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Courtesy of The Ojibwe People’s Dictionary University of Minnesota c. 1905

Indigenous communities notched two small but remarkable triumphs last week achieving success in strengthening local long-term priorities over short-term business interests. In both cases — one in Greenland and the other in the US state of Minnesota — communities have put a hold on destructive and potentially risky economic deals in favor of long term, healthier approaches to community wellbeing. If these successes endure and are embraced, they will be good news for everyone.

Advocates often pitch these challenges as “jobs” versus the “environment.” But this dichotomy is misleading and lacking vision. For too long, simple “good” vs “bad” narratives…

Figure 1: Celestial Battle, Nicholas Roerich, 1912 Russian State Museum (

Andrew Crosby & Hugo Araujo

There is broad recognition that ecological and economic upheaval are driving humanity toward an inflection point. Depending on who you ask, we are variously on the road to destruction, the road to redemption, or the road to regenerative revolution, and points in between.

We are in a continuous transition comprised in differing measures, and progressing in parallel, of yesterday’s sustainability agenda, tomorrow’s stakeholder capitalism, and a future of synergistic human and ecological development. …

Albrecht Dürer, Knight, Death, and the Devil, 1513
Albrecht Dürer, Knight, Death, and the Devil, 1513

In the most consequential era since the Renaissance, humanity faces a profound transformation in which our future hangs between the limitless potential of knowledge-driven transformation and a precipice of environmental and social collapse delivered by our own actions. Citizens, governments, businesses, and philanthropists must mobilise around a new narrative for humanity that fully integrates complementary responses to these trends. Such a narrative must be animated by human purpose in bringing about ecological and social regeneration, shared abundance, and the prosperity that is now possible.

Lazy thinking from the world’s leaders and fascination with our own creations have led to a…

The world was our oyster…

Why do obsolete practices and beliefs persist? Inertia, fatigue, entrenched power, and lack of vision all impede their displacement in creating the systems and societies that reflect today’s challenges and opportunities. The paradox is that the seeds of systemic shifts are all around us, ready to displace the obsolete, if we simply see the challenges and solutions differently.

Look at forest practices, for example. A recent story in the New York Times entitled There’s a Booming Business in America’s Forests. Some Aren’t Happy About It delivers an object lesson in the challenges in overcoming the obsolete. American forests are being…

Meyrin, a city in the canton of Geneva, Switzerland, adopted a climate emergency charter last week. Meyrin was not the first Swiss city to sign up. It joined 31 other communities, representing nearly 20% of the country’s population, and thousands of other communities globally, in recognizing a climate emergency and committing to act upon it.

Entitled la “Charte pour le climat et l’énergie des villes et communes” signatories to this charter recognize a climate emergency and commit to undertaking action in response. …

By Franz van Duns — Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

The ousting of Danone’s Chair and CEO, Emmanuel Faber, illustrates a painful lesson — likely to be repeated — on the dangers of established corporations getting out in front and walking the talk on sustainability and regeneration. When actions are not clearly contributing to today’s bottom line, they and their proponents are in danger of being rolled back.

Of course, Danone is not the first company to experience headwinds. The history of Unilever under Paul Polman was frequently punctuated by demands of shareholders focused on shorter term gains as Polman pushed for longer term value generation. Similar concerns seem to…

1930 Grand Central Station, Hal Morey

We are in for a reckoning when our social fabric and societal systems become too brittle to adapt. The release of the report of the 1776 Commission — a Trump response to current events calling into question equality, racial justice, and liberalism — on Martin Luther King Day contrasts with a building coverage on the historical wrongs, and rights, of historical American behavior and its implications for the future moral and political development of the country.

As quoted in the New York Times, the report states that “Historical revisionism that tramples honest scholarship and historical truth, shames Americans by highlighting…

In the early days when I helped to launch a venture in Geneva that enabled trade policy to become a better tool for sustainable development, there were so many visions about what the World Trade Organization (WTO) meant and what it might become.

Ultimately, there was really only one compelling idea: empower members and advocates from around the globe to interact within an informed context of trade and work with the institution as it actually existed. It was-and remains-a fundamental point.

The WTO is currently winnowing down candidates to fill the vacant Director General post and considering a wide range…

No sooner had the words left WTO Director General Roberto Azevedo’s mouth on his unanticipated early resignation than speculation on successors began. Some are experienced and well-known including former Kenyan trade minister Amina Mohamed, former EU trade commissioner Peter Mandelson, and the former head of the International Trade Centre Arancha González. More are sure to come.

As usual, there is also talk of which country or region is due its “turn” at the leadership post, but it would be counter-productive to prioritise national or regional identities over the demands of this extraordinary task.

The predominant logic in choosing previous WTO…

Andrew Crosby

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