Are you a top-down policy wonk or grassroots-up kind of environmentalist? Both are equally important if we’re to save the planet and the future of our kids.
For the top-down policy wonks approach, today’s United Nations World Environment Day is the big event that kicks off the Earth Summit in Rio. This year’s theme of Green Economy: Does it include you? highlights green economy goals of low carbon, resource efficiency and social inclusiveness. Over 500 on-site side events organized by governments, major groups, organizations from the UN system, and other International Organizations are happening in Rio Centro leading up to the Summit in Brazil’s famous party-hearty town.
A new industrial revolution in which companies and designers incorporate responsible and mindful choices concerning the environment throughout their business practices is lurching along. In our book review, Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things, the message is sustainability, fair trade and labor with an imperative to offer consumers environmentally healthy products as the end goal. The EU is leading the charge of top-down change. For example, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany are the Olympic champion of trash management. Their legislators knew they needed to make big changes and they did. Conscientious strategy for change requires cooperation from government.
More grassroots-up activists are working for change at the local level, as well. The 4th annual Growing Green Awards given out by the Natural Resources Defense Council honors those who are leading the U.S. sustainable food revolution. And, quietly mindful endeavors like this from entrepreneurial kids who have reinvented themselves at the early stage of their lives are part of the revolution. Young voices fed up with the status quo are demanding change. Their concerns at home include unemployment, corporate irresponsibility and environmental injustice. Many are wondering if they’ll even have a future like contest winner Brittany Trilford who says she’d like one, but right now she isn’t so confident.
So we hope that the party-hearty world suits get serious about big-time policy changing results instead of just going home to business as usual to maintain the status quo. We say the status quo has got to go!