Ancient Egyptians painted the tombs of their 1% with images designed to keep the good times rolling for the powerful in the afterlife. There’s a joke about the art of the deal in there somewhere. But what has any of this got to do with goings on at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos?
Today the pyramids may be virtual and the art looks different but the power dynamics still favour the few. Hierarchies and greed continue to trump the interests of people and planet. Yes, yes but what about Davos though? The rich and powerful people there are talking about investing in a sustainable future, don’t you know, one that leaves nobody behind.
Just look around you, more people are living on the streets, our fellow citizens are starving, families are becoming dependant on food banks. Peek through the telescope, if you dare, and it looks much worse, a truly dystopian reality is revealed. If you don’t have a telescope, think Dante’s Inferno.
In response, promises made by world leaders are getting bigger and they sound more on point. But without immediate and effective action nothing will change the direction of travel towards an uninhabitable Earth. And remember folks, there’s no Planet B. Which takes us nicely back to the headline of the post: How to Save the Planet
The rather timely theme is one of seven occupying the minds of decision makers gathering in Davos this week. Whatever is agreed, committed to; the responsibility to ensure it is carried out will ultimately fall upon us. People power – focussed on the big ticket problems – can set us on another course. “Today lots of the success will come from communication,” Bertrand Piccard told me. This from a man who co-piloted the first ever round-the-world solar flight. A record-breaking action that demonstrated what clean technology can do.
Listen, we have a head-start here. It is not all doom and gloom. There is already enough food, for example, but too much is wasted, or not distributed properly, leaving a billion starving worldwide. And take the renewable energy transition, the tech is available to fast track that as well. We simply have to choose to take the right steps. It’s not rocket science, we’ve done that. It is the art of communication we have to master. Which means holding our elected leaders to account.
Let’s start with Davos. As the focus in Switzerland turns this week to seven themes: How to Save the Planet; Society & Future of Work; Better Business; Fairer Economies; Tech for Good; Beyond Geopolitics; and Healthy Futures; it is up to all of us to ensure promises made become promises delivered. They work for us, and we give them the remit to save the planet by saying yes to tech for good and investing in better business cultures that deliver fairer economies and a society and future of work that move beyond geopolitics and provide healthy futures for all.
Follow the livestreams from Davos for all the latest – and do your bit to master the art of communication on social media using #wef20 and unleash the impact we can all help create via mouth of word 2.0