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World transport as not usual

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  • Eric Britton
    Paris, 26 July 2002 Dear Friends, This may not look like transport as usual , but as about all of us in this bug and steadily growing virtual family at World
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 26, 2002

      Paris26 July 2002


      Dear Friends,


      This may not look like “transport as usual”, but as about all of us in this bug and steadily growing virtual family at World Transport Policy and Practice understand, the future of sustainable transport is precisely that it is not “the usual”.  In this context I would like to draw your attention today to another, related activity under The Commons along with several important things presently going on that may turn out to be of interest and use to you, both individually and as a group.  Let me keep this as brief as possible and use numbers to facilitate your rapid reference.


      1. 2002 World Technology Network prize:
        As you will see in the attached, and in good part as a result of the fine collaborative work that we have done together with you and other programs under The Commons over this last year, I was on Monday awarded the 2002 World Technology Network prize for outstanding achievement in the area of technology and the environment.

        In at least one way the award is discomforting, since one of the other nominees in the environment category (they were all impressive) was Gordon Moore, and how can you compete with someone who has put $3.5 billion dollars into a public interest foundation in a single year?  But on the other hand, it’s for sure that I need it more than he does, and that may have entered into the judges’ calculations. And why do I need it?  Well, see below.
      2. Use of this forum to get support for ‘No Fault Sustainable Project Machine”
        As you will see in the attached note for my acceptance speech, I immediately jumped on this as an opportunity to advance our common sustainability agenda.  Specifically this took the form of my announcing to the assembled high powered audience, my goal that we were going to take to Johannesburg, in addition to any other messages or suggestions that might come to mind, a unified proposal for a ‘No Fault Sustainable Project Machine” capable of generating useful support for hundreds, hopefully thousands of deserving local project teams around the world… each year over the next decade.

        I don’t think I need to explain two times to any of you what I have in mind with this, and I hope that you will have a look at both the attached and the more focused background materials that have been posted to the World Sustainable Cities Consortium site at http://ngroups.com/stockholm under the Johannesburg Proposal rubric.  (By the way, as you can perhaps see, we are having trouble with getting a good name for our “No Fault Sustainable Project Machine”.  If you have any ideas, they will be welcome.)
      3. Your Support of this Project and Next Steps
        To get the ball rolling on this, and in light of the fact that the doors of the World Summit open exactly one month from this morning, we have just placed on the World Sustainable Cities Consortium site a Survey in support of the Johannesburg Proposal for this concept – and I would appreciate it if you might take the very few minutes that are needed to sign in with your vote, and perhaps a couple of lines explaining your position on this.  This entire process will take less than five minutes of your time – and believe me, if we can show that there is a solid base of support from all our Stockholm projects for this idea, we should be able to find ways to make some noise in Johannesburg and even get a hearing.  Since it’s such a terrific powerful concept, I am confident that once we have joined forces on it, some interesting things will come of our collaboration.
      4. And after Johannesburg?
        If we have been making a lot of reference to the forthcoming World Summit in our exchanges with you over these last months, it is not because we see this some kind of end-point but simply as one more step in a much broader process.  Who knows what is going to happen there?  With as many as seventy thousand individuals and groups apparently going to show up, we can at the very least count on a lot of noise.  But when the doors close on Johannesburg, you and I are just going to have to get up the next morning and go about the challenges of our work in progress. It would be very nice to think that the Summit might make a difference for your projects and cities, but we would be foolish to count on it.  And whatever happens, we know this for sure: if there is going to be real progress on the sustainability agenda in your city, it is going to be because of what you and people like you are able to accomplish.

        So be assured, that like you, our efforts will not just evaporate one sunny day in early September.  How does that lovely old Arab expression go?  “The dogs may bark but the caravan moves on”.    And our caravan of course is sustainable development and social justice – in policy and in practice and right here where we can do something about it.

      I hope that this note finds you all well, so that you and we can do our bit to become at least a notch or two more sustainable every day.


      With all good wishes,


      Eric Britton


      PS. And if you have not as yet had time to go in and sign into the World Sustainable Cities Consortium at http://ngroups.com/stockholm and register your project or group, you will need that authorization number, which 748596.  If you already made an entry but cannot find your password, just drop a line and we’ll get it right back to you.  If I seem to be insisting on this, it’s because I continue to believe that if we think of ourselves as an authoritative international force for sustainability, we can do far more together than ever we could individually. And there is so very much to do.


      PPS. And oh yes, you are cordially invited to share these materials with your friends, colleagues, neighbors, and other lists.


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