Interviewing the personnalities

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  • Topics :

    1. Toward a sustainable world
    2. The concept of sustainable development
    3. Which places to live in for tomorrow?
    4. Science, politics and society
    5. Territories and resources
    6. Solidarity
    7. Environment and Health
    8. Today’s youth


    9. Towards a sustainable world
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      • Demand for resources is set to continue to rise precipitously in coming decades, even as supply constraints multiply, posing challenges for economic growth, the environment and social well-being. Environmental effects such the over-exploitation of groundwater resources further increase the vulnerability of resource supply systems. Institutions of every stripe will need to rethink how they manage resources and bolster long-term resilience: a resource revolution.
        Dominic Barton (Canada),Global Managing Director of McKinsey & Company.

      • In 1999, during my tour around the world in a hot air balloon (www.bertrandpiccard.com), I got a feeling for what sustainable development means. The expedition’s meteorologists had advised me to fly at an altitude of 8,000 meters, where the wind would push us at only 60km/h. When I proudly told them that I found a jet stream enabling me to fly twice as fast, they retorted “Do you want to fly very quickly in the wrong direction or slowly in the right one?”. I had to bring myself to lose altitude and slow down, but that’s what enabled me to stay in the right stream and to accomplish the world tour. Today’s problem is that companies and governments don’t listen to the advice of “meteorologists” who promote a long-term vision, and our world is still going very quickly in the wrong direction…
        Bertrand Piccard (Switzerland), Initiator and president of the Solar Impulse project, a long-range solar powered plane scheduled to a round-the-world flight in 2012, and renowned balloonist.


      • We need to find a way to go forward without having to be forced to do so by a major crisis. I think that the international community must create a framework to address planetary issues globally. Ideally, there should be a Ministry of Planetary Affairs in each government worldwide. A more global level of governance should gradually arise and reinforce itself.
        Brice Lalonde (France),Executive Coordinator of the Rio+20 Conference and former French Minister of the Environment.

      The concept of sustainable development
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      • The concept of sustainable development stands the test of time. However, the world needs to take new steps to agree on its effective implementation. This is a challenge for Rio+20, when “Green Economy“ and Institutional framework are key points on the agenda. I believe Rio+20 should agree on a process towards ”Sustainable Development Goals”, all countries reporting regularly and transparently and held to account for progress towards such agreed goals. The MDG’s now need to be supplemented by new sustainable development goals.
        Gro Brundtland (Norway), Former Chair of the World Commission of Environment and Development, former Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Norway and member of The Elders.

      • The declaration by the United Nations General Assembly on 28 July 2010, considering safe and clean drinking water and sanitation a human right essential to the full enjoyment of life and all other human rights, is not a revolution per se, but a pronouncement that may trigger many revolutions in years to come. […] As we move along in the era of more – not less – water scarcity, many more people […] will be demanding their “right to fresh clean water” as has been deemed by the UN in 2010.
        Rafiq Husseini (Palestine), Deputy Secretary General of the Union for the Mediterranean for Environment and Water, a multilateral partnership focusing on regional cooperation and prosperity through concrete projects

      • We are in the midst of a cultural revolution. Semantic confusion is inherent to such a process, which is about shifting values and adopting new behaviors for a better and more equitable world. The definition of sustainable development may not be perfect yet, but beyond the quest for the best terminology, from an academic and scientific point of view, we should focus our attention on the concrete efforts made by millions of people in the world, especially young people sometimes with little or no education at all, who already converted themselves into committed actors for a more sustainable future.
        André Trigueiro (Brazil), Environmental journalist at the Brazilian TV channel Globo News and author of the bestseller “Mundo Sustentável”.

