Sustainability: Rear View Mirror and Crystal Ball

Recently I had the pleasure of speaking on a panel at the 5th Building Sustainable Communities conference that reflected back on Rio (1992) and looked ahead to Rio+20 in terms of sustainability.  Given I am usually making presentations for others or coaching clients on messages for their presentations, I was excited to write my own talk.

Sustainability is at the core of my work in terms of the ultimate impact I hope to achieve.  However, my day to day reality often manifests as bringing people and their institutions together. The main message of my 10 minutes was that collaboration (the power with) is a key ingredient to address the sustainability challenges ahead. The slides are posted on slideshare.

I decided to use a mix of hand-drawn images (via my iPad) and photos from real places where I shared field experiences from Guyana, Senegal and British Columbia.  I received great feedback after the session on the visuals and the stories I shared (thanks to those who shared your thoughts, always appreciated!).

Some of the tactics I used included starting with a personal story, asking compelling questions, simplified design with hand-drawn images, and aiming to inspire others to make the changes I believe are necessary.

My final questions for participants to ponder included:

What are you currently working on that could be enhanced by collaborating with others?  Where could you achieve more if the scale at which you work was enlarged?  Where can you achieve more together than alone?

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