As I promised last week more on our environmental conference this week. We have been overwhelmed with messages over the last week from many who have already changed behaviour within their businesses or personally to reduce their impact on the environment. There was a great quote that was used throughout the day, “Don’t let perfection get in the way of progress”. No, we are not going to become carbon-neutral overnight, but don’t let that stop you taking small steps to reduce your carbon impact now and larger steps at some point in the future.
One of the recurring themes of the day was legacy. I have written about this in my book Forces for Good and have illustrated it in talks before with a picture of my own tombstone, which may seem a little macabre, but the point is what do we want to be remembered for when we finally pass away? What would others write on our tombstone right now? Another speaker talked about the same concept calling it the ‘nursing home test’. You see those that are remembered for a long time after their death are those that have made the world a better place, those who have given themselves on behalf of others. Those people who have simply accumulated wealth and possessions for themselves will not generally be remembered for long, but those who have given away their time and wealth to others will.
With the respect to the environment, it is becoming clear that we are living on borrowed time, and unless we all act soon and dramatically our epitaphs will not be ones to rejoice over. The developed world, over the past two centuries, has behaved appallingly selfishly and it is time to make amends otherwise our children and grandchildren will not have a planet to live on, not the planet we have known, that is. We must change now and quickly. I was very keen when organising the conference that it shouldn’t just be about talking, but about action and it was profoundly satisfying to have messages from people who are changing stuff over the past week. This was beautifully summarised by this e-mail I received last Monday:
“Thanks Paul. Without doubt, Friday was the most inspirational, thought provoking, and emotional event I have ever attended, the content of which will stick with me forever. I came home and sat with my kids and don't mind admitting I shed a few tears. To see so many brilliant and passionate people who really care, really gave me a boost - it's easy to let work swamp what's really important.”