      • Gandhi’s “Antyodaya” philosophy which focused on the bottom stratum of society is a step in the process of the Gandhian concept of development whereby individual and community-level efforts are accomplished out of self-initiative to provide basic necessities to the poorest people. It emphasizes that progress for the welfare of all should be achieved without collision of interest, but rather through harmonious daily conduct. To the young generation of today I would like to suggest the Antyodaya approach as an inspiration to measure their actions by which they do not forget, and even try estimating, the impact that their actions have on the planet and on opportunities for others. In a very subtle but significant way the concept of Antyodaya also highlights the issue of externalities associated with private decisions. Sustainable development needs to incorporate externalities in decision making at all levels.
        Rajendra Kumar Pachauri (India), Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize jointly with Mr. Al Gore (2007), Director General of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) and Director of Yale Climate and Energy Institute

      Which places to live in for tomorrow?
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      • Urbanization is great news: cities are concentration of opportunities so they are powerful vehicles to create wealth and at the same time shortcuts towards equality. But the 3 “S” of the process – scale, speed and scarcity – will require the coordination of academic knowledge, public policy framework, socioeconomic and cultural constraints, market implementation and a core professional chain to make urbanization sustainable. As any complex issue, the capacity to go beyond mere diagnosis and mobilize all available energies in the form of smart proposals will come from the power of synthesis. This will be the challenge and the potential contribution of strategic design.
        Alejandro Aravena (Chile), Architect, member of the Pritzker Prize jury and laureate of the Global Award for Sustainable Architecture in 2008.

      • In order for cities to reconcile urban realities with the need for sustainable development, intergenerational participatory planning should be integrated into design processes. As urban areas grow and cities are planned, incorporating youth voices would invigorate decision-making, through interdisciplinary and intergenerational teams. Greater connectivity among young people has resulted in an increased ability to organize and mobilize around issues that matter to them. Enhanced civic participation is key to reconnect the science of sustainability with daily realities.
        Jennifer Corriero (Canada), Co-Founder and Executive Director of TakingITGlobal.

      • We must use our imagination to push forward a new lifestyle. How do we convince the Northern countries to reduce their consumption? How do we tell Southern countries that they can’t have the same wasteful consumption pattern prevailing in the U.S.? In this case, the role played by youth is fundamental. The valorization of free time and of a lifestyle which is slower, healthier and more respectful towards nature is growing among the youth, even in developing countries like Brazil.
        Emilio Lèbre La Rovere (Brazil), Professor of Energy and Environmental Planning and Coordinator of the Environmental sciences Laboratory at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.

      • What would an alternative city look like if its natural forces are respectfully used and not controlled? Vegetable and food would be produced on the streets or in the parks, floods would come and go to the benefits of the city, waste would be absorbed and cleansed by the natural processes, birds and native species would cohabit the city with human beings and the beauty of nature would be appreciated in its authenticity, not tamed nor heavily maintained. Ecological urbanism doesn’t rely on grey infrastructures, but on green infrastructure to deliver the goods and services needed by the city.
        Kongjian Yu (China), Professor and Dean of the College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture at Peking University and President of the design institute Turenscape.

      Science, politics and society
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      • We are all aware of the arguments from politicians and biologists, but for people to really want to change you have to connect with their emotions and artists have an essential role to play in that. My underwater sculptures are designed to ensure they aggregate fish and provide a suitable substrate for corals to settle, while diverting tourists away from natural reefs. They have no ownership; they belong to the sea, a communal space, with no visual boundaries that really demonstrates how we are all part of the same planet.
        Jason deCaires Taylor (UK), Founder and Artistic Director of Museo Subacuático de Arte of Cancún

      • In our interconnected world, we need to break down traditional silos of academic disciplines, for our graduates to be better prepared to address the emerging issues of sustainability, grounded in the humanitarian values and cross-disciplinary thinking that can and should be one of the hallmarks of a great liberal arts and science education.
        Amy Gutmann (USA), President of the University of Pennsylvania and professor of political science.

      • Reaching the goal of long-tem sustainability of the biosphere requires us to coordinate and collaborate on a scale that has never been seen before. We cannot simply design a program to “save the biosphere”. Rather, the first prerequisite for solving such a large and complex system is to guide the development of a “global brain”, an emergent property arising from the integration of people and knowledge on a vast, unparalleled scale. We must promote open innovation through non-traditional structures, which can facilitate interaction among all stakeholders, including scientists, entrepreneurs, young leaders, and professional artists seeking to explore and nurture the vibrant intersection between art and science. This is precisely one of the strategic objectives of the B2 Institute at the University of Arizona—a unique think tank and research incubator that addresses the scientific Grand Challenges of our time.
        Joaquin Ruiz (USA), Executive Dean of the Colleges of Letters, Arts and Science, Professor of Geochemistry at the University of Arizona and Director of Biosphere 2, an Earth systems science research facility.

