Last week, I had the unique opportunity to attend 14th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates. The Summit, held annually in Rome for more than a decade, hosts these truly remarkable people who have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, the most prestigious internationally recognized award in the world. This year’s summit was dedicated to the memory of Nelson Mandela. The Nobel Laureates called for actions in a number of key areas aimed at building of a culture of peace and highlighted global concerns, including the failure of the world’s governments to address adequately the challenges of poverty and environmental degradation.
Flying home across the Atlantic, I was inspired by the remarkable stories of the Laureates in Livia Malcangio’s book, “Being Nobel.” These individuals show us all how any one person can make a difference for good. Malcangio’s book details the stories of the Nobel Peace Laureates and their pursuit of peace, continent by continent – Africa, Asia, America, and Europe, with names and stories both familiar — Pope John Paul II, Malala Yousafsai, Nelson Mandela, and not as familiar – Leymah Gbowee, and many others. Together, they are taking on towering problems and fighting to make change – women’s rights, education, constitutional democracy, global warming and climate change, ending poverty – the list continues.
As President of Earth Day Network, I work day in and day out with committed and passionate individuals on key issues such as environmental and civic education, sustainable economies, and fighting climate change. Looking forward to 2015, a year in which climate change action and sustainability come together with the fight to end extreme poverty, we have a lot to do. Yet we can all be inspired by these individuals and what they are living. We can all take part in enacting positive change. In the words of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, “Positive change in the world occurs because of the combined efforts of individuals and it is something in which we can all take part.”
It is our turn to lead.
Earth Day Network