Earth: More Than a Raw Material

An Ecosystem

Sea lions trusting that we humans are taking care of things. Photo by Josh Whiton

For too long our civilization has treated the planet as 100% raw material, 0% ecosystem.

It’s a severe misperception and a mistake that, multiplied by some seven billion people, can no longer be ignored.

As an entrepreneur I readily admit that business is especially culpable. There is perhaps no other force that has consumed so much of our natural environment while ignoring the real cost. But before we point the finger, it’s important to remember that business exists to serve consumers, which we all are. Who among us has never purchased a carelessly produced product? Let him cast the first styrofoam cup.

But never before have there been so many business leaders (and consumers) ready to lead a change. Ready to spread the message, having once realized themselves, that we are part of a living planet, that its sensitive ecosystems are our life-support system, and that biodiversity — the very substrate of evolution — is valuable and desirable and deserving of our protection.

As evidence of the change I need only look to next week when I’ll be gathering with many of these leaders at the Business & Climate Summit in London. There representatives from the business community, including dozens of Fortune 100 companies, will band together with policy makers and environmental advocates to work toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions and mitigating the climate crisis.

For my part, I’ll be advising on how modern web and mobile technology is unlocking the potential for our citizens and workforce to move about with a lower carbon footprint today. I’ll be drawing on the efforts of my company TransLoc to optimize public transit, enhance the passenger experience, and tie all modes of transit together into a seamless, low-carbon mobility network.

Many thanks to my friends at the WBCSD for the invitation and all the work they are doing to help business leaders take action.