable John Yap, Minister of State for Climate Action, Government of British Columbia, Victoria, BC, David Runnalls, President & CEO, International Institute for Sustainable Development, Ottawa, ON  and Tony Manwaring, Chief Executive, Tomorrow’s Company, London, UK rounded out the panel.

Christopher Henderson, President, Lumos Energy in Ottawa, ON moderated a lively conversation between attendees and panelists that explored -- what is a green economy? What is each person going to commit to changing or doing different? How do governments, citizen consumers, businesses and NGOs tell the stories that will effect the swiftest, necessary changes?

Diane Dillion-Ridgle observed that a sense of urgency of the moment is needed, alongside a long horizon view.  “This is the 21st century agenda for the completion of democracy throughout the world,” said Dillion-Ridgle.  Interestingly, she cites language as a key factor in accelerating change.  “We still have such siloed language, and we must integrate economic language to include language of the social component – one that ensures equity and parity. As a society and in business,” she continued, “we simply have to find a way to work horizontally rather than these silos of financials, and human rights and environmental concerns.”

John Yap, British Columbia’s Climate Action Minister, is showcased his provinces’ leadership in climate change legislation.  “Green must become mainstream because climate change is the challenge of our generation.  In BC we made this one of the central planks of our agenda and we now have the first ever CO2 emissions tax in North America.  We also pledge to be the first jurisdiction that is carbon neutral by the end of 2010.”

David Runnalls, founder and CEO of International Institute for Sustainable Development, took a global view of the challenges facing humanity, “There is too much business as usual.  We have to make significant reduction of our ecological footprint.”  He described the dichotomy of both a bottoms up or top down approach and articulated that it requires an integration of both efforts.

The addition of meaning, a spiritual dimension is what is missing in most discussions of a green economy, according to Tony Manwaring of Tomorrow’s Company.  “We must include a different sense of what has value and what is valued.  This means a change of consciousness about how we live and the interconnection of environment and cultural, social and spiritual dimensions.”

Manwaring asserted that to base the future of our humanity on what we’ve learned in the last 50 years (eg. The industrial revolution and management training) rather than what we have unlearned in the same time is ludicrous.  Our new worldview must be a combination of new learning and re-embracing the old wisdom.

Nicholas Parker’s stark assessment that climate change is not a problem, it’s the symptom of a problem, set the stage for a call to action and greater imagination.  “This failure of imagining the future possible is the greatest challenge we face.”

“We must accept that for all of us, especially when we consider countries like India and China, fear and a win/lose game will not work, this must be a win/win economy not dependent on government handouts, and includes full cost pricing.”

According to Parker, a green economy is powerful, abundant and inclusive, and is built on innovation and imagination.

What an exciting vision for all of us.


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