“Humanity is united by the challenge of how to sustain human progress and create flourishing, equitable societies within the hard biophysical boundaries imposed by our home planet.”
1 September 2012
Dr. Gary Kendall | South Africa

“What a dilemma we face!  Three short centuries of extraordinary human progress have been enabled by our releasing millions of years of ancient sunlight through burning fossil fuels.  Unfortunately, this activity has been quietly undermining the very progress it helped to create, while fooling us into believing we could triumph over fundamental physical laws. 

With a clear understanding that this development pathway is no longer available to us, humanity is united by the challenge of how to sustain human progress and create flourishing, equitable societies within the hard biophysical boundaries imposed by our home planet.  Such global-scale challenges – and opportunities for international collaboration – have no historical precedent. 

Given this context, I consider myself immensely privileged to be exploring potential solutions with people and institutions of vision, integrity and courage.  Atsufumi and the Akira Foundation fall squarely in this category.  I was honoured when Atsu invited me recently to participate in a colloquium on African Urbanisation at Sophia University, Tokyo.  Akira Foundation was instrumental in constructing a high-quality event, facilitating a rich exchange of ideas between experts in Japan and the African continent.  I am convinced that dialogues of this nature will be essential if we are to succeed in cracking the code for this next phase of human development.”

Dr. Gary Kendall is Deputy Director at the University of Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership (CPSL) in South Africa. Gary has been working with the Cape Town office of CPSL since January 2011, having previously led SustainAbility’s think tank function. Gary has advised several leading companies on how to approach and tackle sustainability challenges, including Coca-Cola, Ford, Nestlé, Novo Nordisk, A.P. Møller-Maersk, Anglo American and Shell. Previously, Gary spent two years working in WWF’s Global Climate & Energy program, where his main interests were the causes of – and solutions to – the challenges associated with hydrocarbon fuels. This followed nine years in the downstream oil industry with ExxonMobil, spanning diverse roles from Research and Product Development to Sales, Marketing, and Business Development. Working across Europe, the US and Asia offered Gary first-hand insight to the sustainability challenges faced by one of the world’s most problematic sectors. Gary is the author of the WWF publication “Plugged In” and has a PhD in Physical Chemistry.