Tonight I had the good fortune to attend a lecture and meet world renowned economist and father of economic “shock therapy” Dr. Jeffrey Sachs. The event was put on by ASU’s Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability as part of its Wrigley Lecture Series.
Dr. Sachs spoke of the pressing sustainability issues facing our world today. Extreme poverty, hunger, and climate change grow ever more threatening as economic and population growth have increased exponentially since the invention of the steam engine. We’re getting closer to the precipice and world leaders need to act now.
We can do fantastic things if we try.
In my opinion, this was really the key part of Dr. Sachs’ message. We know what needs to be done and we have the technology to do it. “We can do fantastic things if we try.” What’s lacking is the will and the incentives to get our world leaders to take up the causes of ending poverty and combating global climate change.
The 21st United Nations Climate Change Conference takes place in Paris in December of this year. It will be a pivotal moment to see if we, as humanity, have the willpower to put aside our differences and selfishness to make this world a better place for every single person that lives on it. Even if nothing is accomplished at this conference, I take some solace knowing that there are people like Dr. Jeffrey Sachs and all the young sustainability students at ASU I saw tonight that actually give a damn. Maybe there’s some hope for change after all.