Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Stella's world

Making change and taking action are personal. Always has been. Now I find my commitment to sustainability has gone to another level as I – like millions of grandparents before me – have seen my worldview expand dramatically with the birth of a granddaughter, Stella. Immediately the idea of long-term is not just my lifetime, or even my kids’ lifetime, but hers as well. That takes us well into this century and perhaps beyond.

Such an expanded lifeline came into focus recently when I was whacked on the head yet again by British independent scientist and well-known climate change catastrophist, James Lovelock. The 88-year-old recently declared in The Guardian, “Global warming has passed the tipping point, and catastrophe is unstoppable.” His only words of optimism? “Enjoy life while you can. Because if you’re lucky it’s going to be 20 years before it hits the fan.” OK, 20 years is not nearly enough for me and the man is famous for being provocative, so I decided to be provoked. How can I help hand on to my granddaughter the sort of world she deserves? Here is my wish for Stella’s world.

Sustainability. The new bottom-line. We all need to put back more than we take out. Through Saatchi & Saatchi S we will work with clients to make our businesses more sustainable. To move from sustainability as an obligation to seeing it as an opportunity. My optimism is charged by the idea of one person at a time. Ok, this may sound slow, but when you think of a million people inspired by a new attitude to the future and each getting out there to inspire just ten more people, a billion people committed to sustainability doesn’t seem impossible at all. Yes, our goal is one billion – Nothing is Impossible.

Time. I hope the people of Stella’s world have a new attitude to time. I’ve posted before about the Aborigine concept of the Everywhen in which the past, present and future coexist. No one loves change more than I do, but I believe that the desire for sustainability will move us, particularly the people of the developed world, toward a simpler, more focused, more harmonious life. I hope Stella has more time to dream, imagine, explore and love.

Energy. Stella’s world will be shaped by the world we live in today and one of our dominating ideas has been energy. We see energy as a limited resource. I hope Stella sees it for what it is: the fantastic quality of human beings to improve and make the world a better place to live in. Our energy can be as valued on this planet as that of polar bears and whales, but only when we act with care and attention.

Lightness. When I hold Stella in my arms, I am reminded what a light touch we have on the world when we are new to it. (I don’t want this to sound like T. Texas Tyler’s song ‘Deck of Cards’, but babies, like cards I guess, are a powerful stimulus to emotional memories). So I hope that Stella’s world will be one where people tread more lightly on the planet. As a born optimist, I believe we will be able to transform the way we live to cope with our mounting planetary problems (whatever Dr Lovelock predicts).

Love. My experience with Lovemarks over the last decade has shown me what I always believed intuitively. Humans live by their emotions. That is how we make decisions and how we run our lives, whether it’s around a family dining table or a corporation’s boardroom table. The greatest emotion is Love and because business is part of life, business needs Love. I want Stella’s world to be unembarrassed by Love in whatever form it appears and to have the confidence to reach out and embrace it.

Astonishment. I want Stella to live in a world that surprises and delights: a world that rewards curiosity, cheerfully engages with the unknown and does it all with courage. As someone once wisely said, “When all else fails, the future remains”.