December 22, 2016

Creating change through positivity

Scotland’s 2050 Group’s Young Leaders Summit 2016

2020 Vice Chair, Martin Valenti, spent the afternoon with members of the the 2050 Climate Group. Martin, along with Scottish Canal’s CEO Steve Dunlop and 2020 Group Chair Elizabeth Dirth, delivered a workshop to 40+ young leaders focused on delivering positive change. Below Martin shares his thoughts from the day. 

On a sunny Saturday afternoon late November I had the honour, in my role as Vice Chair of Scotland’s 2020 Climate Group, to present at the 2050 Group’s Young Leaders Summit. The delegation of several hundred, highly energised, future sustainability leaders from across Scotland, was matched perfectly by the impressive venue. Strathclyde University’s stunning Technology Innovation Centre, which faces onto the site of what was previously the old Rottenrow Maternity hospital, has a fabulous green space for staff and students and is a welcome reminder of the progress being made across Glasgow to encourage greener lifestyles. The theme for the Summit was “Leading for the Future” and it quickly became obvious that our future is indeed in safe and competent hands.

I spoke about the need to drive change through positive messaging, rather than the all too usual, “down with that sort of thing”, project fear Armageddon scenarios. It’s no wonder people feel unable to act if all they hear about is doom and gloom. There are many successful businesses in Scotland that thrive by protecting our beautiful environment and by contributing to societal initiatives – let us showcase them instead.

I believe that to achieve real traction on tackling climate change, we need to stop creating virtual battlefields in which to present opposing views. Instead, let’s develop orchards where we can collaborate to find solutions and make them happen.  This is where I feel the 2050 movement can have its greatest impact – for all of us.  By developing a critical mass of future leaders, who focus on seeking solutions to tackling climate change, Scotland has a unique opportunity to act now to change the negative narratives – to build capacity and to empower.

For this to happen, we need to move future discussions around climate change out of compliance and risk management meetings.  Let them feature as a standing item on the agenda of all business meetings.  Let them be honest conversations, let them engage people, let them be about taking and recognising action.  Saving the planet doesn’t have to be miserable but it must demonstrate the opportunities and the benefits.

So I will end by posing a question to readers of this blog, “what do you think of when someone asks you about global warming or climate change?” If your immediate reaction is negative and fearful, then we (and you) have work to do! Get in touch with the 2050 Group and with us at Scotland’s 2020 Climate Group. Let’s work together to make a positive change in 2017!

Photo credit: Karl Hsu / 2050 Climate Group