The SLOW LIFE Symposium
- Oct 10, 2011
I spotted @mujahidabdulla tweeted me asking if I found my visit to the Maldives for the Slow Life Symposium productive. The short answer? Yes I did! Here’s the longer answer.
Spending time in the Maldives really makes the issue of protecting our natural resources hit home. It is a chilled, beautiful place full of delightful people. But as the world warms up, water levels rise, wonderful islands like this could disappear.
President Nasheed and everyone at the Slow Life Symposium are working extremely hard to highlight the problems climate change is causing in the Maldives and around the globe. I particularly loved the Maldives government’s ingenious underwater cabinet meeting to illustrate how the islands are sinking.
There were many inspiring talks at the Slow Life Symposium, including Ed Norton who literally talked s**t. No, not like that – he discussed responsible waste management. My friend Daryl Hannah talked about the difficulties in getting across messages about global warming. She explained how people respond best to irreverent humour (see the photo below for a good example!) I have enormous respect for her, she has been talking about green issues 20 years ahead of everyone else and educates people around the world.
I spoke in the Maldives about why protecting our natural resources is one of the biggest entrepreneurial opportunities of our lifetimes. The Virgin Group and our not-for-profit foundation Virgin Unite are taking this extremely seriously.
We founded the Carbon War Room, which is creating a new global approach for building a market based solution for carbon reduction. From improving the energy efficiency of shipping, aviation, I.T, buildings and cities, we are striving to tackle carbon.
We have the technology to realise this opportunity – we now need the right government policies to put the capital in place to build a new economy, that puts people and the planet ahead of just business as usual and creates a more equitable way of life in harmony with the planet.
I also discussed my involvement in conservation projects to protect animals such as lions, rhinos, tigers, lemurs and sharks. This was very timely as we had brilliant news in the campaign to save the sharks while I was in the Maldives. Both California and the Marshall Islands have passed bills to protect sharks – hurrah!
Myself and my team at Virgin still have a long way to go, but we are committed to the path and I do believe we can make it happen. In fact, tomorrow we have a momentous announcement to make at Battersea Power Station in London with Virgin Atlantic. Stay tuned, and visit Virgin Atlantic's Change Is In The Air…
It’s important for us to stay positive in the fight against carbon and in attempting to overcome all problems. As I’ve said before – Martin Luther King did not get his message across by saying “I have a nightmare”!