Being human means being supported, inspired, at times downtrodden and ultimately conflicted by the very society that we subscribe to. The system we currently rely on (unless you are completely off-grid) is not fit for planetary purpose. We all know this. The reams of content and data recycled in our feeds every day means we don’t forget it.
Building anything, in our case an event, comes with impact. However emotionally-invested we all are to positive outcomes, impact is an inevitability within the system that we support knowingly, wilfully or not. We minimise and reduce as much as possible. The partners, service providers and attendees all do the same because we all want the best for our future and the movement we are trying to harness. That of positive change; of circularity in all forms; of responsible stewardship and a symbiotic part of the whole that is the natural world.
The recent furore over COP’s partner of choice is a by-product of a system we are all signed up to. A system we know has to change immediately. The only way to change the system is to engage all parties and take inspiration from each other’s ideas and experiences to force the change in our own organisations and lives. If we are going to critic it, we have to hold up a mirror to our daily lives and realise we are complicit. The other option is a hard stop to all human activity. There is no knowing how that manifests entirely but global pandemics give us a good indication.
The ability to change, and the speed at which this is possible, is different for everyone. A small creative agency does not have the same task as a large multinational. However that agency will inspire change in the other. The multinational can likewise support the smaller partner. Growth and de-growth can and is happening. It is not fast enough for some and we are hamstrung by the media and political axis obsessed by power and influence. The key is not to be distracted by that noise and force change through sheer will and positivity.
Dame Stephanie Shirley is one such example. Her German-Jewish parents, her father a judge in Vienna in 1939 when the Third Reich annexed Austria, realised quickly the fast-closing door meant sending their children for a new life in England and new parents. Aged 5. Growing up, with a gift for maths, she learnt computing. She founded a software company in 1962 aged 29, the first 300 staff were almost entirely women working from home. Working from home?! The much-evolved company is now 60.
A woman, surviving and succeeding against well-documented odds, addicted to change through circumstance, now a venture philanthropist. In her words: “I need to make the life that was saved worth saving.” [Credit: FT]
We need to be addicted to change and fast. In the words of another, and popular Blue Earth speaker, Kresse Wesling: “Business might be the vehicle to achieve change but that doesn’t mean this is a business event; this is an ACTion event.” [Credit: Blue Earth Summit]
The values that brought Blue Earth Summit into life – using business as a force for good, being inspired by the outdoors, healthy body healthy mind – are the values which we apply to all the conversations we have. No one is perfect, no judgement here, just get on the bus. We are definitely not going to sit on the sidelines, criticise from afar; we must take the hard route. We all agree on one thing: we must ACT.