March 16, 2010

NASA hosts sustainability forum

Nike joins LAUNCH: Water forum at Kennedy Space Center.

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (March 16, 2010) - Founding Partners NASA, NIKE, Inc., USAID, and the U.S. State Department announce LAUNCH, an initiative whose mission is to identify, showcase and support innovative approaches to humanity’s sustainability challenges through a series of forums, each focused on a specific sustainability challenge. The first forum, LAUNCH: Water, will take place at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center March 16th -18th, 2010.

"NASA is perfectly positioned to host a conversation with experts about potential solutions to the world's most perplexing sustainability problems," said NASA's Deputy Administrator Lori Garver, the host of the forum. "NASA offers a culture of problem-solving, deep technical expertise on sustainable systems such as the International Space Station, and a unique capacity to capture and analyze data about our home planet."

“Nike understands the implications of declining natural resources on product creation, communities, sport, supply chains, and our consumers,” said Eric Sprunk, Nike Global VP, Product and Merchandising. “The need for collaborative innovation is imperative and LAUNCH: Water amplifies our commitment finding creative solutions for a sustainable future.”

With the support of the Founding Partners and Resource Partners The Pacific Institute, Sandia National Labs, The Water Center at the Earth Institute and IDEO, LAUNCH: Water will present a collaborative sustainability forum that leverages the collective expertise and networks of 40 LAUNCH Council Members - a cross-disciplinary group representing business, policy, engineering, science, communications and sustainability – and 10 international water Innovators — each representing a unique and compelling approach in clean-tech, science, policy, activism, and education. Together over the two days, the LAUNCH Council and invited Innovators will participate in collaborative sessions designed to help propel these innovations forward through an action and solution-focused agenda.

USAID Science & Technology Adviser to the Administrator, Dr. Alex Dehgan said, "We are facing shared challenges with other countries that will require rethinking traditional approaches to development, challenges that include climate change, emerging infectious diseases, the loss of species, food insecurity, and the availability, quantity, and quality of water on our planet. The LAUNCH partnership brings together four partners uniquely well-positioned to tackle these challenges. Two great scientific and technical institutions: NASA with its outstanding record of technical achievement and its ability to engineer the impossible, and USAID which has a long history of leadership in mobilizing scientific, technical, and engineering expertise to address global problems. At the same time, the US State Department brings an unparalleled convening power, while Nike contributes its global scale, reach, and important sustainability initiatives. By working together, we are able to move from evolutionary to revolutionary and from progress to lasting solutions in addressing the great challenges that confront us."

The Department of State joins this collaboration to foster creativity and innovation. “Access to clean water for everyone will be a long journey, and it will be arduous. But we must conquer our fears and take on this challenge, because the one billion people around the world who suffer each day because they do not have access to clean and healthy water deserve no less.” Ambassador Elizabeth Frawley Bagley, Special Representative for Global Partnerships.

LAUNCH:Water is the starting point for a multi-stage process designed to present 10 innovative ideas in water sustainability, to engage thought-leaders in identifying challenges and opportunities for these innovations, and to capture key action items from a collaborative discussion which will be synthesized into a follow-on plan. Thus meeting LAUNCH’s mission “accelerating innovation for a sustainable future”.

Council members at LAUNCH: Water include:

Majora Carter, President, Majora Carter Group Jamais Cascio, Founder, openthefuture.com Robin Chase, Founder and CEO, ZipCar & GoLoco Dan Cherian, GM Sustainable Business & Innovation, NIKE, Inc. Alexandra Cousteau, Co-Founder, EarthEcho and BlueLegacy Andrea Cunningham, Founder and CEO, CXO Communications Michael Danaher, Senior Partner, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich and Rosati Dave Ferguson, Director of Global Development Commons, USAID Peter Gleick, Co-Founder and President, Pacific Institute Anil Gupta, Professor of Indian Management, Founder, Honeybee Network David Kelley, Founder and Chairman, IDEO Alex Kinnier, Senior Partner, Khosla Ventures Rasigan Maharajh, Chief Director, Institute of Economic Research on Innovation Howard Passell, Ecologist and Senior Member of the Technical Staff, Sandia National Labs Lili-Anna Peresa, Executive Director, ONE DROP Foundation Paul Raskin, Founding Director, Tellus Institute Louis Rossetto, Founding Editor in Chief, WIRED and Founder, TCHO Eric Sprunk, VP Product and Merchandising, NIKE, Inc. Mark Uhran, Assistant Associate Administrator, International Space Station Mikkel Vestergaard, CEO, Vestergaard Frandsen Robert Watson, CEO and Founding Chairman, Eco-Tech InEco-Tech, International LEED Steering CommitteeMichael Webber, Professor, University of Texas

Access more information about our 10 innovators and their work. 

Media are invited to apply for credentials to attend the LAUNCH: Water forum. Please contact Christina Valencia at 415.624.4832 or christina@launchorg.com. For those unable to attend the event, it will be broadcast live at: http://kscwmserv1.ksc.nasa.gov/LAUNCHFor more information, visit: http://www.launchorg.com/www/

ABOUT LAUNCHLAUNCH is a global initiative to identify and support innovative work poised to contribute a sustainable future. LAUNCH is on a global search for such visionaries, who’s innovative and often-disruptive world-class ideas, technologies or programs show great promise in making tangible and impactful for society. And through a series of forums focused on key challenges areas including water, air, food, energy, mobility and sustainable cities, LAUNCH will give thought-leaders a forum to present innovative ideas amongst peers and join in collaborative, solution-driven discussions.

ABOUT NASANASA's mission is to pioneer the future in space exploration, technology development, Earth science, and aeronautics research. Since its inception in 1958, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration has been a leading force in scientific discovery and innovation.

ABOUT NIKE, Inc.NIKE, Inc. based near Beaverton, Oregon, is the world's leading designer, marketer and distributor of authentic athletic footwear, apparel, equipment and accessories for a wide variety of sports and fitness activities. Wholly-owned Nike subsidiaries include Cole Haan, which designs, markets and distributes luxury shoes, handbags, accessories and coats; Converse Inc., which designs, markets and distributes athletic footwear, apparel and accessories; Hurley International LLC, which designs, markets and distributes action sports and youth lifestyle footwear, apparel and accessories; and Umbro Ltd., a leading United Kingdom-based global football (soccer) brand. For more information, visit www.nikeinc.com.

ABOUT USAIDThe American people, through the U.S. Agency for International Development, have provided economic and humanitarian assistance worldwide for nearly 50 years.

ABOUT U.S. STATE DEPARTMENTThe mission of the U.S. Department of State is to advance freedom for the benefit of the American people and the international community by helping to build and sustain a more democratic, secure, and prosperous world composed of well-governed states that respond to the needs of their people, reduce widespread poverty, and act responsibly within the international system. www.state.gov

MEDIA CONTACTSLAUNCH, Christina Valencia, 415-624-4832, christina@launchorg.com NASA, Katherine Trinidad, 202-358-110, katherine.trinidad@nasa.govNIKE, Kate Meyers, 503-724-9086, Kate.Meyers@nike.comUSDAID, William Schmitt, wschmitt@usaid.govU.S. State Department, Jim Thompson, 202.647.3227, Thompsonjf2@state.gov