      • In theory, we all want global rules, but we also need to ensure that they are properly implemented locally. We need “to think globally and act locally”, but also to “think locally and act globally”. Both are needed. We also need to enhance the United Nations to help effectively in the management of Natural resources, but at the same time improve the internal management of the United Nations themselves to serve efficiently the peoples.
        Michael Scoullos (Greece), Chairman of the Mediterranean Information Office for Environment, Culture and Sustainable Development and Chairman of the Global Water Partnership-Mediterranean.

      Territories and resources
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      • Territorial solidarity is the key to local sustainability. Beyond solely rural and solely urban areas, we must maintain transitional and hybrid spaces over the long term, contributing to food security (through local supply chains) as well as providing vital ecosystem services (e.g. climate regulation through water cycles, wooden areas, etc.). Such territorial solidarity requires economic linkages, reinforced by cultural bridges among communities to share resources and mobilize our collective intelligence in order to achieve a better quality of life.
        Martha Delgado Peralta (Mexico),, Minister of the Enviroment for the Government of Mexico City.

      • Increase role of local authorities will be a key solution to the situation and I believe it will not have a threat to the sovereignty of the state. Devolution of authority will increase the autonomy and responsibility of the local governments in local development. They can find their own solutions that are more suitable to their own environment.
        Sampath Perera (Sri Lanka), Chairman of the Sri Lanka Young Councillors National Platform, committed to the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals.

      • All levels of governance must be involved actively in the effort of preserving the necessary balance between four key elements of the equation in today’s world: population, urbanization, production and the environment. Governments, corporations and actors from the civil society all play a role in the delivery of public goods and services, which places them in a situation of joint liability to build, operate and continuously improve vital infrastructure networks in an equitable manner. Young professionals are powerful agents of change.
        Miguel Angel Carreon Sanchez (Mexico), Director General del Instituto Mexicano de la Juventud (IMJUVE)

      Solidarity
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      • Every day men and women make decisions that affect our environment, families, economy, the fate of our lives and our community. Working to reduce poverty, to secure equal rights and opportunities between men and women and to find a development model that protects our environment is not only the work of men. It’s the work of all of us. The world needs all the strength, all the intelligence, and the voices of all of us. Women and girls cannot be outside this global challenge. To put our world into greater balance, women need to be on equal terms with men. We are working for this.
        Michelle Bachelet (Chile), United Nations Under-Secretary-General, Executive Director of UN Women and Former President of the Republic of Chile.

      • The environment is a cause that completely transcends political ideology, and that is truly beyond left and right. It’s a health issue, it’s a moral issue, it’s our deepest obligation to our children.
        Arianna Huffington (USA), Co-Founder of The Huffington Post, President and Editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post Media Group

      • In an era when a country’s competitiveness depends on its cities’ competitiveness, the Koreans search for solutions in their traditional philosophy of living together in harmony. This lifestyle is not limited to human beings, but embraces all components of the world, whether animate or inanimate. When we plan a city, construct buildings, and create spaces in a spirit of co-prosperity, we should not only make microscopic judgments, but put into consideration the harmony of today and possible circumstantial changes of tomorrow both in planning and practice. […] It is also very important to restore the original equilibria of things, which have been disturbed due to development.
        Wan-su Park (South Korea), Mayor of Changwon, the 8th most populous city in South Korea, and member of the UCLG World Council (United Cities and Local Governments).

      • To deal properly with the challenges related to sustainable development, we must take into account as many perceptions and experiences as possible. Everywhere in the world, local and indigenous communities have a role to play, and their knowledge must be mobilized and incorporated when designing new solutions to progress towards more sustainability. As growing unplanned urbanization and pollution increase people’s vulnerabilities, environmental health and sanitation should be considered first priorities in the name of collective interest, in cities but also in rural areas.
        Sukanta Sen (Bangladesh), Executive Director of the Bangladesh Resource Centre for Indigenous Knowledge, an NGO focused on empowering local and indigenous communities.

