102. iAct Dialogues for Sustainability
A global and intergenerational approach to integrated online and in-person engagement that promotes discussion of and action on seemingly intractable sustainability challenges has not yet been leveraged to its fullest potential. We see this as an unprecedented opportunity to bring people together to discuss conservation and development challenges and solutions, gain clarity and build capacity for action, and share successes to inspire further action.
As described below, the iAct Dialogues for Sustainability provide a dynamic platform and network that dovetails with Sustainable Silicon Valley’s (SSV’s) “Showcase of Solutions for Planetary Sustainability,” offering an avenue for identified solutions to be further discussed within a global network, and adapted and applied at regional and local scales.
The “i” stands for: intergenerational, interactive, insightful, innovative, and inspirational, with the focus on action, literally “I act for sustainability.”
Our vision is a global series of bi-monthly webinars on key sustainability, systems change, and leadership topics, each introduced by a few experts, practitioners, and community leaders of a diversity of ages, from youth to elders. While presenters are talking on video feed and sharing slides, interpreters will type real-time translations into individual text boxes in several major languages. The webinars will be interactive, inviting participants into breakout groups for in-depth discussion, also in several different languages, reconvening the group to draw out insights and action steps that emerge, and then concluding with an inspirational musical or creative performance. Each webinar will be recorded and available online for others to view.
We also envision inviting participants into intergenerational pairs to engage in a parallel series of webinars on practices to hone and apply leadership capacity. These will be selected from among the dozen Daily Leadership Practices developed by partner Robert Gass, ranging from Purposeful Action to Authenticity to the Power of Love. Participants receive a daily e-mail, guiding them through the application of each practice and how it can make them more effective leaders. We envision intergenerational pairs in communication between webinars that will provide a forum for sharing successes and challenges, deepening impact.
We want to convene an annual capstone dialogue and leadership session at strategic conservation conferences over the next four years. Such events would bring together some of the project participants, along with new-comers, in addition to being streamed live to a global audience.
Finally, from amongst participants, we envision training additional moderators for the iAct Dialogues, so that discussions and actions can scale up.
Purposes / Goals
• To stimulate intergenerational dialogue on planetary futures
• To connect a global, intergenerational network of dialogue participants
• To build leadership capacity among network members
• To help people of all ages connect with nature, to turn to nature for teaching and inspiration
• To inspire informed and innovative action among network members for sustainability outcomes
Dialogue Content and Speakers
In collaboration with partners and based on their respective expertise, we will craft a series of topics for webinars. These topics and speakers lists would be expanded through participation in the March Showcase.
• climate change impacts and emergency preparedness
• climate change adaptation, water, and cooperation across borders
• viable energy and transportation futures
• land, food systems, population, and diet
• health, gender, and climate change
• community leadership for marine conservation
• transboundary protected areas as a way to promote peace
• economic policy and sustainability
• engaging new / non-traditional actors (business, military, the broader public, elders, etc)
Inspiring stories of connection to nature
• Cycling Silk: two young Canadian women who cycled the Silk Road in Asia, highlighting transboundary protected areas
• Rowing across the Atlantic to raise awareness about marine conservation: Canadian Wildlife Federation and Outdoor Adventure, Rowing, and Education, Northwest
• Stories from National Geographic explorer and marine biologist, Sylvia Earle
• Guest speakers who contributed to book Moments that Speak: Stories and Images of Connection (KIT Publishers, 2012)
• Conservation leaders: Sylvia Earle, Ashok Khosla, Julia Marton-Lefevre, Maria Carvajal, experts from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and others
• Sustainability leadership experts: Alan AtKisson, Peter Senge, Gillian Martin Mehers, Elizabeth Sawin, Kartikeya Sarabhai and others
• Young leaders: Esther Agbarakwe, Sara Svensson, Caroline Howe, Mirjahon Turdiev, Any Sulistyowati, Grace Mwaura, Elijah Kanyi, Lisa Jokivirata, Pablo Freund, Markus Pukonen, Daniela Barguil and others
Strategic Events and Partners
We want to implement the iAct Dialogues for Sustainability leading up to the IUCN World Conservation Congress in 2016. Along the way, we want to hold in-person events at these conferences:
• WILD10 Congress, San Sebastian, Spain, 2013
• World Parks Congress, Sydney, Australia, 2014
• Invite 10 youth and 10 mentors to the Cobb Hill Cohousing ecovillage in Vermont, where our organization, Sustainability Leaders Network, is based, for a 5-day sustainability leadership workshop, 2015
• IUCN World Conservation Congress, 2016
In addition to dozens of regional and global youth and intergenerational networks we will invite to participate, our current partners in this work include the IUCN, the Dalai Lama Fellows, the Wild Foundation, the Sibthorp Trust UK, and the Social Change Project.
Why it should be recognized:
Recognition of this solution will offer a robust avenue for further discussion and dissemination of solutions in SSV’s Showcase. By highlighting the iAct Dialogues for Sustainability, SSV can help achieve at least three things:
1) Expand awareness about the iAct Dialogues, increasing the numbers of participants in our intergenerational webinars and leadership capacity building efforts
2) Identify additional partners who have expertise in the fields of sustainability, conservation, and development, and are interested in participating as speakers in our webinars, sharing their solutions for change
3) Identify additional philanthropic and corporate sponsors who are prepared to support the implementation of the iAct platform and process
The iAct Dialogues are a network-based, ecosystem of solutions for sustainability challenges and we would very much like to include SSV and individuals who attend the March Showcase in our growing community of change makers. The challenges are global, so solutions must also be discussed and shared at a global level, facilitating the process of regional and local adaptation and application. Let’s make this happen together!