Ocean Mist

Issues and trends shaping our environment, health and economy

14 Mar 2016

The end of an era

Posted by Michael Keating

With the death of Jim MacNeill on March 5, Canada has lost the last of its two global sustainability pioneers. Maurice Strong died last November 28. Both MacNeill and Strong were members of the World Commission on Environment and Development, the Brundtland commission, and Canada was the only nation to have two members.

I remember Jim MacNeill from early 1986 when I was environment reporter for The Globe and Mail and he was secretary-general to the Brundtland commission, and principal authorof its report, Our Common Future. Over the next two years MacNeill spent a lot of time explaining what was then the new concept of sustainable development. After the Brundtland Report was presented to the United Nations, MacNeill, a former senior Canadian civil servant, continued to be a leader in sustainability. He was a founding member of the International Institute for Sustainable Development, based in Winnipeg, and was its chair for five years. The IISD is one of Canada’s contributions to world sustainability.

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