A key part of Greening the next generation is the sharing of ideas. Those that have been around for awhile can use their experiences—the triumphs and the mistakes-- to make a point. Those who are younger can express their enthusiasm and concern for the world they will inherit.
What follows is a description of what happened on Earth Day 2010 as the children of Deloitte reached around the world to speak to young people in the United States, Europe, and India.
“I never imagined being able to network with so many different people my own age from all over the world. It was so empowering. Deloitte did something that I have never experienced before; they didn't make me feel like a child, they made me feel like the future."
—Fayetteville High School student participating from the Deloitte Bentonville, AR, project office
In an historic event and the start of things to come, when Deloitte celebrated Earth Day and Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day on April 22, 2010 the ECHO reverberated around the world. This also marked the launch of the Deloitte Greening the next generation (GNG) program to bring greening into the homes of our young people.
From the Deloitte office at 1633 Broadway, New York City (NYC) to the project office in Bentonville, Arkansas to Army Garrisons in Heidelberg and Mannheim, Germany, Vicenza, Italy, and NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium to the Hyderabad and Mumbai, India offices, young people shared their ideas for responsible stewardship of our planet. They were connected with Deloitte Corporate Responsibility (CR) and Sustainability leaders from Cincinnati, Detroit, Seattle, and Vero Beach.
Directing the event was CR Communications Leader Jack McFadden, Deloitte Services LP, who leveraged Deloitte’s advanced videoconferencing technology and brought together participants from around the world. CR Program Leader Suzanne Keel-Eckmann, Deloitte Services LP, commented, “Geography has no boundaries when it comes to the passion and understanding young people have about the environment and the world they will inherit.”
Moderating the event from a Deloitte project office in Bentonville, Arkansas was well-known author Neale Godfrey who works with The Deloitte Foundation’s LIFE, Inc. initiative; and whose book, ECO-Effect™: The Greening of Money, has been incorporated into the GNG program. Setting the stage for the event, Neale challenged the participants: “We have to change our mindset; and that’s what today is about.”
Overseeing the headquarters hub, local Green Champion Anne Weisberg observed, “Connecting with kids around the world to talk about ways to be green reinforced that environmental sustainability is a universal issue.” Anne continued, “I think our children were inspired by learning what others are doing.”
Joining Anne at the NYC video-conferencing suite was green team member Mary Jane Sedor who played an important role in coordinating the technology that made all of the connections possible. She commented: “The video conferencing capability and support team Deloitte provides is amazing! I was thrilled to see how well the technology performed given the amount of external connections, and more importantly, we were demonstrating one of the “green” ways Deloitte conducts business.”
Although the time zone became more of a challenge, our colleagues in India stayed into the night to join the video conference with their Green Champions, green team members and members of their families. It was impressive to view the enthusiasm of the young people and also learn of innovative approaches to greening from the adults.
As noted by Joseph Marton, Child, Youth, & School Services Program Specialist, Heidelberg, Germany Army Garrison, the Army’s Earth Day theme is “sustaining the environment for a secure future.” Based on the comments of the youth who participated, we will be in good hands with our leaders of tomorrow. They outlined programs and initiatives, connecting young people among the Garrisons that provided opportunities to grow and be heard.