You might know that COP stands for Conference of The Parties. The parties are nations who met to sign a treaty that was ratified in 1994.
From the UN website: “For nearly three decades the UN has been bringing together almost every country on earth for global climate summits – called COPs. “
To be exact, “almost three decades” is twenty-six years. Thus, COP26.
In twenty-six years, “climate concern” has risen like the seas to “climate crisis.” And again, the UN and its assembled leaders have confused cause and effect. And, thus, are failing to get ahead of this challenge.
Severe storms; Ocean acidification; Shrinking arctic ice; Rising sea levels; Uninhabitable temperatures; Drought; Air Pollution.
The cause of these issues has been hiding much further up the rusty river than the “climate crisis” in front of us. That cause is what is sometimes referred to as short-termism in leadership – essentially, leadership that gives priority to short term gains over long term results.
The crisis is leadership
The climate is in crisis. The crisis is leadership, particularly the first principle of ethical leadership: balancing profit with public purpose.
Remove “ethical” from “leadership” and we are left with profit motives that disregard the greater good, short-term profit that drives the twenty-six year downward spiral we are seeing in the effort to address climate change.
The urgency of the climate crisis is inextricable from the urgency of the leadership crisis. Seeing the relationship is the first step to sustainable solutions.
If you would like to join a conversation between educators invested in leveraging the synergy between the climate crisis and educating the next generation, you are invited to join Shoulder-to-Shoulder’s Ethical Leadership Lab this Thursday, November 18th, between 4pm and 5:15 pm MST. Session title: Partnering with Planet & People as Ethical Leaders. Please email Bob at [email protected] for links to preparatory documents and the session.