by Peter Castellas, Chief Executive Officer of the Carbon Market Institute.
My mother pinned up a poster in our bathroom that hung there for many years when we were growing up. It was a statement made in 1854 by Chief Seattle, a Native American Leader, in response to an offer by the US Government to buy a large tract of First Nations land and give them a reservation. Chief Seattle’s response was one of the most profound, poetic, beautiful statements on the environment ever made.
He eloquently argued that it is impossible to buy or sell natural resources like air, water and land because we do not own them. They are a gift. He said that every part of the earth is sacred to him and his people. Even the souls of the Native Americans do not leave their land. Instead, they make it their permanent residence. In short, the earth is not an inanimate tract of land, but a living presence to be treated with love, care, respect and fear. And when we exploit and deplete the natural resources of the earth it is “the end of living and the beginning of survival”. I read that statement many, many times. It still resonates strongly for me today.
The impact of climate change is a manifestation of the pressure we have collectively put on the natural world. The dire warnings outlined in the latest IPCC report, mean that we have reached a line in the sand moment or to use a Dr. Martin Luther King quote, the “fierce urgency of now”. However, the report also highlights that there is still a chance to seize the best-case scenario rather than surrender to the worst.
To address the problem, it requires fighting the good fight. And I am greatly encouraged and optimistic that there are many people with the skills, the experience, the desire and the courage to lead their organisations in the policy, finance, technology, market and community solutions and innovations required to bend the curve of emissions.
I say this because after 6 years at the helm of CMI as CEO, I have worked with and got to know many wonderful, committed, passionate, dedicated practitioners who are the drivers of the change we need to fuel the zeitgeist. The soldiers in the climate change army.
So, as I sign off from this awesome job, I want to thank my team, the board, our members and the supporters of CMI for fighting the good fight. There is real power and influence in our network. Let’s use it.
I look forward to staying in touch and will hopefully see many of you at our Summit in May.