For there is always light,
if only we’re brave enough to see it
If only we’re brave enough to be it
Excerpt from the Poem “The Hill We Climb,” by Amanda Gorman, US Inaugural Youth Poet Laureate, Biden-Harris Inauguration, January 20, 2021.
Cumulus President’s Message January 2021
The end of January is upon us. We are moving full speed ahead into a new year, one that most of us have welcomed with a great measure of anticipation. Anticipation is both about foregrounding and devising expectations to be better prepared for what might lie ahead, but it is also about looking forward. With each new year, we symbolically set out new goals and resolutions with the optimism and hope that fresh starts offer. There is so much to anticipate as we slowly emerge from the dislodging events and concentric emergencies the COVID-19 public health crisis brought in its wake.
Just as we were about to welcome 2021, The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) published its annual Human Development Report (HDR). Entitled: The Next Frontier: Human Development and the Anthropocene, the report frames the cry for survival for our planet with sobering urgency. It calls for bold and decisive action to reduce the immense pressure that, as a human species, we have been exerting on the environment and the natural world.
In the document’s preface, UNDP’s Achim Steiner summarizes the collective decision ahead: “Will we be remembered by the fossils we leave behind: swaths of species, long-extinct, sunken and fossilized in the mud alongside plastic toothbrushes and bottle caps, a legacy of loss and waste? Or will we leave a much more valuable imprint: a balance between people and planet, a future that is fair and just?”
Herein lies the question. Undoubtedly, this is a plea for action that reinforces one of the critical commitments that Cumulus made back in 2008 with the Kyoto Design Declaration’s signing and that we have pledged to strengthen as part of our association’s strategic plan. I invite you to browse through the UNDP report. Perhaps it will inspire a new resolve that might accelerate much-needed change — one artistic input and one design decision at a time.
Here’s to a year full of light to one and all.
Mariana Amatullo, PhD
Vice Provost for Global Strategic Initiatives, The New School
You can download the President’s message via the link below: