For the past 10 years, GENI has exhibited to Rotarians
around the world at their annual convention. Rotary is the premier global
service organization with 1.2 million members in 200 nations, a virtual United
Nations of the business community. This past month in Birmingham, UK, I was fortunate to participate in the Rotary Peace Fellows Symposium and was both inspired and
One featured speaker was Jean-Francois Rischard, a former
World Bank economist and author of
High Noon: 20 Global Problems and 20 Years to Solve Them
Published in 2002, this is a real sobering look at our world which I encourage
you to read. He contends that the two primary forces changing our world,
population growth and the new economy, cannot be solved by the plodding global
institutions and nation-state structures we currently have. The complexity of
our world has increased exponentially. Without listing all twenty, Mr.
Rischard stressed these issues: climate change, fishery depletion, disease
migration, water shortages, poverty/hunger, deforestation, biodiversity, our financial
crisis and the drug trade.
He contends that the G20 summits, large UN conferences
and 40+ global institutions are inadequate to deal with the complexity and
interconnectedness of these burning issues. He argues for a new methodology –
what he calls Global Issues Networks. Rischard stated that there are only a
few examples of true global cooperation: the Montreal Protocol to phase out ozone-depleting
CFCs, international air travel and mail service, and the Landmine Treaty (yet
unsigned by the United States).
In Birmingham, Mr. Rischard challenged us to
work on projects that have the highest leverage to make a difference – as time
is running out. Buckminster Fuller would call them trimtab projects – where
you make small adjustments to turn the “ship of state” in a new direction.
The GENI Initiative, to link renewables around the world, is just such a
high-leveraged project, and we are creating several others, one of which we will
introduce next month. This will be another opportunity for you to step forward
and help us launch a new initiative that is consistent with the rigor and
urgency called for in these times.
In partnership for the planet,