CEC member on panel of future leaders in business and conservation

Four young future business and conservation leaders provided personal views on biodiversity as part of the IUCN-WBCSD Business and Ecosystem Think Tank at the IUCN World Conservation Congress.

Future leaders panel at the Business and Ecosystems Think Tank at the IUCN World Conservation Congress, Jeju, 2012

CEC member Justine Braby, PhD, was invited to participate in a panel discussion featuring two future business leaders and two future conservation leaders. Peter Bakker, President of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, chaired the event in the afternoon of 8 September. He asked each panel member to briefly illustrate her/his own personal views and aspirations on biodiversity and ecosystem challenges and opportunities. The panel kicked-off a series of discussions about the major global paradigm shifts that are necessary to guide humanity within planetary boundaries, one being a shift the human value system.

Business participation at the IUCN Congress was centered on the IUCN-WBCSD Business and Economy Pavilion and the Business and Ecosystem Think Tank, an event focused on real solutions for changing pace on biodiversity and ecosystem services. In addition, over eighty other events on various themes related to business and biodiversity took place during the first four days as part of the Forum.

Statement by Justine Braby, Integrated Environmental Consultants Namibia

I believe that, while great efforts have been initiated over the years, we are still on an extremely destructive path for all of biodiversity on Earth, and this includes our own species. And this doom and gloom picture is the product of our entire system, especially in terms of economy, which has been based on valuing commodities which actually have no value, like gold, and putting absolutely no value on things that are intrinsic to our own survival – such as clean air, fresh water. As a result, this ‘undervalue’ or ’no value has completely disconnected us from nature and our dependency on it!

For instance, we add the price of a bushel of wheat harvested, but we forget to subtract the topsoil lost forever in its mass production. And we are changing too slowly to come back from the MAJOR global losses of ecosystem services and biodiversity as a result of this system. We are already getting feedback telling us that our current system is not working - peak oil, peak metal - and the end of the golden age! This seems like we are moving toward a dooms day picture if we carry on the same path.

However, there is also hope and excitement in this picture – one with many opportunities combined with the challenges. If a critical mass can understand and want to change, we can use these opportunities to move towards a very bright future in which we value human well-being over material wealth – where a successful person is not a rich person, but a happy, healthy person.

Poverty is eradicated, nature is harmonized with development, and we connect again with our roots. I don’t have the answers to get there – but I know that with like-minded people we can come up with new, brilliant, innovative ways towards this paradigm shift in our society – for the betterment of all living beings in Earth, and especially our human society. Business, in this sense, can play a key role toward finding these innovations.

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