Changing the narrative

There are many ways to see the world. But mostly, we see it as ours.

Ours to consume.
Ours to bend to our will.
Ours to ignore, even when it’s crying out for help.
And ours to act as a dustbin for all our egregious behaviour.

It won’t go on forever. No animate thing is that resilient, particularly or more especially in the face of massive pollution, driven in no more small way by our desire for stuff.

We have to do more.

And I don’t just mean more in the sense of changing our consumptive ways. I mean we have to see it as something that informs our life’s work.

Perhaps David Attenborough’s programme was no great milestone in the pantheon of climate scientists’ research but if ever there was a time to look within and change everything about the way we live, our values and our messaging, now is the time.

You might think in me writing about our indifference of Gaia that somehow I’m off the hook. Like hell. I’m currently waging my own internal battle forged in the crucible of another moral dilemma. In essence, how can I carry on working for a company that’s part of the problem (like 99.99% of companies) and not the solution? Likewise, my family’s lifestyle is hardly a litmus test for environmental neutrality. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to my various Gaia diatribes causing more than a degree of angst.

But the bigger part of me, much like I’ve expressed before, wants to find a serious and meaningful outlet for all of my experience, passion and need to make the most of what’s left of my life. Right now, I feel this overwhelming need to go talk to the business community and law firms — especially law firms — about the effect of their business on the environment and what more they should and must do to (amongst other things) ameliorate climate change. I know that’s hardly going to make me popular and I’m quite sure that absent a legal imperative very few businesses will be or are prepared to crank up the ‘save-the-earth’ PR but much like my ‘people first’ agenda, I feel I’ve no choice.

I’m reminded of a story of the late Ray Anderson. Here’s an extract from Forbes:

“Ray Anderson, founder of Interface and green business pioneer, died Monday from cancer at the age of 77, leaving an important legacy: He proved to the world that swinging for the sustainability fences is not bad for business; in fact, it’s very, very good.

I heard him speak at the San Francisco green building conference West Coast Green a few years ago. His grandfatherly demeanor, southern drawl, and sheer niceness were somehow electrifying, and he held the packed crowd rapt. He poignantly told of his epiphany moment, in 1994, when he read Paul Hawken’s book The Ecology of Commerce and realized that his business actions were harming the world his grandchildren would inherit. One of Hawken’s key points is that industry, as it’s traditionally been practiced, is the main driver of ecological ruin. And for that reason, it is the only institution that can turn things around. Anderson was a changed man. He vowed to correct his company’s course — and he did.”

I wonder why more leaders, bosses and managers haven’t adopted the same approach? What, because they don’t believe that greening the business is good for the bottom line? That might have been something to crow about in 1994 but right now, the only reason to do something is to be part of the solution, apropos saving the planet, and not bloody killing it.

Anyhow, all I wanted to say is that the narrative — which informs our values, beliefs and action — is everything. I realise it might be very annoying to hear the same old, same old but then again, if climate change and the destruction of Gaia isn’t the most important issue of our lives, I don’t know what is.

Happy Easter.

Blessings and much love.

Julian

Photo by AJ Colores on Unsplash

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