In the last months I have moderated a number of conferences about sustainability and climate change. All well organized and well planned with participants from a number of countries. All with the aim to contribute to increased knowledge, consciousness and collaboration between different stakeholders.
From the first conference I left with a sense of sadness. I was shaken and scared by the figures presented by the fantastic keynote speaker Chrisna du Plessis from South Africa. Her speech was nothing else but a punch in the stomach. When coming back up on stage, I realized I was close to tears, one of the few occasions in my more than 15 years of moderating. Strangely enough, I also felt a relief, because when the message is so clear there is nothing left but to act is there? We all have to change and do what we can to at least milden the catastrophe that we are envisaging if we continue to do nothing.
From the next conference I left with a smile. I left with hope. To moderate Northern Connections Living Lab GBG and hear companies from all Europe pitch their products and services aiming at building Sweden’s (and possibly the western world’s) first fossil free preschool was a joy!
The symbolic jump for hope that keynote speaker Birgitta Goven from the Swedish Construction Federation and I made the audience do, became more than a symbol. It became power, decisiveness and a clear vision for the future.
In my world, we need both these feelings; both the one telling us we are running late if we want to stay on this planet a bit longer and the hopeful one saying “we have it in our hands and I can contribute”. It is when we combine the acceptance that things really need to change with the innovative and concrete ideas emerging from innovative collaboration that we become proactive. Real collaboration between all kind of stakeholders – which includes listening to other perspectives and new ideas and brave people that invest time and money in businesses contributing to transformation.