Apr 22, 2022
9 mins read
Today is world health day.
This years theme is 'Our Planet, Our Health', the aim of which is to direct global attention toward the well-being of our planet and the humans living in it.
Today I found out that World Health day has been celebrated for 52 years. In that time, we have made many advances in technology, we have found ways to prolong human life on an individual scale and we have found ways to connect people across continents like never before via social media, mobile phones and face time.
Yet, 52 years later - I don't think we could be any more disconnected from the ultimate truth that humanity as we know it (and more importantly the planet which maintains it) isn't just in danger - it's already 'dying'.
Now before you pounce upon me - yes - I know we have lots of initiatives all over the world changing attitudes, and capturing pockets of energy. We have organisations using fewer resources and educating people in how to become more sustainable - but - we can't keep patting ourselves on the back for putting plasters on gaping wounds - our planet is dying at an almighty rate.
World health day is about acknowledging the health or unhealthiness of our planet and has been driving home the cause of our planets health for over half a century, yet:
52 years later - we are still polluting our planet, raping it of its resources, and in turn destroying the delicately and awe inspiring eco balance that has maintained life for so long.
52 years later - Our planet is heating at an almighty rate, melting our ice caps, raising sea levels and effecting the make up and balance of our seas
52 years later - Our soil, the bed for the life of our planet and safe harbour for the plants and trees that enable us to breathe, is eroding at such a rate that it could take over 1500 years to put back the surface soil that we have lost.
52 years later - We are seeing levels of animal extinction and challenges to entire species far greater than at any time in our history (and prehistory) - since the mass extinction of the dinosaurs.
The list could go on...
Why is this happening?
There are many reasons; the biggest one for me is apathy caused, in part, by an unwillingness to make life difficult for ourselves - even when we are faced with the death of the only planet, we know to currently, be able to sustain human life.
For me, it's incredibly heart breaking that:
52 years later - we still fly when we could 'zoom', we still drive when we could bicycle and we still use motor transport when we could walk - utilising valuable resources to manufacture our modes of transport and releasing millions of tons of pollutants into our atmosphere on an hourly basis.
Beyond this; It's incredibly heart breaking that:
52 years later - we still buy more clothes than we need, place unwanted but perfectly useable clothes and furniture into landfill and seek ever lower prices whilst also striving to purchase premium brands. Too often, we are still driving manufacturing processes to highly un- environmentally and societally friendly levels and creating 'stuff' which we really don't need. (Please note: I know there are some awesome folk - like our friends @rapanui and @teemill in freshwater and the @ellenmacarthurfoundation in Cowes who are driving initiatives to help drive a circular economy)
On top of the above, it must be noted that:
52 years later - we are now farming at a rate which is unsustainable, remove plants, trees and habitats to feed our ever growing population - through meat and dairy production - at a time when science proves that the choices we are making are damaging our planet and our own bodies - which are in turn crippling our beloved national health service. All of this whilst failing to pay farmers what they need to farm in the most sustainable and ethical ways.
It's not just on land either:
52 years later - we are still stripping our seas of life - destroying the delicate balance of our oceans, damaging natures food chain and alongside global warming, destroying our coral reefs and many species with it.
It's also taking place beneath the surface:
52 years later - we are still relying on fossil fuels and non renewable energy sources at a rate which destroys our planets eco system, and pumps billions of litres of toxic pollutants into our atmosphere. In addition 'newer' methods including fracking and nuclear power stations means that we are swapping one potential disaster for another and creating yet more ways to intoxicate our beautiful world.
I know this is bleak.
I know this is bleak and as a coach, despite so called wisdom to the contrary, sometimes we do need to look 'at the crap that sits in the bottom of the bucket' that no one wants to look through.
In order to create change we need to disturb and provoke thought. Put simply, if you want our planet to remain habitable we need to do more. And we need to stand up, speak out and lobby the powers that be, to a far greater degree than we have been. In many cases, we just need to start shouting, even a whisper would be a step forward.
There are many in my network who have reached the point in their lives at which they are starting to think about legacy.
Simply put, I believe that there can be no greater legacy than leaving behind this planet in a better position than it's in now; forget share holder happiness, MBE's and OBE's, citations and plaques - let a positive future for our planet and all of its inhabitants be your legacy.
After all, your grandchildren and their grandchildren should be able to see and experience what you've be able to experience in your life. And if you want that - you need to act now.
We may be too late.
We have to acknowledge that we could be too late; but that doesn't mean we shouldn't try or at least use our influence and resources to slow or lessen the impact.
If nothing else, we must save what we have left and plan and prepare for the challenges that lie ahead of us.
In the 52 years that have passed since the first world health day - I'm not aware of any workable plan to re-home the billions of people that WILL be made homeless by, now inevitable, rising sea levels.
In the 52 years that have passed since the first world health day - I know of no globalised, continental or country wide plan to feed our burgeoning populations in the face of a lack of land to feed ourselves; nor the building of bio-domes to grow food in a safe environment, rather than a polluted heat crippled atmosphere - which will choke us and our crops - let alone the grain and cereals that we are feeding our livestock in immense proportions.
And on top of this...
In the 52 years that have passed since the first world health day - I have not seen a determined effort or plan to truly create a global alternative energy platform which doesn't rely on toxic ingredients or which has sufficient storage capabilities to capture and store the renewable energy we will need to rely upon once our fossil fuels have run out and we acknowledge that nuclear power too is untenable.
A call to my network.
You, my wonderful network have significant influence and work, for, and with those whom have significant influence.
Business Leaders, HR gurus, Heads of, Learning and development specialists and passionate coaches, managers and hard working team members whom I know have access to more than we always acknowledge - I'd like you to use what remains of today and the beginning of next week to look ahead and ask yourself and those around you three questions:
What are we doing as an organisation to improve the health of our planet?
What are we doing to lobby our industry to improve the health of our planet
What are we doing to lobby our government and governing bodies to do more to improve the health of our planet
We simply don't have another 52 years before we have a proper plan of action. And I need you to act upon those three questions and really begin to leverage all of your influence for the greatest purpose in life; to save life.
What am I doing?
Apart from the deeper reflection I've made over the past year and my move to eating a vegan diet - I'm currently in the process of shifting the focus of my business such that the purpose and mission of my coaching will be "to help great people do great things".
In this guise I am delighted to say that I am already working with those who have influence over our farming, ESG policy in large corporates here and in wider Europe and with a coachee, for example whom is determined to deliver sustainable dwellings for the future.
My intent going forward is to leverage my skills and experience to help those who have the ambition to do more great work - the type which truly does impact the whole of society.
my challenge is to have the bravery to lay and walk along that path from now on.
My challenge to you
My challenge to you, for the sake of my children, their families and yours, is to grasp the three questions I shared above and create a platform to ask them widely; including your heads of, CEO's, boards and shareholders.
Finally, let me leave you with a quote
We don't have another 52 years; now is the time to have the courage to ask for what we need.
Do you have the courage to ask?
Executive Coach - Helping great people do great things