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I have become increasingly concerned about the looming global sustainability challenge that will impact, and increasingly dominate, the lives of all people and institutions around the world for generations to come. As a result, I plan to devote the next decade to speaking about this challenge to our prosperity and survival, and the actions individuals, corporations and governments must take to become parts of the solution.
We will look back at this time in human evolution and realize that the Agricultural and Industrial Revolutions were followed by the "Sustainability Revolution", a time when the successes of the industrial revolution and market capitalism resulted in over population and demands on the planet’s resources that were no longer sustainable. We will realize that the values and economic measures of individual, corporate and national success, such as "more is better", "maximizing shareholder returns at all costs", and maximizing GNP rates of growth, were values and measures that drove us to take unsustainable actions with more and more disastrous consequences. Wilford gives his perspective on the severity of the sustainability crisis, the values and measures that need to change, and the danger of relying only on technology to solve the sustainability challenge. He draws upon his work organizing and leading the Quest for Global Healing conferences in 2004 and 2006 and the Beyond Sustainability – Redefining Progress conference in Hawaii in June of 2010. Audiences for this presentation include students at academic institutions, members of public affairs forums and businesses.
To most people, the sustainability challenge seems distant and nebulous relative to such near term challenges as job creation, maintaining profitability or dealing with national budget deficits. Drawing upon very sophisticated global mapping technologies however, Wilford shows in graphic detail why the sustainability challenge will significantly impact our lives and those of our children and grandchildren if we do not change our ways. He then explores the actions he believes we can and must take, as individuals, government officials and business leaders, to effectively address the challenge.
Social entrepreneurs are individuals who, often using business methods, develop systemic solutions to social and environmental challenges, such as delivering health services, education, clean water and financial services to the poor. Wilford draws upon what he learned about social entrepreneurship during his two years of travel in North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia while researching and writing his recent book, The Tactics of Hope – How Social Entrepreneurs are Changing Our World. Wilford discusses what it takes to be a successful social entrepreneur, and gives examples of many social entrepreneurs and their initiatives. Wilford often gives this speech and a follow-on workshop with David Hopkins, a member of the millennial generation who worked on the book with him.
Students and participants at social entrepreneurship conferences will learn how they can create careers that will address social and environmental challenges while still doing well for themselves. Members of the encore generation will learn how they can employ the skills and resources developed during their careers to solve social and environmental challenges - and the potential of intergenerational collaboration. Business leaders will learn how the methods employed by social entrepreneurs can be adopted by business to achieve their business objectives.
During the course of five professions over fifty years, and his work and travels in over 100 countries on all seven continents, Wilford has developed a unique perspective on such global economic, social and political forces as the rise of China, a country he knows quite well, the rise of civil society and social entrepreneurship, about which he has written a book, the power of transparency to disrupt and shape business strategies, and the implications of cascading resource constraints. These are among the ten external driving forces currently shaping the world of business and the lives of individuals and nations that Wilford explores with his audiences. He gives this presentation to business groups, professional associations, at public affairs forums and at colleges and universities.
As the world has become more globalized and interdependent, economic, social and political forces emanating from far away can have a major impact on one’s business and one’s life. For many years as an international business consultant Wilford used driving forces analysis, alternative futures analysis and scenarios to help identify forces external as well as internal to a corporation’s businesses that future strategies had to take into account. He applies these same techniques here for the benefit of his audiences.
Wilford is as comfortable in the natural world as he is in government and business environments. And, over the years, he has found that the natural world and high altitude mountaineering have much that businesses, as well as individuals, can learn from and apply for their benefit. He often gives this presentation with Steve Goryl, the leader of the 1994 Everest Environmental Expedition, in which Wilford was a member of the support team. The expedition removed over 5,000 pounds of trash from the high camps on Everest and introduced the notion of "Leave No Trace" to high altitude mountaineering. This presentation is given at corporate and association events, at public affairs forums and at universities. Visit Everest and the Enterprise.
Wilford and Steve take audiences up to the top of Mount Everest, a journey which is exciting in its own right. But the learnings from high altitude mountaineering and the natural world have much to teach us all about how to create a sustainable future in which we are no longer focused on conquering the natural world, but working in alignment with it so that it can sustain us.
What an awesome presentation- Wei Tai Kwok, President, 1990 Institute Read more endorsements