‘This Spaceship Earth’, an environmental nonprofit organization that is committed to overcoming the challenges of the climate crisis, is seeking corporate partners to assist in spreading awareness of climate change, or what it calls ‘environmental consciousness’.
The organization’s name is inspired by the words of philosopher and futurist Marshall McLuhan, “There are no passengers on Spaceship Earth. We are all crew.” The organization believes that everyone on Earth has a responsibility to actively manage the finite resources on the planet, and to reestablish a balanced relationship between humanity, the planet and the ecosystems that sustain them.
This Spaceship Earth is led by David Houle, a former media executive now known as ‘The CEO’s Futurist’, Tim Rumage, a planetary ethicist, college professor and scientist, and Bob Leonard, a consultant who delivers climate risk assessments and helps businesses manage climate risks. The three have authored several books, the latest being a short e-book, titled Now That You Know, which outlines the status of our ‘spaceship’ (ie. our planet), how we got to where we are, and what individuals and companies can do to address any ecological crises.
According to Houle, one of the most effective ways to ‘awaken consciousness’ in people is to focus on corporations that have multiple stakeholders (customers, employees, suppliers and partners) who the organization can educate to become climate literate.
In May, This Spaceship Earth signed a groundbreaking partnership with Origina, a leading IBM third-party software maintenance company. The organizations are working together to confront the escalating e-waste crisis, which results in more than 50 million metric tons of e-waste generated annually. Origina, which is headquartered in Ireland, is a pioneer in the Right to Repair movement in Europe. Tomás O’Leary, founder and CEO of Origina, is a climate advocate, focusing on the problem of e-waste. He helped to set up a European non-profit to tackle this issue. O’ Leary says, “Businesses need to transform… be skeptical of business as usual. There needs to be a movement. There has to be a better way. ‘Crew consciousness’ is the shift we need.”
Houle says that This Spaceship Earth has two ironclad criteria for its corporate partners: first is that they have already taken genuine and significant actions to address the climate crisis, and second is that they allow This Spaceship Earth a free hand to continue its mission of promoting environmental consciousness, without ‘greenwashing’.
There are many things companies can do to become responsible corporate citizens, according to Houle and Leonard. Firms can review their supply chains and stop working with partners that do not align with their values. With growing awareness of environmental issues, investors are putting money into companies that they believe are doing the right thing. Companies that are environmentally responsible are much more likely to attract the best and brightest talent… especially from younger generations who are overwhelmingly concerned about the climate they will have to contend with.
“A common saying in the business world is that ‘Culture eats strategy for breakfast’,” Leonard says. “We have to change the way we live (especially those of us in the privileged first world). It doesn’t have to be painful, if we change how we think about the way we live. Corporate leaders ask me how to develop a more conscious culture. I tell them to ask their employees which environmental issues are important to them, and start with those. Keep in mind, climate touches everything, so no matter their interests or skills, they can make a meaningful contribution.”
Houle added, “Corporations provide our path to scale up to one billion members, which is our goal. We believe that getting 12% to 15% of the global population on board is enough critical mass to change belief systems… to spread ‘environmental consciousness’ around the world. These people can influence their family members, their friends, their coworkers, and other people they interact with, enabling humanity to make the radical shift needed.”