Opinion
Nature and Biodiversity

A green transition is urgently needed. Here's how we can fuel it

A poster depicting "Planet Earth First" with the globe in a heart shape, outside: A love for life can fuel the green transition.

A love for life can fuel the green transition. Image: Unsplash/Photo Boards

Chavalit Frederick Tsao
Chairman, TPC (Tsao Pao Chee) Group
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Climate and Nature

This article is part of: Centre for Nature and Climate
  • Climate change is a global crisis where more than half of the world’s total gross domestic product is moderately or highly dependent on nature.
  • Understanding the urgency of the green transition is paramount for global leaders, particularly corporate executives, as they wield significant influence over environmental sustainability and future well-being.
  • Nurturing love for life is paramount as it will fuel intrinsic motivation and courage for meaningful action and foster a collective commitment to sustainable practices.

The urgent need to address climate change and accelerate a green transition is imperative for our shared future, as indicated by the World Economic Forum’s New Nature Economy report, which stated approximately $44 trillion of economic value generation – more than half of the world’s total gross domestic product – is moderately or highly dependent on nature.

As a holistic system, we bear direct responsibility for the degradation of the natural world. As a recent Giving to Amplify Earth Action and Agora discussion at the Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland, emphasized, a nature-based solution is critical.

In my opinion, considering the systemic nature of our world and the intricate interplay of ecological systems, it seems plausible that by addressing a major environmental challenge such as climate change, nature may autonomously devise solutions for other interconnected issues.

Global leaders, especially chief executive officers (CEOs) and other corporate executives must appreciate the urgency of this green transition. However, we must also attend to our motivation and courage to act and contribute to the cause. Love for life is the impetus to act and impact a sustainable green transition.

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The green transition’s missing motivation

Global temperatures will likely reach 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels between 2030 and 2052 if they continue to increase at the current rate, causing extreme and irreversible climate effects. This impact is not a concern for future generations alone but an urgent call for immediate action – a collective commitment to coordinated, systemic action.

Climate-related conversations and movements are occurring at various levels and locations; however, discussions around the motivation behind the green transition are absent. By omitting this discourse, we risk greenwashing and depriving the transition of the attention it truly deserves.

I offer the analogy of the car and its driver. Policies, processes and technology are crucial but are tools much like a car’s components. No matter how good the vehicle, its performance is ultimately in the hands of the driver, who chooses how to act – when to engage the accelerator and navigate the journey.

What propels the driver to speed into the uncharted future and what fuels their courage? In this analogy, finance is the fuel that propels the vehicle, while the driver’s motivation is analogous to love. The resultant outcome, akin to the vehicle’s trajectory, is contingent upon the quality of leadership exhibited in navigating towards sustainable change.

A catalyst for change

Recent developments in quantum science brought about a paradigm shift that bridges the materialism of the external system with the spirituality of our internal world and marks a significant departure from conventional perspectives. A journey into our internal world will shift how we see the world and what meaning we give it – opening up new possibilities and choices available to us.

When we make different choices, we have new experiences, which spark a shift of consciousness. As we find coherence between the two systems, the “I” becomes inseparable from the “we,” activating love from the inside and allowing us to care for the outer world naturally.

It is in our nature to love and when we see that the essence of everything is connected, we naturally seek connection and alignment. Essentially, we are relational creatures and when we discover our true nature, all of our actions will be informed by love and care, helping us contribute to solving the shared challenges of humanity. This is the green transition. Without love, there can be no care and without care, there will be no connection and insufficient motivation to act to add value to the world.

Love is the core of well-being and the fuel for courage and leadership. It is important to instil awareness within our institutions, where the drive falls on the shoulders of their leadership, to step up to be CEOs of love.

Philanthropy is another expression of love. The word “philanthropy” comes from the Greek “philanthropia,” which means “love of humankind.” Philanthropy is not an institution or a cause for momentary gratification; it is a culture, a way of living or a lifestyle. It is a commitment to living with compassion – a form of love in action. The time for transformative change is now and we can contribute by embracing love as the driving force for a greener, more sustainable world.

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Re-evaluating food systems

Jane Goodall’s closing session at Davos 2024 was profoundly impactful, setting the stage for the discourse that followed. There is a tangible action we can individually undertake to add value to a collective commitment – a transformative step toward a healthier future for us and the planet: promoting plant-based eating and re-evaluating our food system.

One noteworthy initiative is the adoption of a predominantly plant-based diet. Research indicates that shifting to a plant-based diet can have significant environmental benefits, including a 49% reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions associated with meat and dairy production in agriculture. Additionally, this transition can mitigate biodiversity loss, with animal agriculture being a major driver of deforestation and species extinction, promising a more sustainable future for global food security.

The step towards a plant-based diet is practical and accessible to everyone, relatively minor for the individual yet huge for humanity and nature, marking a pivotal contribution to personal well-being and the broader health of our Earth.

The call to action is clear – demonstrating a holistic and systemic approach rooted in love for life is essential for accelerating the green transition. We need to disseminate this awareness to institutions and households. Recognizing the interconnected elements, embracing the quantum reality and acknowledging the role of internal motivation is pivotal.

It is time to start acting to truly make an impact and for actionable leadership to take hold. And the time is now.

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The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

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