The richest moments of my life are owed to the wonder of nature
How is it that we become connected to nature, develop and nurture eco-centric value systems and build the skill and courage to live out our lives in a way that reflects our care for the natural world?
For many of us here at TEM, our strong eco-centric values can be traced back to foundational memories and experiences in nature. Time spent in forests and oceans, quietly listening to the flourishing web of life enveloping us, or thrill seeking in the mountains or waves.
For me, it is a combination of both of these things that has formed my passion for natural environments, and I cannot deny that the richest moments in my life are owed to the splendor of nature, whether in the diverse forest ecosystems near my childhood home or drifting through the remote atolls of the Indian ocean with a zinc covered face and a surfboard under my arm.
Whilst I have been so lucky to form my nature connection and environmental value system in a world abounding in nature’s gifts, I have also observed a world under threat. Terrestrial and marine ecosystems in decline or collapsing, atmospheric carbon now exceeds 400 PPM, and people across the globe, consciously or unconsciously, experience a widening human-nature binary in our day-to-day lives. We have all, to varying degrees, seen how a separation of humans and nature is leading to issues such as climate change and biodiversity loss – often referred to as the twin crises of the twenty-first century. What does this mean for future generations of humans and their ability to connect with and thrive in nature? What does this mean for our role as corporate citizens, employees, consumers and stakeholders?
In the context of mounting threats to humanity and our economy, I have deeply reflected on these questions. The desperate need for the stabilisation of accelerating climate change has driven me to advocate solutions, not only so I can continue to experience the splendors of a healthy and diverse natural world, but so that future generations of humans can do the same. This is not just an altruistic want, it is an objectively rational need. And so, equipped with this mindset, I am committed to finding regenerative solutions to human impacts on our natural environments and overcoming the challenges in building a sustainable, zero emissions economy.
Antonio Guterres, the Secretary General of the United Nations sums up this mindset in the opening remarks of his State of the Planet address at Columbia University…
“Making peace with nature is the defining task of the 21st century… It must be top priority, for everyone, everywhere.”
I have taken Guterres’ advice to heart and found that TEM similarly adopts this mentality. Through my discovery of TEM’s work I have been able to clarify the role I can play to ensure a regenerated natural world and sustainable economy. Making peace with nature does not mean waging war on a functional economy or a thriving business. In fact, the broad economic narrative has evolved such that a functional economy and a thriving business wholly rely on a regenerated and sustained natural world.
TEM plays a crucial role in helping Australian corporates that we all interact with to continue to address the climate and nature-related impacts of their operations while continuing to evolve and thrive in a net-zero economy. They channel investment into projects that regenerate landscapes, enable Indigenous led-caring for country activities, improve social outcomes and quality of life, and build the renewable energy infrastructure that will carry us into a sustainable future. In so many ways they dissolve the human-nature binary I have referred to – not an easy task in our urbanised and digital world. Businesses that have in the past, externalised their environmental and climate impacts are now offered a simple set of solutions to internalise them, and carbon offsets are the piece of the puzzle that enables them to take immediate and impactful actions. We all stand to benefit from this work.
As the next generation of Australians go out into the world, it is my hope that the work TEM has played a part in ensuring they have the same opportunities to connect with nature, create memories and have enriching experiences in resilient and biodiverse landscapes, just as I have.
The desire of myself and the team around me to contribute to this future matches the complexity and scale of the challenges involved. It is an absolute privilege to be a part of such an organisation.