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Dec 292012

There is a lot to be thankful for in 2012. The Sustainable Prosperity Project, which Worldwatch began in 2011 as an effort to help shape the Rio+20 summit this past June, has had a number of successes in mapping out key elements of sustainable prosperity, from what the green economy would look like to how to degrow overdeveloped economies, from how corporations should look in the future to how to reform local and international governance. While this project will now come to a close, hopefully you’ll find the ideas generated during this year–discussed in detail in State of the World 2012, in news articles stemming from the report, and the Sustainable Prosperity blog–useful in coming years.

But before this project closes, we do want to list some of the successes of the year. First of course, were the many opportunities to discuss our research, at the Rio+20 conference, at the Stockholm+40 briefings in Sweden, through the help of partners in Milan, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Washington, Berlin, São Paulo, and in fora like the International Degrowth Conference. Through these we talked directly with policymakers like the German Science and Technology minister, the Finnish Environmental Minister, and the former environmental minister of Brazil, Marina Silva.

Second were the opportunities to share our report findings in other languages. Thanks go to our partners in producing translations of the report in over a dozen languages including Portuguese, Spanish, German, Korean, Japanese, Finnish, French, Italian, and Taiwanese. Third, were the many opportunities to spread our message in the media: an excellent series in CSRWire, several strong op-eds including one on economic and environmental prosperity and one on biodiversity in IPS and one on economic degrowth in (of all places) the Wall Street Journal. Needless to say, the comments on that op-ed weren’t all that positive!

And let's not forget the most important offering of our gratitude--to the Earth for sustaining our burgeoning human population for another year.

We also want to lay out our many thanks. Our gratitude, first and foremost, goes to the Ford Foundation who made this project possible. Not only did it provide the generous support that made the activities around the book possible, but a number of chapters drew directly from a series of “White Papers” commissioned by Senior Program Officer Don Chen for the Rio+20 conference. We also thank others who have collaborated with us—our publishing partners, the authors of the many report and blog articles, Sustainable Prosperity Project Fellow Antonia Sohns, and research interns Alison Singer and Tucker Hirsch. Thanks to everyone for all your help!

While this blog will now wrap up, we will of course keep this website live, with videos, discussion guide, blog archives, and as a special year end gift, two additional chapters available free for download. You can now read Worldwatch President Robert Engelman’s chapter “Nine Population Strategies to Stop Short of 9 Billion,” and Worldwatch Institute-Europe Director Bo Normander’s chapter “Biodiversity: Combating the Sixth Mass Extinction.” We hope you enjoy both of these chapters if you haven’t read them already!

Thanks for reading the Sustainable Prosperity blog this year and get ready for Worldwatch’s new blog, Is Sustainability Still Possible?, which will replace this and the Transforming Cultures blog. The new blog will continue to offer positive visions of how to transform cultures, economies and societies to get to truly sustainable prosperity. But it will also provide a new element, namely how to prepare for a disruptive ecological transition, which every year gets a bit more probable as we dilly-dally with implementing the solutions we know we need to pursue. The new blog will be available here—starting in 2013. Thanks for reading!

–Erik Assadourian and Michael Renner, Sustainable Prosperity Project Directors

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