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Be aware. Then Act.

July 21, 2023

By Nathalia Toledo

The UK has almost halved its emissions over the past three decades; the price of lithium-ion batteries fell by 97% in the last 30 years; and the amount of energy being produced globally through renewable and clean sources is rising. These are some of the good news that Oxford University Professor Peter Frankopan is keen to bring to the stage when speaking. Not without highlighting the stressful facts and data that lead the whole world to rethink its choices, though. “We need to make smart choices, to choose Earth. We are getting there, but we need to make that choice quicker, more aggressively,” he said.

The first edition of the We Choose Earth Tour gathered global thinkers, doers and artists in Madrid to raise awareness. Not only for the issues of the planet itself but for the human presence on Earth, just because “there is no us and them, there is no here and there. It is all completely interconnected,” as environmental activist and filmmaker Céline Cousteau highlighted.

“Businesses can no longer say human rights are none of their business.”

In the same direction, at one of the high points of the conference, International Law and Human Rights lawyer, activist and author Amal Clooney called on leaders to act. “My intent is to do anything I can to move the needle in the right direction, and to gather allies in governments, charities, businesses, and universities who are committed to making these ideals a reality,” she started. 

According to the president of the Clooney Foundation for Justice, the guiding principles for action should be transparency and accountability. “Businesses can no longer say human rights are none of their business. In terms of the law, we are also seeing more cases against companies responsible for human rights abuses,” Amal continued, adding that there is still a very long way to go.

“Climate change is the biggest market failure ever.” 

That’s where the good examples come in, pulled by experts from different fields who are addressing some of the global challenges, and encouraging more people to do so. 

According to Pro-Rector of NOVA University Lisbon Julia Seixas, who quoted British economist Nicholas Stern – “Climate change is the biggest market failure ever,” – companies should be more ambitious. “Our scientific community at this moment is not working on carbon neutrality anymore. We are working on a carbon-positive world,” she added.

It can be achieved by investments in nature, such as ecosystem restoration, and also by the role of the electricity sector towards the energy transition, scale-up of renewables, autonomous cities, and whatever innovation allows.

“A session to raise awareness.”

Besides the weight of initiatives to accelerate the energy transition journey and of sustainable practices shared at the conference by representatives of different business models, EDP CEO Miguel Stilwell d’Andrade emphasized the relevance of raising awareness but also of making sure that people then follow through in terms of what they can do in their everyday lives.

“It’s urgent that we actually get things done. It’s important that we take positions. And yet at the same time, many of us will walk out that door and it’ll be like we forgot about it, and we won’t really incorporate that into our lives and into the decisions that we’re taking. I think that’s the real big difficulty,” he said. “And that requires everybody to be active, to try and step up to challenges. It’s a collaborative effort,” the executive concluded.

Not by chance, Organizational Psychologist and bestselling author Adam Grant shared three practical techniques to overcome the unconscious biases that avoid people to get faster and better at thinking again – and getting things done: 1) rethinking our mindset, always going for a scientific one, where questioning is always active; 2) creating psychological safety both in personal and professional lives; and 3) getting the best ideas on the table, neither fearing nor refuting any.

“I think that’s the best chance we all have to create a better future together”, he ended.

Check out the best moments of the EDP We Choose Earth Tour here.