What would happen if the same six people won the Oscars every year? Three things: 1) The Oscars would get so boring that no one would pay attention; 2) the awards would lose credibility; and 3) a lot of very talented people would go unrecognized.
That what’s happening in regard to our national and international heroes of sustainability – the many people who day in and day out demonstrate uncommon persistence in the face of virtual anonymity.
I received a call the other day from someone who wanted me to attend a conference. Her selling point was that her organization was giving an award to one of sustainability’s superstars – someone who already has received considerable honors and attention for his good work.
On one hand, I’m delighted that work on sustainability is rewarded. On the other hand, I suspect that some awards are based not on merit alone, but on the star power of the awardee –- his or her ability to attract people to a conference or a fund-raising banquet. The result is that the same sustainability superstars tend to be recognized over and over again, while many lesser luminaries are not.
I’d like to offer this suggestion to the many organizations that organize gala dinners and national conferences on sustainable development, and who wish to recognize somebody in the movement: How about honoring the unsung heroes? The list of nominees is very, very long. Continued...