Calling women in business – help cool the Earth this festive season!
By Clare Dubois
This is a call to the part of you that loves this world, that knows that all is far from well, and that is searching for a way to make more of a relevant, meaningful, difference. Yes, Christmas is supposed to be a magical break. As nature rests, we too are invited to slow down and renew ourselves before another frantic year. But too often Christmas is also frantic, not just for ourselves as we answer the countless needs and expectations of our culture and our families, but also for the planet.
How many of us consider giving back to the one who gives us everything, at Christmas? How many of us are allowing ourselves to truly take on board the immensity of both the challenge and invitation of climate change, and acting appropriately. What would appropriate even look like? What if it looked like women in business making choices that quite literally changed the face of our world?
Why not? We have everything to lose now, so if there was ever a time for gutsy, radical leadership that redefined business as a force for good on behalf of the planet, it’s now. As the UN’s recent Emissions Gap Report calls for drastic action to slow climate change to prevent impending environmental meltdown, I am calling for a revolution on behalf of Nature.
A revolution on behalf of Nature requires a powerful revolution in the way we think and behave. It requires a preparedness to let go of a version of self, a set of unexamined assumptions and countless expectations that have defined what it means to be human within the consumption based phase of our existence that we are about to see transform.
As we enter the heart of the festive season, with all its beauty and all its consuming, I am inviting women in business to consider making a radical shift of orientation away from an unconscious consumer mindset to an attitude of generous giving back, to help restore, stabilise and care for the fragile global ecosystem of Earth upon which we all depend.
As a company of any size, you can help lead the paradigm shift towards a humanity that recognises itself through its own conscious restoration of the natural world. It’s just a choice away. It’s a choice to wake up, to recognise that business as usual is over and to become a leader of the new.
How? Embed ecological restoration into the heart of your company and grow your own forest. Wide-scale reforestation has been endorsed by many leading scientists worldwide as the most effective way to tackle the climate crisis. We are all warming our world and watching climate chaos unfold as if we are helpless, and we’re not. Trees are nature’s own cooling and hydration mechanisms, and they are something that every single one of us has the capacity to give back to the Earth.
TreeSisters, the women-led reforestation charity I founded in 2012, has just launched a new digital Grow Your Own Forest campaign, providing a simple way for companies and organisations all around the world to become part of the solution. Because if business doesn’t start restoring the natural world, then it doesn’t have a viable future.
But what if the business world decides to get real and radical? Every business warms our world, now what if collective responsibility for cooling it down was also driven by business? That is the invitation of TreeSisters. It’s a corner that the world is going to turn whether it wants to or not. Now what if you positioned yourself at the front of that curve and led by example?
I see businesses becoming massive educators and leaders in cultural transformation that drives ecological restoration, as you begin to see your customer bases through new eyes and create shared restorative goals together. How many trees could you plant if you included and inspired your whole network of potential reach and impact, and turned significantly more of your profit towards a habitable future for today’s children?
When you Grow Your Own Forest with TreeSisters, you’re making a powerful choice to restore groundwater, protect endangered species, reduce poverty, and sequester carbon to help cool our world. You’ll be restoring forest in Kenya, Cameroon, Brazil, Mozambique, Madagascar, India and Nepal. Making this choice values the children of every species and the climate they will inherit. It says ‘I care’.
When you donate to TreeSisters, our donation system converts your donations into numbers of trees planted, so that you can track the scale of your impact whilst discovering fascinating facts about the projects you’re supporting. When you share your forest on social media, your customers and followers can donate too and help grow your forest, extending your impact. Companies can also choose to donate trees every time a product or service is sold, or make a donation as a percentage of sales or profits through TreeSisters’ partnerships programmes.
This kind of action for the global forest is more important that I even have words for. Our world is fast approaching 500ppm of atmospheric carbon dioxide, when the safest higher level was considered 350ppm. Despite increasing recognition that wide scale reforestation uses nature’s own mechanisms to lock down carbon and stabilise climate, rates of deforestation are increasing, meaning excess CO2 is now acidifying our oceans leaving 80% of coral dead or dying. Literally thousands of species are now going extinct every year.
The world we all grew up in is gone forever, and the behaviours we normalised to create this unthinkable loss need to also become a thing of the past. We need to create a new normal, and that means ‘we’. All of us. No one left out. It’s hugely exciting actually. We get to recognise that the time of taking from Nature without thought for consequence belongs to a past that our children no longer have time for. That no amount of company profit is worth making at the expense of our children and that wealth knowingly created through the destruction of ecosystems was a privilege that now asks for a debt to be repaid back to life.
This is it, right here, the moment of truth. Who are you going to be within this moment? The follower or the leader? The one that dares to say it like it is and stand for right action, wild generosity and a different kind of company, or one that stays faithful to the old? I know which one I am choosing, and which one I lay at your feet. Please. For this world that we have utterly taken for granted and are now losing faster than anyone thought possible, stand up and lead.
Your business could cultivate the fast-growing tropical forest that sequesters carbon three times faster than temperate forest and the Mangroves that sequester another 30% on top of that. Without tropical forest we will lose our temperate climate, and we are losing them at unthinkable rates, so this is something we all need to do and fast.
Think about how it would feel to know that you could unify your team, or your customer base, around a shared goal of a million trees, or of even greater measurable ecological restoration in the face of climate change. Think about the fear, denial and impotence that is in full force, and the opportunity to offer a path that is the opposite. Real hope in action.
Think about the level of leadership that you could bring to your sector when you make a real, generous and appropriate gesture back to the planet on behalf of everyone. Not the least you could do to look good, but the most you could do to really do good, inspiring others to do the same. Wouldn’t that be a profound relief for everyone?
TreeSisters wants to help create a transformation within business culture, where ecological restoration becomes as fundamental to doing business as consumption currently is. When you join Grow Your Own Forest, you are helping to create a new normal. By giving back to Nature, you create a living legacy that begins right now. We should be looking back 10 years from now, astonished at what we achieved together and marvelling at the fact that it was ever normal to take from Nature without giving back!
About the author
Founding CEO of TreeSisters, Clare Dubois is an Earth-loving social entrepreneur known for her direct, catalytic energy, her whole systems approach to behaviour change, and her unending loyalty and love for the natural world. Join TreeSisters’ ‘Grow Your Own Forest’ campaign and your business can fund tree planting across the tropics in diverse forest environments, including mangroves, rainforests, dry deciduous forest, agroforestry and more. To find out how you can contribute to restoring and protecting the global tropical forests, visit: www.treesisters.org