Environmental sustainability. Social justice. Economic development. Global equality. These priorities shape our present and the way we respond to them will define our shared future. The 2nd Yale Environmental Sustainability Summit (YESS) will bring together change makers from diverse spheres to share effective models of sustainability and build skills for action. YESS aspires to catalyze the Yale alumni community to take a fresh look at global “unsustainability” and cultivate solutions that connect people and priorities. The 2017 Summit will offer attendees the opportunity to strengthen social and professional networks, gain new knowledge, and expand their toolkits.
YESS 2017 will be organized around three themes: catalyzing, cultivating, and connecting sustainability-driven change makers. To catalyze sustainability efforts, change makers need to understand the benefits and challenges of existing models as well as to develop new ones for bringing sustainability to scale, namely financial mechanisms, political levers, and technological strategies. To cultivate these sustainability efforts, change makers must be both leaders and collaborators, fostering the skills needed to direct, demand, organize and listen. To connect their efforts to sustainability in all of its facets, change makers must be able to communicate clearly, to empathize, to tell compelling stories, and to thoughtfully understand and integrate context. They must be able to inspire others with a clear vision that impacts critical challenges in a meaningful way. They must be able to translate big ideas into real world solutions.
In its second iteration, YESS will again be planned and implemented by a team of enthusiastic Yale Alumni. We plan to expand upon the success of YESS 2015, and create an ongoing YESS “living ecosystem,” fostering working groups of students, faculty, alumni and staff that stay engaged after, during and before each bi-annual Summit. We are working to connect YESS 2017 to the University’s Sustainability Strategic Planning work, and to finding ways to share lessons across institutional platforms.