Published by Camilla on 01 Dec 2010 at 01:00 am
This year, Planet Workshops (Les Ateliers de la Terre) took place near Lake Lemon at the foot of the French Alps in the very smart ‘Evian Royal Resort’. Nearly 600 people gathered over 3 days around the theme: “Is innovation enough to face the great challenges of sustainable development?”
This topic gave rise to some intense discussions during the workshops and plenary sessions which involved an extremely diverse group of people from the corporate, not-for-profit and political world including; Tony Juniper (Former President of Friends of the Earth, UK), Jean-Pierre Raffarin (Former French Prime Minister), Rajendra Kumar Pachauri (2007 Nobel Peace prize winner), Franck Riboud (CEO, Danone), Mahamadou Danda (Prime Minister, Niger) among others.
Among noteworthy speakers for me were Bertrand Piccard (the Swiss balloonist and visionary behind Solar Impulse) who demanded that we take greater risks and urged us to embrace a ‘pioneering spirit’ (esprit de pionnier) in the struggle to wean ourselves off fossil fuels. John Grant (author of ‘Co-opportunity‘), who describes himself as a ‘hippy, green, intellectual and corporate anarchist’, who discussed different forms of collaboration based on co-operation which are offering us effective organizing tools and may constitute a way for us to ‘ensure our own survival’.
Rather than summarize the many points made by the speakers, I thought it might be useful to share a few extracts from the Twitter feed from the event:
@NoveTerra #evian2010 Tony Juniper (Pdt of Friends of The Earth UK) we have to change our mindset on the way we consume and impact our planet.
(see video interview of Tony Juniper at the workshops)
(see video interview (in French) of Bertrand Piccard at the workshops)
@lespiedsurterre 2,5 billions people have no access to clean water (translated) #evian2010
@SoAnn #evian2010 we have to invent a type of humanism based on change i.e. a new form of humanism for the 21st century according to Raffarin (translated)
#evian2010 What you can’t measure, you can’t manage and if you can’t manage, you can’t change says nalmera arbex
The CEO of Danone talks during the discussion on ‘The growing duties of enterprises’
#evian2010 La prise de risque n’est plus valorisée alors que c’est aussi comme cela qu’on apprend et qu’on grandit (Arnaud Mourot – Ashoka)
#evian2010 Ganesh quotes Gandhi : whenever you’re starting a project, ask yourself if its going to benefit the poorest
A Consensus on the Issues?
Was there an overall consensus on the core question of whether ‘innovation is enough to face the great challenges of sustainable development?“. Clearly, innovation alone is insufficient to create a sustainable world. Many felt the role of governments is critical in creating the necessary global societal changes. Others felt that socially and environmentally responsible corporations offer the best opportunity for long-term environmental and social change. Suffice to say, the discussions continue.
I think, however, that all those who listened to the French astronaut, Jean-Francois Clervoy, talking about his experiences in space were in full agreement when he said ”our planet is the one unifying factor for us all.”
Camilla Burg (WiserEarth) & Anne-Sophie Novel (from the blog Ecolo-Info) at Planet Workshops in Evian
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