Letter from the Executive Director (Canada)

A recent article by Thomas Friedman in the International Herald Tribune reminds us of the tremendous challenge and opportunity represented by our current economic situation.

“What if the crisis of 2008 represents something much more fundamental than a deep recession?” Friedman asks. “What if it’s telling us that the whole growth model we created over the last 50 years is simply unsustainable economically and ecologically and that 2008 was when we hit the wall – when Mother Nature and the market both said ‘No more.’”

The economic crisis is loud and clear wake up call to all of us about the need to double our efforts to foster leadership, co-operation, and innovation in building a movement for a sustainable future.

Over the past five years, we have worked with over a hundred different organizations. Although they represent a diverse range of villages, towns, cities and communities; large and small businesses; and NGOs and institutions, they all share some common elements.  All of these organizations are being led by passionate people who are committed to sustainability, they are role models of leadership in their communities and in their sectors, and they are pioneering new approaches that are innovative and unprecedented.

Together they represent a movement for change.

We are very excited to be launching a new initiative to foster and encourage this movement for change: The Natural Step Learning Network.  The Learning Network is a direct response to requests from our partners to connect them to existing and emerging sustainability leaders, champions and practitioners and to enable learning and collaboration to advance the practice of sustainability.

The Learning Network will convene members annually, organize regional events, hold regular webinars and provide an online platform for the sharing of resources and ideas. The network is formally launching on June 4th and 5th in Whistler, BC. This is an open invitation to all of the organizations we’ve worked with and to any organization or individual that is committed to advancing the practice of sustainability and sharing their experience with their peers. You are welcome to join our growing network. We all know sustainability can’t be achieved by any organization alone. It requires unprecedented collaboration. We can all benefit from learning from each other and sharing best practices. 

We’re still looking for a good name for this network. So far, we have been calling it the Learning Network because its purpose is for us to learn from each other. But we’re looking for something more action/solution oriented.

So I’m issuing a challenge. Send us your ideas on what this network should be called by March 31st, 2009, and you could win a free pass to all of the network launch events in Whistler on June 4th and 5th. Please send your ideas to kbaxter(at)naturalstep.ca!

Yours Sincerely,

Kelly Hawke Baxter