Apr 22, 2020
Wednesday April 22nd 2020 marked the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. But in reality, every day is Earth Day. What would the world look like if we all believed that? Houdini’s CEO Eva Karlsson shares her thoughts.
Earth Day is a fantastic celebration of our beautiful planet and the myriad of life it sustains and a massive manifestation for the importance of caring for our common home. What if we would continue celebrating Earth every day, starting today? What if, every day we reminded ourselves of Earth’s magic, the little things that we so often take for granted? What if, every day we took the opportunity to care for our planet, as if life itself depends on it? Because in all meaningful ways it does.
As an entrepreneur and business leader I often wonder; How come companies take pride in making a profit, even when that profit is made at the expense of others – be it eco-systems, species or people. How come the corporate world hasn’t managed to raise its collective ambitions higher than that in these 50 years? Companies are usually the experts at raising ambitions and delivering accordingly. And the opportunities are clearly there.
As an entrepreneur and business leader I often wonder; How come companies take pride in making a profit, even when that profit is made at the expense of others – be it eco-systems, species or people
As a mother of two, I wonder; How come every parent who has the ability, isn’t spending every waking hour changing things for the better as the ice sheets continue melting, forests are being clear cut and species are going extinct? It’s our kids’ futures that are melting away, being clear cut and going extinct, too.
What if, every day we reminded ourselves of Earth’s magic, the little things that we so often take for granted?
Maybe it’s a lack of perspective of place, because the ones hurting the most are invisible to most of us, have no voice and don’t count in corporate spreadsheets. Maybe it’s the lack of connection, with the planetary breakdown being reported in graphs of ppm, meters or tons instead of in stories of wisdom, magic and beauty lost, just as solutions are more often presented in technocratic terms than in terms of what there is to gain. Maybe it’s a lack of perspective of time, as the wheels keep turning faster and faster and the fiscal year is how far we stretch our horizons, too busy to appreciate or even notice the wonders of the living world or invest for the coming decade.
No matter what, I want to share some perspective of place, connection and time that struck me when I first met Nils Faarlund, a dear Norwegian friend, mountaineer and philosopher in 2016. (Thank you dear Nils) The story he told started 50 years earlier, in the summer of 1966 under the magnificent Arctic tower Stetind, rising 1392 m out of Tysfjord near Narvik. Then and there eco-philosophers and mountaineers Arne Naess, Sigmund Kvaloey Setreng and Nils Faarlund formulated The Stetind Declaration, a beautiful statement that could have altered humanity’s perspective and course for the better. I believe it still can. I hope it will.
We have gradually come to realize;
That our way of life has fateful consequences for nature and humankind, and thus for all life on Earth. The challenges we face as individuals and as a community are not merely of an economical and technological nature. They concern our basic values and our fundamental conception of what it means to be human.
We acknowledge that;
Nature and humankind constitute a whole and share a common destiny. Nature is the home of culture. Life is like a woven fabric of relations. To live is to be dependent. The value of nature and human dignity are intrinsically linked. What we do to nature, we do to ourselves. All life is vulnerable and therefore under threat. Concern for nature implies a concern for greater justice: Our way of life affects in particular the poorest among us, indigenous peoples, and future generations.
Work to promote a renewed understanding of the relationship between nature and humankind. Strive to base our choices, both as individuals and as a community, on this understanding. Discover the joy of living in harmony with nature: There is no path to harmony with nature. Harmony with nature is the path. Humankind possesses great capacity both to create and to destroy. At this crucial point in time we will take responsibility and commit ourselves to thinking and living in a way that promotes life.
We didn’t listen and the declaration is as relevant now as it was back then. But let’s not waste another 50 years. Let today be the day and the 2020s the decade when we commit ourselves to thinking and living in a way that promotes life. I believe we can. I hope we will.
Read more on how the Stetind Declaration shapes our roadmap for the future.