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The Common Agenda — Resources

Discussion Groups

As a first step in crafting A Common Agenda for Health and Environment, the Lowell Center convened discussion groups focused on single issue areas: biodiversity conservation, climate and energy, environmental justice, labor, public health and medicine, sustainable food systems, and toxics.  Ultimately, nearly 100 people—primarily affiliated with non-governmental organizations and universities--participated.  Over several months, the discussion groups met by phone, charged with developing long-term or “Generational” goals for their issue areas which, if achieved, would ensure health and well-being for future generations.  For each goal, the discussion groups developed objectives and priority actions that would begin to shift policies, programs and behaviors in the direction of the long-term goals. 

In April 2008, representatives from each discussion group met at the White Oak Conservation Center in Yulee Florida to discuss how best to integrate their goal statements into a Common Agenda.   Rather than retain their issue-specific Generational Goals, the groups identified themes that cut across their issue areas and developed six new Generational Goals that together represented a world they would hope to leave their children.  These six goals were: (1) safe and healthy people; (2) vibrant communities; (3) green jobs in a green economy; (4) protected and restored ecosystems; (5) shared responsibility for environmental justice (6) a world at peace.  The group then decided which of the issue-specific objectives and actions best supported each goal.

Following the first White Oak meeting, a drafting committee worked with Lowell Center faculty and staff to draft A Common Agenda for Health and Environment. The original goal statements generated by the discussion groups were not lost and can be viewed below. Their goals and objectives may be of interest to people wanting to better understand the priority issues relevant to environment and health, and the bold actions that leaders working on each of these issues believe are needed to reverse current trends and realize a new era of health and well-being for future generations and the natural world.

Download the original issue-specific Generational Goals outlined by the discussion groups: