J u l y— 2 0 0 9
The GENI-us Letter

"20 Global Problems – 20 Years to Solve Them"
Challenges the Rotary Peace Fellows Symposium

Dear GENI Friend,

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 challenged anew.

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,

Peter Meisen


p.s. Our project, the World Resources Simulation Center is closely related to the methodology of the Global Issues Networks in High Noon.  Read the book, and watch for our new project next month.

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Updated: 2008/02/15

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