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Virgin Earth Day and the Green Revolution

Commentary: Let’s launch the ‘next revolution’

top-042309You know that tinglely feeling you get when you sense something exciting is afoot? This commentary written for cnn.com by Sir Richard Branson and Kathleen Rogers left me with that “are we there yet” grin on my face, …. so without further ado ……

CNN Editor’s note: Sir Richard Branson founded a mail-order record retailer in England in 1970 that grew into the Virgin Group of about 200 companies in over 30 countries. Kathleen Rogers is president of the Earth Day Network which promotes environmental causes, and she has worked for more than 20 years as an environmental attorney and advocate. For more information, please visit the site!

(CNN) — As global leaders convene in New York City for UN climate change talks and the Clinton Global Initiative, the world is in greater peril than ever. But we also have unprecedented opportunities to build a sustainable future.

While technology continues to improve the standard of living for millions, there are still millions more living in abject poverty. Thousands of people die every day from preventable, treatable diseases like AIDS, TB, and malaria.

Conflicts continue to devastate the globe, leaving far too many people with no education, no democracy, no government, no enforceable legal system — and often no simple choices to lead themselves to a better life.

richard-bransonTo compound these troubles, our planet faces its biggest challenge and greatest threat from the increasing problems posed by climate change. The only way we can address the scale and urgency of this challenge is by coming together.

We need a revolution. A revolution in the way we think about the world. A revolution in the way we work together for common interest, and a revolution in our approach to tackling tough social and environmental problems.

This revolution will reinvent our economic system, to ensure the sustainability of life on our planet by developing a world of prosperity for all in a low carbon economy. We have personally seen the results of bringing together the best minds from all sectors to think through how each of us can contribute to such a revolution.

It is an imperative that transportation companies look for alternatives to dirty fuels, and while re-engineering our businesses to reduce our carbon footprint, we’re investing in clean technology and partnering with companies committed to doing business responsibly.

More businesses must join with governments, entrepreneurs, and non-profits to address climate change. People will matter most in this fight — we need entrepreneurial spirit and energy to come together with a whole new way of working in the world.

Similar to “The Greatest Generation” who confronted the challenge of World War II and inspired the major societal changes that followed, the new “Green Generation” includes ordinary people engaged in individual and collective activities to improve urgent national and global issues, such as climate change or the world’s water crises.

Increasingly, members of the Green Generation will be bound together in a movement that must radically eclipse other monumental changes in social and industrial history.

Collaboration is essential. Organizations like Virgin Unite, the Virgin Group’s non-profit foundation , and the Carbon War Room have joined with groups like the Earth Day Network to tackle tough social and environmental problems and to raise awareness in the next generation.

kathleenrogersSocial innovators like Ashoka organization founder Bill Drayton and Muhammad Yunus who started the concept of micro credit and those working individually like the Goldman Environmental Prize winners are taking new paths in resolving social and environmental problems.

Why is an entrepreneurial approach needed? Entrepreneurs play a unique role in tackling environmental problems head on because we spot possibilities where others only see obstacles. We convened the Carbon War Room to deliver sustainable market models to increase the effectiveness of climate change efforts underway.

The same unconventional approaches that enabled icons like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates to revolutionize personal computing, or Pierre Omidyar and Jeff Skoll to develop an ingenious online marketplace can help alleviate the tremendous suffering that persists in the world and combat the threats posed by climate change.

We are supporting the 40th anniversary of Earth Day next April. In advance of that event, we think now is a pivotal time for people, businesses and governments to join together to create a global green economy.

Over one billion people including 17,000 partners in 180 countries participate in Earth Day each year, because of their shared sense of responsibility and urgency about the future.

The next revolution will be a sustainable one, moving away from the excesses of the industrial revolution to a new future based on protecting and valuing our natural resources. We have to serve the Earth as well as its people, and come together as we face this, the defining challenge of our time.

Everybody in favor say, AYE ! …….. as the green future unfolds …

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  2. Grampa Ken Says:

    The polarized relationships of business-consumer, wealthy-poor, and an increasing commercial bias by governments is hopefully cresting. The false prosperity we have enjoyed has created a merry-go-round run amok and a degradation of true social well being.

    There is evidence of increasing interest in bringing more attention to these worldly ailments and in positive changes. But the voices have been extremely week compared to the massively funded corporate promotions. There is public broadcasting with programs like Bill Moyers Journal on PBS that work for positive change. Notably in recent years numerous websites and blogs are appearing that are devoted to world issues and advocating change. They bring news and articles on poverty, the environment, corporate influence, human and consumer rights, government and corruption.

    As more of us read and get interested in social improvement the better will be the chances of turning this titanic into safe waters.

  3. Linda Says:

    Hi Grampa Ken … You are correct! There are many of us that are working diligently to get the titantic (as you say) steered toward safer waters. We will make it but it will take time.

  4. wilson Says:

    Richard Branson, one of the most successful entrepreneurs in U.K. and also a generous billionaire who had donated many money to the charities, Linda! I admire this man, as he’s surely a gentleman in every aspect…
    .-= wilson´s last blog ..It’s Better Not to Use Too Much Fabric Plasters! =-.

  5. Linda Says:

    Hi wilson …. He is! Plus he is part of the green movement!

  6. Grampa Ken Says:

    What makes people so different Wilson? I recently read about a German youth that went from dishwasher to owner of the United Furniture Warehouse chain. He retired and sold the business and founded the Welcome Home Society that creates a free long-term residential peer community for men who are committed to changing their lives. Their problems can include substance abuse, difficulty with the law or behavioural challenges. They are provided with jobs in the Society’s sizeable Price Pro discount store in Surrey BC, motto: “Save Money, Change Lives.” We were there yesterday and left with a very nice feeling.

    And then there are successful tycoons that go from rich to richer to jail.
    .-= Grampa Ken´s last blog ..Article Blogs and Reposting =-.

  7. Linda Says:

    Hi Grampa Ken …. LOL! I know you were thinking of Bernie Madoff! There are a lot of good folks out there who really try to give back to the community.

  8. vein Says:

    I think business has to be part of the solution, and villification of it had started to become something of an obstacle–but things are changing.
    .-= vein´s last blog ..Somerset Witch project =-.

  9. Linda Says:

    Hi vein … You are correct! Hopefully, the change will stay along with getting more involved.

  10. Micah Says:

    This is a great post.. Very informative… I can see that you put a lot of hard work on your every post that’s why I think I’d come here more often. Keep it up! By the way, you can also drop by my blogs. They’re about Vegetable Gardening and Composting. I’m sure you’d find my blogs helpful too.
    .-= Micah´s last blog ..5 Tips on How to Grow Vegetables =-.

  11. Linda Says:

    Hi Micah … You are welcome and yes, your blogs will also help out with spreading the world.

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