Friday, February 19, 2010

Transforming Culture from Consumerism to Sustainability

On January 21, leading cultural pioneers, environmentalists, and policymakers convened at the Worldwatch Institute in Washington, D.C. to discuss one question: How do we make it as “natural” to live sustainably as living as a consumer feels today? Authors of State of the World 2010: Transforming Cultures—From Consumerism to Sustainability engaged an audience of more than 150 people on how we can harness the world’s leading institutions—education, the media, business, governments, traditions, and social movements—to reorient cultures toward sustainability. Watch the opening presentation by Project Director Erik Assadourian.

Editorial Comment: UNESCO has focused on producing cultures of peace and on education for sustainable development. It is perhaps time for it to utilize all aspects of its program to produce cultural changes, moving not only toward a culture of sustainability and peace, but a culture of lifelong learning, tolerance of minorities, and respect for human rights. As Erik Assadourian suggests in the video presentation, key tools in changing culture are education, business, government, communications media and social movements. UNESCO not only has the power to draw on cultural leaders around the world, but it is the lead agency in the U.N. system in education and communications, and has strong linkages with governments, business and civil society.

John Daly
(The opinions expressed in this posting are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Americans for UNESCO.)

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