Sustainability Expert: ‘We Need To Start Implementing Change’


A sustainability expert speaking in Wisconsin Tuesday says changes must be made soon in order to protect the planet. He says he sees small signs of hope coming from the private sector.

Kevin Noone is a professor at Stockholm University and a leader at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. He’s speaking Tuesday morning at a UW-Madison Earth Day conference. Noone says the planet is not on a sustainable path. He says society needs to make changes in areas like transportation, agriculture and energy production.

Noone says the latest international report on climate change reinforces the severity of the situation.

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“In all three working groups reports that are being released,” Noone said, “the conclusion is, ‘Look, we’ve been twiddling our thumbs for too long now, and we need to take this climate change issue very very seriously, and we need to start implementing change.’”

Noone says getting national governments across the globe to cooperate will be difficult. He sees a ray of hope for sustainability in the corporate sector, with some firms de-emphasizing quarterly reports as a way to promote sustainable decisions, or others endorsing the idea of a carbon tax.

Finally, he says, states like Wisconsin can use better measurements like the Genuine Progress Indicator, “that includes environmental aspects and includes societal aspects in a balance sheet, so you actually make money and some things actually remove or are in the minus column in your balance sheet, and you take account of all of those.”

Industries like mining, fracking sand and others continue to try to grow here, but Noone argues the true cost to the globe is rarely measured.