Today, we spent some time at Condé Nast Traveler‘s World Savers Congress, a conference that gathered members of the tourism and travel industries that are trying to make a difference in the world through conservation, sustainability and other philanthropic efforts, along with other companies and philanthropists that share their vision and goals.
We were drawn to the conference by special guest speakers Mandy Moore, Wyclef Jean and Edward Norton — all inspiring philanthropists and world travelers — but there were some media personalities there as well. CNT‘s editor-in-chief Klara Glowczewska opened the event by welcoming everyone and served as master of ceremonies throughout. “We’re at the dawn of a new era,” she said “Business will be transformed, and ultimately in the best possible ways.”
New York Times columnist and author Nicholas Kristof moderated the first panel of the day, featuring TOMS Shoes CEO Blake Mycoskie and Rachel Webber, the director of energy initiatives for Rupert Murdoch‘s News Corp. Although News Corp.’s energy initiatives grew out of the desire to streamline their business expenses, they now realize that folding socially conscious initiatives into their business model can improve the brand’s reputation around the world, Webber said.
Later, documentarian Ken Burns previewed his latest project, “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea”. You can check out a clip here.
Then, over lunch we sat at the bloggers’ table with CNT bloggers Julia Bainbridge, Mollie Chen and Wendy Perrin, Jen Leo of The Los Angeles Times and bloggers Todd Lucier, Aimee Barnes and Elliott Ng (who snapped some great photos of the event).
After lunch, Norton spoke to the crowd about his travels and various philanthropic works. He spoke at length about the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust in Eastern Africa, where he serves as president of the board. Norton says he primarily helps the trust raise money that is then invested back into conservation, education and health care programs in the Maasai community. Right now, the New York resident is training to run the New York Marathon on November 1 with three Maasai warriors. All the funds raised in support of his run will go back to the Maasai, he said. Come marathon day, we’ll be keeping an eye out for Norton and his Maasai running buddies.
Overall, all the talk about sustainability and conservation and saving the world got us thinking: what can we do to give back? Give us some ideas. What are some ways you give back to the community and help the world at large?
After the jump, more photos of the day’s event