Reflections on 2012 Sustainability Milestones

Sustainability became even more mainstream in 2012 as numerous global events made the issue one of worldwide importance. Major discussions and serious debate focused on the probable causes and possible answers to various aspects of sustainability and while solutions continue to elude us, the increase of awareness and conversations showed that sustainability has become a huge problem that demands global attention. From the abundance of green initiatives that focused on the issue over the last year, compiled a list of the most meaningful milestones.

1. A New View of Climate Change – Almost three-quarters of Americans now believe that global warming is having an impact on U.S. weather. This finding from a recent study by Yale and George Mason University provided further evidence that the public is finally grasping the effects of climate change. Fortunately, companies have also become more aware as most Fortune 100 companies have publicly dedicated themselves to promoting green efforts that support renewable energy and decrease greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, the devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy brought out even more support from politicians, insurance companies, and UN scientists.

2. The Rally at Rio+20 – World leaders and conservation-conscious professionals met in Rio de Janeiro this past summer for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, which was dubbed Rio+20. Their intention was to develop a green strategy that would facilitate environmental preservation, as well as promote social justice and decrease global poverty. One of the most notable results of the conference was the creation of a document that detailed the participants’ political commitment to developing sustainable initiatives in the coming years.

3. Green Goals at the Summer Olympics – Sustainability was a top concern of last summer’s Olympic Games and the organizer’s efforts distinguished the event as the most sustainable Olympics in history. Their goal was reducing the overall carbon footprint of the hugely popular event and they achieved this by incorporating green measures through every step of planning and execution. It is hoped that their high standards of sustainability will set a precedent for future games.

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