Last week we had the honor to join the 38th Climate Reality Leadership Corps Training in Berlin and to learn from one of the biggest leaders in tackling the climate change: Mr. Al Gore. Three questions were asked: “Must we Change? Can we change? Will we change?” All the inspiration, new knowledge and over 600 likeminded people led us to believe that there is a real hope for our beautiful planet Earth.
Berlin was not the first encounter with Mr. Gore though. Last year, we attended the biggest tech conference in the world – Web Summit in Lisbon, where Mr. Gore gave the closing speech urging the tech community to embrace the business opportunities in solving the climate crisis. Listening to his speech, we knew something incredibly important is about to happen soon. His words “My purpose here is to recruit you to be a part of the solution to the climate crisis” resonated deeply and we took the decision! It led us to leaving the corporate world and setting up our advisory firm MissionC, with the goal to accelerate the transition to circular economy and sustainable future. Seeing Mr. Al Gore in Berlin last week again was a very special moment and we couldn’t wait to get trained, inspired and connected with the community working on the same goal.
On Tuesday morning, the first training day, there was a great energy in the room as everyone was grabbing a coffee and meeting fellow participants. More than 600 people from all over the world. What to expect? Will we see Mr. Al Gore? We spent together three very intensive days, listening to experts, sharing insights based on our experience. Besides all the facts and specific examples of problems as well as the solutions, what was a huge value was the power of the people that attended. Fellow sustainability consultants, activists, enthusiasts, people keen to learn more about what we can do to create a bright future for all on this beautiful planet. Together, we were exploring the three main questions:
Must we change?
Yes! We are now spewing 110 million tons of manmade global warming pollution into the thin shell of our atmosphere every 24 hours. The sources of pollution are diverse: industrial processes, agriculture, mining, transportation, thawing permafrost and others, with the largest source being the burning of fossil fuels. 93% of the heat is absorbed by the ocean, disturbing its natural cycles. Increased temperatures cause the ice sheets to melt, leading to rising sea levels which puts many large inhabited areas especially in South-East Asia at the risk of floods. Increased temperatures lead to more unpredictable weather patterns resulting in climate catastrophes such as hurricanes, water bombs, fires and draughts – displacing many people, disrupting food supplies and destroying the livelihoods and ecosystems. This is making many places uninhabitable, often resulting in migration. Sahel area and Syria are a proof. Globally, floods and extreme rainfall events now occur four times more often than in 1980. 17 out of the 18 hottest years on record have occurred since the year 2001. YES, WE MUST CHANGE!
Can we change?
Yes again. We have the solutions at hand. Technology and innovations are already available. Globally, wind could supply worldwide electricity consumption 40 times over. And enough solar energy reaches Earth every hour to fill all the world’s energy for a full year. Cars running on renewable energy are becoming more effective and available and there is a constant development ongoing with many established manufacturers and newcomers joining the trend. Since December 2015 COP21 United nations conference all the UN countries have agreed to limit global warming by setting a temperature cap of 2 degrees Celsius change above pre-industrial levels, with an aim for a 1.5 degrees Celsius change. Big countries like China and India are both on track to overachieve their ‘Paris commitments’. Over 130 global companies such as Apple, IKEA, AkzoNobel, HP, Unilever, Google, Philips and Morgan Stanley have made by now a commitment to go 100% renewable with Lego already reaching its goal. YES, WE CAN CHANGE!
Will we change?
This answer is up to each and every one of us. We decide with every single decision we make in our personal and business life. There is a clear urgency. There are solutions for moving forward: continue decarbonization, invest into the transition to circular economy and renewable energy which both increase the number of jobs and improve lives while sustaining the environment. We have to become conscious consumers changing certain old ways we are used to, great start being: shared car travels, leasing solar panels for our roofs, refusing disposables such as plastic straws and bags, saying no to fast fashion, carrying reusable bottles, eating less meat … the options are limitless. As Mr. Gore said, we now have the mandate to make the decision that will forever influence the world we live in and we will be judged by the future generations.
But there was so much more than one great leader on the stage: we had a valuable support of many experienced mentors and inspiring climate leaders from all over the world. Most importantly, everybody can have influence – we all are leaders in making.
To walk the talk the whole event was organized as a Green event – climate neutral with a minimum waste created. Just to mention a few, all of us were requested to bring our own reusable mugs and bottles, catering was 100% vegetarian with vegan options available, served using reusable dishes and cutlery, waste was separated, fresh water always tapped and all our travel emissions were carbon neutralized. Yes – even for the airplane travels! At the end of the training, we were awarded certificates and a green circle pin as a symbol of our commitment to help spread the reality of the climate crisis. We will proudly wear it to take a stand for action.
From Lisbon to Berlin back to Amsterdam: that’s our journey. We are keen to be a part of the solution of the climate crisis and help others to do the same. We see a Conscious world where people and organizations thrive. Where businesses prosper while creating positive value for the planet. Where individuals take responsibility for their actions, understanding their impact. What do you believe in? What action will you take?
Eva Nedelkova & Andrea Kralikova
#leadonclimate #climateralityproject #missionc
Main photo credit: Sanjay Bhutiani