The State of the World Forum plans to turn good ideas into urgent action.
Jim Garrison | April 2009 issue
The State of the World Forum was established in 1995 with Mikhail Gorbachev as the convening chairman to create a global leadership network committed to transforming conversations that matter into actions that make a difference. The 2009 State of the World Forum—which will take place from November 12th to 14th, 2009, in Washington, D.C.—will address the theme “The Real Crisis of Climate Change: Truth Is Not Enough.” The Forum will call on people and governments around the world to commit to a 10-year plan to green our economies.
The Forum will be unique. It will be the first conference anywhere to employ an integral framework to consider the complexities of climate change and what each of us can do about it. This means taking into consideration the natural way we evaluate challenges and develop responses. All of us have personal as well as communal values, and engage in personal as well as collective actions. These four aspects—personal values, collective values, personal behavior and collective behavior— shape our world views and our decisions. If you leave any one of them out, you can’t understand or solve a problem. It’s only by bringing all four aspects together that durable solutions will emerge.
This is crucial because leading scientists tell us we’re running out of time to deal with the escalating effects of global warming. Rajendra Pachauri, head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, states we have until 2012 to act decisively or humanity may lose the capacity to deal with ecological forces that have gotten out of control. This means we have to handle the problem comprehensively and with the intent to transform our societies. Using integral thinking as the operating system of the conference, we designed the three days as a process of discernment leading to action. It’s within this integral process that the speakers, both scholars and specialists, will make their contributions.
We have three goals for the 2009 Forum. The first is that each of us comes away with a better understanding of what we can do personally as well as collectively about climate change. Too often, we know what the government should do but we don’t think what we do makes any difference. We want to change that. This is what the integral process will enable. Second, the Forum is about how we can take action around the 10-year plan to green our economies. This conference wasn’t initiated to talk about the problem; its focus is on the actions we can take to bring about the change we know must come. Third, the Forum isn’t a one-off event. It’s the launch of a 10-year process that will meet in a different world city each year. That means what we do in Washington in November will set the blueprint for future action. This process is global because the challenges we face are global. It’s 10 years in length because it will take at least that time to green our economies. The Forum will provide all of us with the opportunity to make a life commitment to partner with peers all over the world to work together for the changes we seek. We invite you to join us.
Jim Garrison is the founder of the State of the World Forum.
The state we’re in