The Woods Hole Research Center (WHRC) recently named Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland, former Prime Minister of Norway, as the 2013 recipient of the Lawrence S. Huntington Environmental Prize. The prize recognizes leaders who advance and promote research and communication on climate, earth sciences, and conservation. Prize recipients recognize the interrelationships of global systems and think on a planetary scale. The award ceremony was held at the New York Yacht Club on February 7, 2013.
Addressing an audience of distinguished scientists, conservationists, policy makers, and business and community leaders, Dr. Brundtland reiterated her frequently quoted statement: “Yes, all is indeed linked to everything else.” She emphasized that science must point the way to more informed and integrated decision-making, not only on climate change, but also on biodiversity, and water and food scarcities. She also linked sustainable development to the full economic empowerment of women, which, she said, “will unleash the largest untapped potential for sustainable development, generate millions of new jobs and lift millions of people out of poverty.” Dr. Brundtland further explained that the crux of the issue of unsustainable development “is our still too-limited ability for effective global governance.”
Prior to Dr. Brundtland’s speech, comments were offered by John Adams, member of WHRC’s Board of Directors and founding Executive Director of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and by Eric A. Davidson, President of WHRC. Mr. Adams described the profound effect that the 1987 Brundtland Commission report, “Our Common Future” had on the environmental movement in the US and throughout the world. Dr. Davidson described how the Brundtland report established the connection between human needs and the environment. “Our work is sustainability science,” he said, “inspired by the Brundtland Commission’s vision of sustainable development. …[We] bring our science to bear, relentlessly, tirelessly, sometimes in the face of discouraging trends, to illuminate the pathways to sustainability.”