During our sixth Intersections of Change conversation, we showed our support for the Global TED Countdown Summit - a remarkable initiative that champions and accelerates solutions to the climate crisis, "turning ideas into action." We sought to participate in this global conversation by answering a very pressing question: The Climate is Changing, Why Aren't We?
To help facilitate this conversation, inspiring action in the process, we invited three incredible speakers who have been at the forefront of environmental activism. One such speaker is David Parry-Davies, the founder and editor of Enviropaedia, and an individual who is deeply passionate about environmental conservation.
David returned to South Africa in 1999, after hanging up his suit, leaving corporate London, and deciding to pursue his true calling: Environmental Conservation. But it was his time in the corporate world that allowed him to observe what he believes are the real environmental villains - corporates.
"It's the corporates that are really the problem in industry and manufacturing that is causing the major pollution of this planet, and they are the people that we've got to influence."
However, David has an interesting solution to hitting them where it hurts.
"Their vulnerability is their market share. Therefore, the moment you say to them: we're going to teach people to buy products from companies that care about the environment, then all of a sudden they get very interested."
While David believes that there has been a shift in awareness and knowledge thanks to organisations such as Greenpeace and WWF, it has not altered people's behaviour. He believes this is because real change is in the hands of politicians and corporations that don't have the political will or financial interest to do so.
"There has not been a change in behaviour to the scale that we needed because it's been in the wrong hands."
With so little being done by those in power, how can the poor, middle class or marginalised communities position themselves to adapt and survive the impending climate disaster?
While David states that those in power and wealth have the upper hand, there are three things that everyone can do to address climate change and influence a transformation.
- Support an Environmental Organisation:
If you're having financial trouble, you'll pay an accountant to help you. If you're having legal difficulties, you'll pay a lawyer. Therefore, if you want to save the planet and the climate, why not pay someone who knows what they're doing?
If you can afford to do so, try to contribute to an environmental organisation of your choice. If this is beyond your means, consider becoming a member.
In this way, you empower the organisation allowing them to walk straight up to a politician and say: "we represent x million people, and we feel you're not doing enough."
2. Consumer Power:
The primary interest of corporations is to make money. Therefore, if you give them a clear message that you are only willing to buy products from organisations that care about the environment, you will change their behaviour.
3. Do a lifestyle audit:
David suggests gathering tips and tricks on how to help the environment at home, work and through consumer power.
Why have we, as a population, not been able to influence climate change in a significant way?
"I don't think that we can solve climate change and our other environmental problems until such time we address the values and the thinking that drives our behaviour. It's a change of attitude that is needed... It starts with the way you think."