GIFT is not just another think tank, but an organization with an active outreach that helps people directly in the Asia region and educates students through their "Young Leaders Programme".
From their website - Global Institute for Tomorrow-
"The YLP is a unique executive learning programme aimed at developing leadership and business skills by applying these in an experiential context to design commercially viable solutions for socially responsible projects in Asia."
GIFT also provides advisory services and offers ideas through seminars, speaking engagements and articles.
Chandran Nair gave a talk at the 2009 TEDx Tokyo, in which he outlines his thesis and, as he puts it, "asks the hard questions".
I find it refreshing to hear someone raise these issues. I am very frustrated when concerned individuals and institutions get bogged down in chasing "green" techno-fixes to these problems, or worse, shifting their focus from resource scarcity, how to feed the world, provide clean water, and salvage the Earth's environment to how to keep the automobile culture alive.
For an in depth look at his ideas, visit the website (linked above) or read his new book Consumptionomics: Asia's Role in Reshaping Capitalism and Saving the Planet.
To see the YLP in action, watch this video which shows them - with help from United Nations Development Program - helping cocoa farmers in tsunami devestated Aceh, Indonesia, re-organize the way they do things to bring about a sustainable and economically viable industry.
Politicians are still stuck in the "exponential growth on a finite planet" paradigm, which is already hitting the wall of limited resources - witness PM Kan's pursuit of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
We must find a way to redefine economics and define well being, indeed happiness, in terms of health, community, clean water, access to farm land, and so on, rather than solely on consumption.
Chandran Nair is bringing up the tough conversations we need to be having.