Is climate change an inclusive leadership matter?
Submitted by Joy Emmanuel
The other day an email circulated with this question in relation to Inclusive Leadership supporting a collaborative community effort to have local government “declare a climate emergency.” Great question and an action that the co-op may want to take. I offer here a few further reflections.
As I write this blog post, I am sitting outdoors tucked into a little wooded area on the property where I live. From here, I have been enjoying getting to know some of the other local residents: a mother duck and her four chicks, the nightly chorus of frogs who sing to me from the pond, I recently met my first tree frog, occasionally I hear an owl hooting, and one day I was treated to seeing the flashing red vibrating head of a pileated woodpecker. It has been a great delight to meet these neighbours.
Some days; however, I wonder about the former residents who are no longer represented in the visible animal population in this neck of the woods. The ones who use to be plentiful but now are rarely seen. The ones who had to leave because there are no nesting sites; no food sources; few watering holes; their seasonal coat has not shed, and their fur is too warm in these hot early spring days.
Supporting this diverse neighbourhood ecosystem are all the plants and trees that provide food, shelter, homes, shade and meet so many other needs. I am also wondering how they are doing. Last summer was very dry and although we live in a rain forest, this spring we have had a very low rainfall.
Is climate change an inclusive leadership matter? The Inclusive Leadership Co-op endorses the Earth Charter. Inclusive Leadership encourages us to recognize and embrace diversity in all living beings. The Earth is our Mother. The plants and animals are All Our Relations! We are interconnected
Another IL voice adds to the email conversation: “[This concern] is not only inline with the Earth Charter but also inclusive leadership. Climate change will affect marginalized populations much harder than the 1%ers.”
There are so many inter-connections.
One of my mentors I turn to on this topic is Jane Goodall. After many years of being an advocate and voice for Mother Earth, she is often asked: Is there hope? Although she acknowledges it is sometimes hard to be optimistic, in her inspiring book Reasons for Hope, she offers four strong responses to this question:
- First, the miraculous ability of the human brain and the potential we have already demonstrated to solve so many challenges once thought impossible.
- Second, she reminds us of the amazing resilience of nature if we give her a chance – and a helping hand. She offers numerous stories of how Mother Nature can show us the way. One such example she names comes from right here in the Cowichan Valley! She refers to “a most remarkable forester, Merv Wilkonson” and his work at Wildwood Farm to sustainably manage a 136 acre forest. After “logging” it nine times it still has giant old trees and there are “more animal species there today than when he began.” Wow! So much is possible when we work with Mother Nature!
- Third, she takes the view that “hope lies in the new understanding, commitment and energy of young people around the world.” Empowering young people is her contribution to their future and the future of the planet. Inclusive Leadership also upholds this view.
- Her fourth pillar of hope is all the amazing and wonderful people “who have set out to accomplish almost impossible things, and because they never gave up, achieved their goals against seemingly hopeless odds.” I know I have certainly met more than a few inspiring people like this at our wonderful Inclusive Leadership gatherings!
Yes, climate change is an inclusive leadership matter – a concern that is deeply challenging and one that connects us all. Embracing the spirit, the skills, and awareness of inclusive leadership is a place of hope, intent and possibility. Yes, government has a role to play, and so do we all in our own little “neck of the woods” in how we live each day!
May we find our way forward together!