A Conversation with Maurice Strong on his 85th Birthday
"If the world succeeds in making a transition to truly sustainable development, all of us will owe no small debt of gratitude to Maurice Strong, whose prescience and dynamic presence on the International stage have played a key role in convincing governments and grassroots alike to embrace the principle - if not yet the practice - of adopting a new, long-term, custodial approach to the global environment."
Kofi Annan former UN secretary General
Tuesday April the 29th 2014 is Maurice Strong's 85th birthday.
Happy Birthday Maurice, we have so much to thank you for.
For more than half a century Maurice Strong, as much as anyone on the planet, has been the torchbearer for the cause of sustainable development – as visionary, humanist, teacher, businessman and diplomat, as well as champion global thought and action leader.
His crowning achievement was to curate and manage the 1992 Rio Earth Summit which brought together more than 100 Heads of State to forge a landmark Agenda 21 based consensus, which changed the course of our planet and its people towards a better and brighter future.
Alone this would have been a huge achievement but he also was in addition to being Secretary General to the first UN Conference on Environment in 1972 and the first Executive Director of United Nations Environment Programme.
The video 'A Conversation with Maurice Strong' was created by Barbara Pyle and Frank Melli to show the measure of the man and the enduring, game-changing nature of his thinking, action and teaching. It is a must for any sustainable development advocate to watch and we hope a teaching aid for all courses on the subject.
It has been released for his 85th birthday on April 29th with the support of Felix Dodds and Geoffrey Lipman on the launch of the Maurice Strong University Network, which will seek to carry his ideas to a global audience through the medium of Travel & Tourism, which he has always recognized as a force for positive change.
In 2011 and 2012 I had the pleasure with Michael Strauss and Maurice Strong on the book Only One Earth - The Long Road via Rio to Sustainable Development - a history of sustainable development at the global level over the last 40 years.
In the runup to Rio+20 Maurice did warn us of the challenges we face we will know next year when the SDGs and the climate negotiations have finished if we are on the right path or not.
“Indeed, it has never been more important to heed the evidence of science that time is running out on our ability to manage successfully our impacts on the Earth’s environmental, biodiversity, resource and life-support systems on which human life as we know it depend.
We must rise above the lesser concerns that preempt our attention and respond to the reality that the future of human life on Earth depends on what we do, or fail to do in this generation.
What we have come to accept as normal is not normal, as increased human numbers, the growing intensity of human impacts and the demographic dilemma faced by so many nations are returning the Earth to the conditions that have been normal for most of its existence that do not support human life as we know it.
We must deal with this as the most dangerous security issue humanity has ever faced, with the very conditions necessary to life on Earth at risk.”