Martin Melaver  was a guest at this year’s annual meeting of the Carter Center, and he liked what he saw. The Carter Center is a sustainable organization that fires on all cylinders. They’re coming up with big ideas—and delivering. They look at the big picture, and they’re capable of reaching across lines to get things done. They’ve got the goods, and they “get it.”
This past week, I was fortunate enough to be a guest of the Carter Center at its annual meeting.
President Carter, at 85, was jaw-droppingly impressive, speaking on his feet for 45 minutes without notes on a broad range of political and economic issues. The programs the Carter Center highlighted during this meeting were no less impressive, ranging from elimination of malaria in Haiti and the Dominican Republic to promoting greater openness and unfettered flow of information in China, to tee-ing up democratic elections in the Sudan.
But it was the underlying architecture of this organization that really grabbed my attention. I felt I was getting a glimpse of what a sustainably-rooted organization looks like.
We are certainly not lacking for one-off stories of numerous companies and organizations all announcing their various green initiatives. Bravo. It’s about time. Much rarer, however, are examples of entities that “get it.” By getting it, I mean having a clear, focused purpose that locates all one’s resources on the three keys to a more sustainable world order:
1) Paradigm-changing programs. Delivering on any of the handful of big-ticket game-changing ideas that are currently circulating. Ideas like radical carbon reduction (see George Monbiot, Heat, Lester Brown, Plan B 3.0), creating multi-generational trusts for natural capital (Peter Barnes, Capitalism 3.0), shaping a green-collar economy (Van Jones), eliminating poverty (Jeffrey Sachs),and retooling democracy (Robert Reich, Sheldon Wolin).