The Sustainability Laboratory


As we welcome 2015, we’d love to share with you some of the highlights of the last half of 2014. It was a busy, but rewarding year!

Ray Day – October 5th, 2014, Serenbe Farms, Georgia

Michael and Arielle traveled to Georgia to honor the legacy of the late Ray Anderson, a leader in sustainability thinking who went beyond flimsy ideas of “corporate responsibility,” putting sustainability at the center of his business model. “What is the business case for ending life on earth?” he once said. (You can hear more from Ray Anderson in Michael’s 2005 short documentary CEOs on Sustainability.)

As we approached the fairgrounds, more of Ray’s words of wisdom lined our path:

Here’s our booth, where we spent the day meeting other sustainability leaders and discussing The Lab’s projects:

We also had a chance to catch up with our friends from EARTH. Here we are posing with a T-shirt from their recent campaign about compost and responsible management of solid wastes, “See what doo-doo can do!”

It was a wonderful day in Chattahoochee Hills, as The Lab caught up with some old friends and met new ones! Click here for another account of the day in Georgia Trend.

The Pierre Rabhi Endowment Fund – October 16th, 2014, Paris, France

Michael visited with Pierre Rabhi in Paris to discuss Project Wadi Attir, and the possibility of partnering with the Fund’s efforts in Morroco to further advance knowledge of desert sustainability. The Pierre Rabhi Endowment Fund aims to “contribute towards the promotion, development and introduction of agroecology by setting up ecological, educational and inter-generational communities, mainly in semi-arid regions.”

Rabhi says, “The action we are taking is not to ‘patch up’ our model of society, which is quite evidently inappropriate to man and nature, but to change it radically. The time has come to adjust politics to the realities of the modern world.”

The Deserts, Drylands and Desertification Conference –  November 18th, 2014, Blaustein Institute for Desert Research at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel

Michael returned to Israel for the annual Deserts, Drylands and Desertification Conferece. He lectured on sustainability innovations at Project Wadi Attir as part of their “Rethinking Agricultural Technologies” series.

Michael with Uriel Safriel, Professor of Ecology at Hebrew University, and the Director of the Dryland Sustainability Initiative.

The following day, Professor Stefan Leu led a tour on the Project Wadi Attir site that highlighted the ecosystem restoration efforts taking place there. The central topic for the visit was the soil enhancement and water retention program.

On the final day of the conference, founding members of the Amutah, as well as members of the project’s Design Team participated in a panel which imparted the significance of the project to the Bedouin Community while offering an overview of the project’s integrated infrastructure of green technologies and its “waste into resources” approach. 

Read the conference’s Concluding Statement here.

That’s a wrap! Looking forward to what 2015 has in store!

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