Forward Together: Harnessing the Power of Shared Perspective

Hi All!
I’m Ryan Casey, a third-year Marketing and Finance student in a dual degree program with Lancaster University, and Northeastern University (Boston, USA). I am thrilled to be joining the team for the 2017 World Business Council for Sustainable Development’s Liaison Delegate Meeting, and look forward to chronicling our experiences along the way. As we prepare
to depart for Montreux, I wanted to take a moment to share a bit about myself, my goals, and my hopes for the journey ahead.

Outside of my coursework, I am an avid runner, political activist, and fascinated enthusiast of individual and organisational psychology. I love building new insights into why we think and act the way we do, both individually and as a collective. Recently, I have embraced the introspective nature of distance running as an opportunity to direct those same curiosities inward. I am currently training for the 2017 Berlin Marathon, in hopes of qualifying for Boston 2018 in the process.  When not running, I am a lover of city life and the variety of spontaneous, perspective-building opportunities it so often affords. While my time as a university student is drawing to a close, I hope to always see myself as a student of life’s next unforeseen adventure.

To me, sustainability represents one of the most fascinating, complex, ongoing social challenges we ever have or will encounter. With 7.5 billion stakeholders (and counting!), we all have a role to play in ensuring future generations can access the same opportunities, spectacles, and resources that we are so lucky to have in our lifetime. Furthermore, it is our responsibility to strive not for “good enough”, but for “better”. Around the world, companies, universities, and individuals are leading incredible work to protect, nurture, and rebuild our natural world. The greatest progress, however, comes not from headlines or groundbreaking discoveries. These represent milestones, underpinned by the conversations, curiosities, and efforts of a far larger group of people. Together, we shape our public policy, support businesses large and small, and guide the global conversation to reflect our priorities. While most of us cannot conduct groundbreaking research or finance mass reforestation projects, we all have the capacity to affect tremendous change as leaders in our communities.

The power of local organisation lies in the exponential nature of shared networks. As illustrated best by the popular “degrees of separation” theory, a message or idea can be shared very rapidly when passed through our interconnected webs of relationships. While even the most passionate advocate cannot convince ALL friends and colleagues to change their behavior, the infectious power of informed enthusiasm to advance a movement cannot be understated. While in Montreux, I am thrilled for the opportunity to take in conversations and shared experiences at the heart of the ongoing journey to a more sustainable future. With our team, I am excited to hear about the latest work around the world on initiatives I am familiar with, and entirely new developments in industries unknown. Together, we stand to broaden our perspective and become more informed participants in our global society as we take in the shared narrative and experiences from inspiring stalwarts of change around the world.

The real benefit of gatherings such as the WBCSD Liaison Delegate Meeting in Montreux, however, lies in what happens after. All of us – students, organisers, and corporate leaders of all backgrounds – will return home, reenergized and inspired by our shared conversations. We will use these stories and lessons to inspire others, generating further energy while spreading awareness far beyond the confines of the Montreux Convention Center. For some, this will be a renewed call to action. For other people, it may be the conversation that prompts a consideration into how their own consumption habits fit in the greater world community. Whatever form the discussion takes, however, its mere existence represents the heightening of global awareness that lies at the heart of the quest for a sustainable future.

While no individual, company, or industry can ever hope to single-handedly fix the challenges of an environment in peril, our power is greatly amplified when we share our experience with others. In Montreux, I look forward to both learning and sharing as we work towards a more viable, responsible future for our ever-growing world community. Thank you for reading along; I look forward to sharing more in weeks to come!

Until next time…

-Ryan

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