Davos 2020 – Youth Activists or Businesses: Who will Save Our Planet?

We are at the brink of causing irreversible damage to our mother earth. It is costing our economy trillion dollars in damage every year. We are at the risk of destabilizing our planet. Scientists say we have roughly 10 years to change our course and avert this disaster. In this time of need, who should we turn to? To the youth activists who have made it their responsibility to change the status quo? Or to the businesses, who’s philanthropic investment can inspire the force for change?

2019 has been a year where youth climate activists like Greta Thunberg, Leah Namugerwa, Ridhima Pandey, Xiye Bastida took hold of the center stage. What has been their impact on the world? The positive news is that every day, more and more young people are getting involved and taking an interest in climate change and sustainability. At the bare minimum, this will help foster our next generation of leaders and change makers in embracing sustainability. However, the good news stops there. Despite their wide media coverage, the voices of young activists are not turning into any form of meaningful action.  Youth activist Natasha Mwansa summarized this sentiment eloquently in today’s Davos 2020 conference,

“Action is what counts. We need more actors on the ground to foster the change”.

How do we bring this change? Who can create such a revolution? I think businesses have the potential. Our Planet documentary reminded us that businesses where responsible in creating a digital, internet and mobile revolution. This has shaped the way we think and do things. If they can do it on three separate occasions, what is stopping them from doing it for sustainability?

Let us face it, businesses will have no option but to be a force for change. Why? Because business heavily depend on nature and her ecosystem services. The overuse of natural resources is costing the world $2 trillion per year and this can go up to $28 trillion per year if these trends continue. Kristin Rechberger, CEO of Dynamic Planet, said that global ecosystem provides $125 trillion dollars in free services to businesses and us. It would be illogical if we did not try and save mother nature, even if it is purely for economical reasons.

This is a great segue way to ask the title question of my blog once again. Youth Activists or Businesses: who will save our planet? I must go with youth activist Natasha Mwansa’s answer. She said that businesses and youth activists need to collaborate and co-create. Businesses have the financial investment and experience necessary to make the change happen. While youth activists have all the energy and ideas in coming up with new and innovative solution. There needs to be an alliance of movements.

Swiss Learning Exchange is in Davos this week with our mic and camera. Let us know on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn, “what do you want us to ask the people on the streets of Davos?”. As for all the latest blogs on Davos 2020, you can visit our online platform SDG Plus 

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