April 10, 2012

Change Nation: 50 proven solutions for Ireland

L: 50 Solutions R: Notes taken for Solution #37 by
Geoff Cape and Ali Grehan, Dublin City Architect (Images: ChangeNation.org)

By Geoff Cape, Executive Director, Evergreen

I spent most of last week in Dublin, Ireland, exploring the future with over 100 leaders and thinkers from around the world. The three-day event, entitled Change Nation, was organized by Ashoka (Ireland) in an effort to help the country find a positive way forward and a future based on sustainability.

Opened up by the current Prime Minister of Ireland, Enda Kenny, the event featured a range of diverse participants including Mary Robinson, the country’s much-loved former President, Bill Drayton, Ashoka’s founder, along with other leading innovators and entrepreneurs from 16 countries. The sessions began at the original Guinness brewery, where 3 million pints are still produced every day—a great icebreaker to say the least!

Beyond some truly engaging conversation, and some delicious pints of Guinness, the gathering presented a wonderful opportunity to share ideas across a broad range of issues—from sustainable transportation and livable communities to health and economic development. In discussing some lessons learned from our efforts here at Evergreen, I was able to see how our work could be applied in tangible and exciting ways in other cities around the world.

It was also inspiring to hear from others who are creating similar initiatives and instigating positive change globally. Sascha Haselmayer, for example, the founder of Living Labs Global was on hand to offer his expertise in urban planning for sustainability, as was Rob Hopkins, founder of the Transition Network, a global movement that supports community-led solutions to peak oil and climate change.

These contributions, along with my message from Evergreen, offer just a snapshot from the 50 Solutions presented at Change Nation—solutions that could be applied in Ireland, but could also help to address social, environmental and economic problems in nations all over the world.

The people, the format, and the ideas all combined for an unforgettable program. I am grateful for having had the chance to participate and look forward to seeing some of the ideas become reality.


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