8 Dec 2006

Environmental leadership for free

You and I have less need to fly than say a working class mother who has promised her kids a holiday in the sun.

We must strive to solve the crisis on this planet with clear thinking and practical action but if you want my advice I am online like all good greens who don't fly.



Dear Larissa,

Anyone sincere environmentalist would discourage you from flying around the world, it is wrong for greens to fly around the global emitting greenhouse gases and driving demand for runways that slice through wildlife habitats, while telling the rest of humanity to fly less!

I have decided not to fly while I am a Green Party speaker and I hope you will do the same, somewhere someone will need to fly to visit an elderly mother in Marrakesh or to help refugees after a tornado.

You and I have less need to fly than say a working class mother who has promised her kids a holiday in the sun.

We must strive to solve the crisis on this planet with clear thinking and practical action but if you want my advice I am online like all good greens who don't fly.

best wishes,

Derek Wall,
Green Party of England and Wales male principal speaker

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> Dear Derek Wall
>
>I am writing to ask if I may interview you so that you can be featured in a book I am writing on environmental leadership.
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>I am the founder and director of Australia’s top environmental leadership program, Future Sustainability Leaders. I have recently received a scholarship to conduct a world study tour of environmental leadership. Through this study tour I aim to inspire and improve the quality of leadership amongst the next generation of environmental leaders.
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>I am young, passionate and knowledgeable about environmental solutions, but like so many of my peers, I am struggling with the question of how to enact these solutions in our current world. This is an example of one of the many questions I aim to answer by interviewing the world’s greatest environmental leaders. I will subsequently be writing a book and a producing a documentary aimed at paving the way for young people who have a vision for a sustainable world, but who don’t know how to enact the vision in our current social, economic and political reality. I believe this book will be the first of its kind and is desperately needed.
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>I have identified you as one of the world’s greatest environmental leaders and it would be a great honor if you would allow me to interview you. I know your stories and experience will inspire, empower and build the capacity of all those who want to make the world a more sustainable place.
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>Next year my organisation will be creating a free online comprehensive sustainability leadership training program for young people across the globe. As well as training in specific leadership skills it will give trainees access to video interviews with the world’s best sustainability leaders. If you would allow me to, I would also like to record my interview with you on video for this purpose. If you prefer, the interview will not taped.
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>My research is taking me to 30 cities across five continents and my full schedule can be found here . Below is my schedule for the Europe leg of my trip.
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>Geneva, Switzerland 4th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th January 2007
>Paris, France 12th, 15th, 16th January 2007
>Amsterdam, Holland 17th, 18th January 2007
>Stockholm, Sweden 22nd, 23rd January 2007
>Moscow, Russia 25th, 26th, 29th, 30th January 2007
>Budapest, Hungary 1st, 2nd February, 2007
>Istanbul, Turkey 5th, 6th, February 2007
>London, UK 9th, 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th February
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>I hope that our paths with cross and we can make a time to meet. The interview would take around one and a half hours. The opportunity to speak with you would have a substantial impact on my work of improving environmental leadership.
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>Also I would love to know who you think are the greatest environmental leaders driving sustainability in your city and any other cities I am visiting.
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>I look forward to meeting you in person.
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>Regards,
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>Larissa Brown
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>--
>-------------------------------------
>Larissa Brown
>Executive Director
>Center for Sustainbility Leadership
>PO BOX 316, Torquay 3228, Australia


>
>Please consider the environment before printing this email.

1 comment:

John Gandhi said...

This is an interesting topic but I think you may be condemning the wrong person in this case. I know Larissa and her work well and I feel I need to clarify a few points.

The travel that Larissa does is carbon offset through investment in renewable energy. This means that she pays for someone else to have renewable energy for his or her electricity consumption, equivalent of the amount of green house gases produced from her flights. As part of her research Larissa chose to travel around the whole of Europe and UK by train to reduce her carbon footprint, including travel over long distances such as Stockholm to Budapest (24hrs) and Budapest to Istanbul (32 hours). From the inception of Larissa creating her environmental NGO in Australia it has been carbon neural, encouraging other to follow suit. On a personal footprint level she does not drive, her electricity comes from renewable energy and she works tirelessly to create a more sustainable world.

Whist it is important to reduce the amount of flights taken, it is also important to weigh up the relative ‘sustainability’ value of each action we take. Every action we take as humans will effect our environment, as environmentalist we hope the net benefit of our work will be larger than the resources we use to create our work. I strongly believe this to be the case with Larissa’s work, as her free sustainability leadership training for young people around the world has real potential to substantially strengthen the global movement. By travelling around the world she is giving a voice to environmental leaders who are not normally recognised or heard in our Eurocentric environmental movement, which in turn strengthens us though diversity.

I applaud your decision to not take flights - and living in the UK/Europe you are lucky to have such an efficient rail network - but it that sort of self-righteousness of telling others how to live that turns people off, and weakens us as an environmental movement.