When we think of sustainability, it is very often a concept that we discuss as an abstract idea with some elemental suggestions about using less energy, recycling, and thinking about the future. However, the concept is not one that we can afford to put off until another day. It's not an idea for the future; sustainability is important for the welfare of your business, your employees, and your family, right now!
Here is a selection of quotes that come from leaders and visionaries in sustainability who can teach you what it means to adopt a sustainable business model rather than simply talk about it.
1.Bertrand Piccard, famous aviator of solar-powered aircraft.
As the winner of the first ever transatlantic balloon race, Bertrand Piccard has several amazing feats under his belt, including the creation of a solar-powered aircraft made of carbon fiber. His goal with building the airplane was to demonstrate that renewable energy could become a viable replacement for fossil fuel. Of sustainability, Piccard said:
"In the 21st century I think the heroes will be the people who will improve the quality of life, fight poverty and introduce more sustainability."
2.Yehuda Berg, author and Co-Director of the Kabbalah Centre International
In a commentary written after the recent BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Yehuda Berg made some interesting comments that suggested the fault of the spill wasn't solely BP or the company that built the platform. Berg suggested that the spill was a "wake-up call" to let the planet know that worldwide dependence on fossil fuels was harming the planet through major disasters.
"Change is inevitable. Things absolutely cannot stay the same. The type of change we invoke is up to each and every one of us. If we each take responsibility in shifting our own behavior, we can trigger the type of change that is necessary to achieve sustainability for our race or this planet."
3. Paul Hawken, author of "Blessed Unrest"
In a book published in 2007, author Paul Hawken described a growing movement of people across the globe that was emerging. These people were interested in putting aside material needs for the good of humanity. In his book, Hawken said:
"Sustainability, ensuring the future of life on Earth, is an infinite game, the endless expression of generosity on behalf of all."
4. Arnold Schwarzenegger, actor, former governor of California
As a member of the Republican party when he was governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger broke ranks with the general consensus within the GOP on the threat of fossil fuels and the need for renewable energy. He suggested that Republicans and Democrats needed to work together to create an energy efficient future. In an interview with BBC News, Schwarzenegger said:
"The future is green energy, sustainability, renewable energy."
5. Shari Arison, businessperson and the wealthiest woman in Israel
As the daughter of the founder of Carnival Cruise Lines, Shari Arison spent much of her time as a young adult working for the family's philanthropic organization. However, the unexpected passing of her father in the late 1990s put her into a position of authority within the family's business. She wrote a book called "Birth: When the Spiritual and the Material Come Together," and she told BusinessWeek in an interview:
"Sustainability is the key to our survival on this planet and will also determine success on all levels."
6. Jamais Cascio, Senior Fellow at the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies
Involved in a variety of organizations like the Institute for the Future and the Ensia Advisory Council, as well as his position as a Fellow at the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, Jamais Cascio is a well-known futurist. He published a piece during the last decade's financial crisis that suggested civilization needed to figure out a way to handle "unexpected changes." On sustainability, he also said:
"Sustainability is a seemingly laudable goal - it tells us we need to live within our means, whether economic, ecological, or political - but it’s insufficient for uncertain times. How can we live within our means when those very means can change, swiftly and unexpectedly, beneath us? We need a new paradigm."
7. Sigmar Gabriel, German Environment Minister
As part of the German government and a member of the European Union, Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel was part of the discussion with other European government members about the continent's carbon dioxide emissions. He suggested that some flexibility in laws was needed to keep businesses and jobs from fleeing Europe. In an interview, Gabriel had some interesting comments about Europe taking a leading role in sustainability.
"Climate protection creates sustainability and jobs in the real economy -- in construction, in the production of heavy machinery and in systems engineering. Even if there weren't climate change, that would still be necessary, especially in light of current fears of a recession on the markets. If we can't demonstrate to the world that that can function, then who can?"
8. René Redzepi, famous chef known for sustainable cooking
As a chef who has worked in some of the best restaurants in the world, René Redzepi has cultivated a reputation for inventiveness in his dishes. Some call him a "culinary superstar," and there was even a documentary filmed about him and his dedication to finding local foods for restaurant fare. Of his participation in a MAD Foodcamp Symposium, Redzepi said:
"We believe that the more we know the better we cook. Learning about issues such as sustainability and locavorism are things that you need to have as part of you as a chef because it will make you cook more delicious food."
9. Cameron Sinclair, co-founder of Architecture for Humanity
Long interested in architecture and sustainability, Cameron Sinclair wrote his postgraduate thesis on creating sustainable housing for homeless people in transition to life off the street. He went on to help create Architecture for Humanity, which grew into an organization with many tens of thousands of design professionals. In an article, Sinclair had some interesting things to say about sustainability and business:
"When sustainability is viewed as being a matter of survival for your business I believe you can create massive change."
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