By Janine Finnell, Executive Director, Leaders in Energy
On Friday, June 8th, 2018, green leaders from across the Washington Metro region will explore how to create more sustainable LOCAL communities. This discussion will take place at the “Green Leaders for Local Impact Retreat” from 1-5 pm in Arlington, VA, jointly conducted by Leaders in Energy and the Nature Leadership Center. Its timing aligns with World Environment Day, the United Nation’s (UN) most important day for encouraging worldwide awareness and action for the protection of our environment. Our planet and its inhabitants face numerous challenges ranging from people not having enough to eat, threats to biodiversity, growing inequality, and worldwide pollution of air, water, and earth that is changing our planet’s capacity to provide sustainable life and livelihoods due to climate change.
This is a tall order of concerns.
But what if everyone in the world got together to see what could be done about these issues? In 2015, the United Nations did exactly this. It consulted 5 million people from across 88 countries in all the world’s regions asking for their shared vision for the world in 2030! The result is the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals
For anyone new to the UN SDGs, there is a fun quiz called “Which Goals are You” to help us identify the goals that most resonate with our own personal interests.
In the greater Washington area, there are a number of initiatives that align with the UN SDGs goals to make our communities better places.
These include The Sustainable DC Plan, the Metropolitan Washington Council of Government’s Regional Climate and Energy Action Plan, Montgomery County’s Climate Protection Plan, Alexandria’s Eco-City Action Plan, and Arlington’s Community Energy Plan. (See information on actions taking place in a number of U.S. and other places around the world in the section further below titled “Actions in the U.S. and Globally.”)
The Green Leaders for Local Impact Retreat will examine several UN SDGs including #7 on clean energy, # 8 on decent work, and #9 on resilience to explore ways to accelerate local community progress in sustainability in the Washington Metro region. Our Retreat will be interactive, creative, and collaborative, like the United Nation’s collaborative process that created the SDGs. We will share, support, and facilitate bold new ideas for addressing SDGs locally and thinking forward about our individual goals as Green Leaders. That’s what makes the day not a lecture but an adventure in cross-discipline, cross-business, and cross-community innovations. Also, we’ll enjoy being out in nature (weather permitting) and seeing some of the beautiful Potomac Regional Overlook Park as part of a nature walk. Delicious food will be provided by MOM’s Organic Market.
Speakers include Ruchi Soni, Manager of Energy Access at the UN Foundation, Nancy A. Donaldson, Director of the Washington office of the International Labor Organization (ILO) from 2010-17, and Annette Osso, Managing Director of Resilient Virginia.
Futurist, Jim Burke, will use a resource tool called STEEPE to envision creative possibilities in shaping our future and that of our communities for sustainability vitality. Dr. Beth Offenbacker, with Waterford Inc. and the Nature Leadership Center, will be our Facilitator.
Won’t you join us in seeking to make a Green LOCAL impact with local SDGs? When we work together, all things become possible!
Leaders in Energy connects people to accelerate and scale clean energy and sustainable solutions. The three main areas of action are sustainable communities, the green economy (jobs and finance), and multigenerational leadership. With operations in Metro Washington DC, we’ve built a base that spans most major metropolitan areas and over 100 countries. More information is available at https://www.leadersinenergy.org and in the Leaders in Energy Research, Communication, Policies & Analysis (LERCPA) LinkedIn group
Waterford’s Leadership Nature Center provides individual and team leadership development programs in a nature setting, that are built on ecosystems concepts. Learn more about our programs and offerings at www.waterfordinc.com/lnc.
SIDEBAR: Actions in the U.S. and Globally
Three U.S. cities have been at the forefront in working to operationalize the UN goals into their urban planning programs. These include Baltimore, New York, and San Jose. In addition, a recent report titled “The U.S. Cities Sustainable Development Goals Index 2017: Achieving a Sustainable Urban America” examined progress being made towards sustainable development in the 100 most populous U.S. cities.
Globally, there are a number of examples where the SDGs are being implemented at the local and urban level. 15 communities located around the world were awarded a special Equator Prize 2017 for successfully advancing innovative solutions for poverty, environment, and climate challenges. Each winner’s actions addressed at least five SDGs in a holistic way. One project, located in Gazi Bay, Kenya, is the first community-based initiative of its kind to sell carbon credits generated through the protection of mangrove forests.