Hollywood action hero Arnold Schwarzenegger has said the "era for talk is over" as he launches a new initiative to develop the world's first realistic model of a sustainable world in 2020.
The 'Sustainia' project, launched today in Geneva, Switzerland, is an ambitious global collaboration to identify the companies and individuals who can make the changes needed to create a sustainable society.
The aim of the scheme is to convince decision makers on the necessary policies to improve the quality of life for people and communities around the world.
The initiative is headed by former Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger. He is joined in a committee by three of the world’s most prominent sustainability leaders, European Commissioner for Climate Action, Connie Hedegaard, Chairman of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Dr Rajendra K. Pachauri and Special Envoy on Climate Change to the UN, Gro Harlem Brundtland.
'Sustainia' is a virtual model of the world that could be created if ready and available solutions are implemented to existing cities, homes, energy systems and transportation.
Developers have started the process of building 'Sustainia'. In the coming months, everyone with an internet access can visit, inhabit and help build the new world on a virtual construction site.
The vision of Sustainia is presented in the book “Guide to Sustainia”, which was developed by Scandinavian think tank Monday Morning in a collaborative effort with 16 global companies, including Microsoft, GE, DNV, Philips Lighting, DONG Energy, Tetra Pak, and Cisco and experts.
Since the launch in October 2011, a consortium of Scandinavian companies, UN Global Compact and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s new climate initiative R 20 - Regions for Climate Action - has seen the potential of further developing 'Sustainia' into a new global innovation and communication platform.
Arnold Schwarzenegger said: “Sustainia will demonstrate that sustainability is the better choice for all of us. For communities around the world and for the individual, it offers a multitude of benefits in terms of e.g. better health, more liveable cities and increased productivity. But we need to actually see it to understand it. And this is what we will make possible.”
'Sustainia' will be presented to world leaders in June this year, at the Rio+20 Summit in Brazil, alongside an inspiration catalogue – “Sustainia100” - containing 100 concrete solutions and technologies that will help make “Sustainia” real.
Schwarzenegger added: “The era of talk is over. It is time for action – and the companies, institutions and persons who represent green solutions are the new breed of action heroes whose efforts we should celebrate and encourage”
Ahead of today's ceremony, executive director of the UN Global Compact, Georg Kell, said: “UN Global Compact fully supports Sustainia – it is a clear articulation of” the future we want” and fits perfectly with the message UN wants to convey during Rio+ 20 and after: we can build a desirable future. We will ensure that Sustainia is given a prominent platform in Rio. It is a new and needed approach to communicating sustainability and involves all key stakeholders.”
EU Commissioner for Climate Action, Connie Hedegaard, added: “Our greatest challenge as leaders is to connect with people and communities around the world. Sustainia is a way to do this.
“To give people a clear picture of what their lives could be like in a sustainable future - and how it will improve our health, our environment, our economy. Sustainia’s unique approach to communicating what is often complex for people to understand will be a great tool for political leaders.”