Archive for the 'Haiti' Category

State of the Sustainability Movement 2011, Part 2

December 20th, 2010

As soon as I wrote the original post, of course, I started discovering new signs of our times that are not adequately reflected in my earlier assessment. Let’s consider a few examples, and see what conclusions we can draw about where we are in the process, and where we might be going from here.

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Sustainable Haiti Discussion and Conference Call Sunday, February 28, 6 p.m. EST

February 26th, 2010

The “Working Group for a Sustainable Future for Haiti,” which was convened at the Institute for Sustainable Enterprise at Fairleigh Dickinson University, has released “Haiti – A Way Forward,” an 8-page discussion paper intended as the basis for a conference call scheduled for Sunday, February 28, 2010 at 6 p.m. EST, and you are invited to join us.

Conference Dial-in number: (507) 726-4253

Participant Passcode: 100039#

For more details see the Haiti page at and our latest updates at

Toward a Sustainable Future for Haiti

February 8th, 2010

The earthquake in Haiti has been many things – including both a wakeup call for Americans, and an opportunity to demonstrate our compassion – but it has above all been a human tragedy that has revealed the weaknesses and deficiencies that were there before. A 7.5 magnitude earthquake will no doubt cause some damage no matter where it occurs, but it does not always need to cause the extent of devastation that has occurred in Haiti, or to leave the population as unaided.

Some colleagues of ours at the Institute for Sustainable Enterprise met last week to discuss what we could do to contribute to a longer-term recovery, that would try to address the social, environmental, and economic challenges facing this troubled nation. We talked about a great many things, including the fact that many of us feel powerless in the face of such catastrophes, especially those that afflict human beings in distant places. We are all “overcommitted” to many worthwhile and challenging tasks already, and taking on such a monumental task as helping to chart the way forward in Haiti clearly seems to require that we steal time and energy from other causes. But if we can make even a small difference, while honoring our other commitments, this seems a compelling goal.

And the reality is that we do have a number of resources, ideas, and opportunities to contribute, and after discussing a great many aspects of what’s needed we agreed that as a minimum we would take a couple of small steps: 1) to write up what we had discussed (a forthcoming discussion paper to be published shortly), and 2) to reach out to others and invite them to join the conversation. Our hope is that others will step up to lead this conversation, and will simply be able to use what we have suggested as a basis for their own action.

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