To Solve Sustainability Problems, Ask Those Most Affected

Aug 14, 2014 10:00 AM ET
Campaign: Thought Leadership
AECOM's Gary Lawrence, chief sustainability officer, discusses the negative effects of experts who lack humility in his most recent Environmental Leader article.

“You may talk of the tyranny of Nero and Tiberius, but the real tyranny is the tyranny of your next-door neighbor.”

 –Walter Bagehot, Editor-in-Chief of The Economist from 1860 to 1877.

Over the years, Nero and Tiberius have made way for a large global host of dictators and oppressors whose deeds fill our media channels on a daily basis.

These are easy targets to single out. The plight of their people, the destruction of towns and cities, the exploitation of natural resources to benefit the few while the majority population goes hungry and homeless — all point back to the tyranny of decisions made by one man, one woman or one elite group.

Sitting in the democratic West with our freedom of speech, it is easy to condemn, to moralize and to point out the right and wrong of the situation. It is not, however, so easy to recognize a more ubiquitous tyranny in our own midst. That is the lack of humility that creates a tyranny of experts.

Check out the most recent Environmental Leader article from Gary Lawrence, AECOM’s chief sustainability officer, to learn about the negative effects of experts who lack humility.

Ranked as the #1 engineering design firm by revenue in Engineering News-Record magazine’s annual industry rankings, AECOM is a premier, fully integrated infrastructure and support services firm, with a broad range of markets, including transportation, facilities, environmental, energy, water and government.  With approximately 45,000 employees — including architects, engineers, designers, planners, scientists and management and construction services professionals — serving clients in more than 150 countries around the world, AECOM is a leader in all of the key markets that it serves.  AECOM provides a blend of global reach, local knowledge, innovation and technical excellence in delivering solutions that create, enhance and sustain the world's built, natural and social environments.  A Fortune 500 company, AECOM had revenue of $7.9 billion during the 12 months ended June 30, 2014.  More information on AECOM and its services can be found at

AECOM Technology Corporation
Ed Mayer, +1.732.564.3380
Director, Corporate Communications