      Environment and Health
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      • Health is wealth. It is perhaps the most important enabler of development. There is no life if health is not prioritized. This is why we must ensure that the pollution of our water supplies, our air, our food, and our other common natural goods, does not continue. Ecosystems are no longer able to take care of themselves – we must be the stewards of our environment. There is no point in investing in healthcare systems or building access to these systems if we are, at the same time, making ourselves sick by polluting our most basic environmental resources.
        Noeleen Heyzer (Singapore), United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific.

      • We need to enter in a post-carbon, sustainable 21st century. In the coming era, hundreds of millions of people will produce their own green energy in their homes, offices, and factories, and share it with each other in an “energy Internet,” just like we now create and share information online. Five pillars of this Third Industrial Revolution are: shifting to renewable energy; transforming the building stock of every continent into micro-power plants; deploying hydrogen and other storage technologies; using Internet technology to transform the power grid into an energy-sharing intergrid; transitioning the transport fleet to electric plug-in and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.
        Jeremy Rifkin (USA), American essayist, specialist in economic and social prospective, Founder and President of the Foundation on Economic Trends and senior lecturer at the Wharton School’s Executive Education Program.
        More about: Science, politics and society

      • In the final analysis the choice of an environmentally responsible lifestyle is a personal one, based on a moral or even faith-based position. More of our educational resources should be geared to creating this much needed mindset, currently shared by a minority, certainly not a majority of the world’s citizens.
        Naomi Tsur (Israel), Environmentalist, Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem (Israel) and Green Pilgrimage Network Ambassador

      • There is no dividing line between the stories of nature and humanity. They are one and the same: human beings are dependent on the natural world for air, water, food, shelter, warmth and so much more. Nature is much more resilient than we are as a single species within it. Once we, as proponents of sustainable development, give up any claims to moral superiority and admit that sustainable development is an initiative created by humans to protect humans, as opposed to the environment, I believe we’ll see more people jumping on the bandwagon.
        Melody Moezzi (Iran), Iranian-American writer, commentator, speaker, activist, author and attorney and Executive Director of the interfaith non-profit organization, 100 People of Faith

      Today’s youth
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      • As the legend speech by the 12-year-old Severn Suzuki at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (Rio, 1992) proved, the youth can better understand the truth of the world and they can even lead high-level experts to take action. I assume that young people are good at crossing the borders and using technologies, and I believe that they can be adaptive to the needs with regards to sustainable development, or whatever happens in this fast-moving world. Most importantly, we need to listen to the youth and delegate leadership to them in order to create a better future together.
        Mie Kajikawa (Japan), Social entrepreneur, Founder of “Sport For Smile,” the first-ever platform in Japan to use sport as a tool for a social change, and recipient of the Ernst & Young Groundbreakers Award (2011)

      • The deep-seated and long-awaited changes for our planet will come to fruition through our youth. Their immediate participation as decision-makers and actors in the transformation of society to preserve mother earth is urgent. Youth throughout the world needs to stand up and actively engage in order to build a sustainable future.
        Julia Marton-Lefèvre (Hungary), Director General of IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), the world’s oldest and largest global environmental organization.

      • The youth must be analytical and get involved in all aspects of development. They are increasingly recognized in decision-making processes and as future leaders must begin to be part of the process until they are fully recognized.
        Nana-Fosu Randall (Ghana), Founder and President, Voices of African Mothers, an NGO which is Co-Chair of the Women UN Major Group in the Rio+20 Process

      • The youth accounts for 50% of the population in Sub-Saharan countries, with some of the world’s highest unemployment rates. Young people represent the most powerful agents for change towards sustainable development and it is our responsibility to generate sound employment opportunities. Green jobs can be created all along the value chain, in both the agricultural sector (our farms) and the industrial sector (our plants). This is our very ambition: contributing to achieve food security, crucial for our countries affected by the climate change, while developing economic opportunities for the youth.
        Maidah Zeinabou (Niger), Chief Executive Director of Niger Lait, one of the leaders in the agro-industry business in Niger



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