L. Hunter Lovins, president of Natural Capitalism, said there"s already proof that protecting the planet increases profits.
"We now have proof that businesses that act to protect people and the planet are the most profitable," said President of Natural Capitalism, Inc., L. Hunter Lovins, "We need solutions at the speed of business." Lovins works with government agencies and private businesses around the world promoting sustainability and the Natural Capitalism concept.
"If you build a green building you will have a 6-16 percent increase in labor productivity," said Lovins. People naturally perform better in environments with optimal lighting and sound, and with minimal toxins in the air they are breathing and materials they are using.
Another roadblock in transitioning toward green technology that the summit focused on was the publics" limited understanding of climate change. This problem is often presented as a catastrophe that is happening in the far-away future. And there are the devout climate change skeptics, too. Panelists agreed that the public needs to be trusted with the truth, which lies between these two extremes. If presented with real, not sensationalized, facts people will be more likely to respond in positive ways.
In a fast paced, mass media-dominated society, a problem such as global warming, as put by climatologist Heidi Cullen, "is the vegetables, and we have to sneak it into the dessert." Since we cannot wait until crisis happens for people to act, every possible outlet needs to be utilized in explaining that this is a problem with effects and solutions that will occur mostly in the long-term, but we need to change direction now.
One way to get the message out is through the next generation of leaders. Youth leaders in environmental climate change from around the world were invited to question the panelists in a Global TV Shoot to be aired later in the year.
"The youth can send a message about what they value," responded Dr. Schneider.
The summit culminated with a list of nine main points of consensus reached by the panel, places where efforts can be concentrated and best spent. Among them were the importance of education and movement building, implementing multiple technologies, transformational thinking, using a sense of place as a starting point for change, and, finally, fairness. Especially in Hawaii, where working citizens sleep on the beach because they cannot afford housing, local leaders stressed this change must include everyone. It must raise all boats.
Ramsey Taum, professor of Native Hawaiian Culture and Sustainability at the University of Hawaii, closed the event with a reflection on the importance of transforming words into action. "This is a discussion you have when you sit down at a table, and you should have it at every table to sit down at," Taum said.
Encouraging even the smallest actions can start making a difference as soon as tomorrow. "The prospect of changing the direction of the world is always daunting," reflected Lt. Governor Aiona, "but it can begin with smal
l simple changes in everyday use."
CONTACT: Blue Planet Foundation
SAMANTHA GRASSO is an intern at E.