Summit to promote sustainable development

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A major summit to encourage sustainability in the United States and Canada will take place on Saturday and Sunday, March 24 and 25, at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (F&ES).

The U.S./Canada Citizens’ Summit for Sustainable Development will host 180 diverse experts, leaders, advocates, entrepreneurs, and decision-makers from the United States and Canada for two days of discussions and planning linked to the forthcoming United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, also known as the Rio+20 conference.

Twenty years after the first Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro propelled the environment to the top of the world agenda, Rio+20 is convening in June to secure renewed political commitment for sustainability and address new challenges in green jobs, clean energy, sustainable cities, food, water, and oceans.

“In the lead-up to the Rio+20 conference, the Citizens’ Summit will provide a critical platform to develop new approaches and new initiatives to increase North America’s contribution to global sustainability,” says Benjamin Cashore, professor of environmental governance and political science at F&ES and an advisor to the summit.

 The summit will feature numerous high-level speakers to discuss the history and future of sustainability in the United States and Canada, including Jim Balsillie, founder and former CEO of RIM/Blackberry and the only private-sector representative on the U.N. Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Global Sustainability; Daniel Esty, commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and deputy head of the U.S. delegation to the 1992 Earth Summit; and David Runnalls, distinguished fellow and former director of the International Institute for Sustainable Development.

“Sustainable development isn’t about big government or big business,” said Lindsay Buchanan, a master’s degree student at F&ES and an organizer of the event. “This summit is an opportunity for a new generation of trailblazers to help our countries and the world transition to a greener, more sustainable future.”

There are a limited number of spots available to attend the summit. In order to attend or nominate someone, visit www.citizenssummit.org. While the summit is by invitation-only, the public is encouraged to participate and contribute virtually.

The summit is being organized by students and faculty at Yale, in close partnership with the Natural Resources Defense Council, WeCanada, Human Impacts  Institute,  SustainUs, and Citizens Network for Sustainable Development. To follow the summit on Facebook, search CitizensSummitforSD, and on Twitter at @citizens_summit.

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