‘The Essential Kitchen’ with Kevin Henry: My Lunch with Arnold

I was invited to attend a luncheon last week with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, former Prime Minister Tony Blair and Author of “The World is Hot, Crowded and Flat” Thomas Friedman.  I have been involved with environmental issues for over 30 years, ever since my first Earth Day rally in 1974, but this event was on an entirely different plane than I have ever been associated with before.

I realized that the revolution had moved to a new level…it wasn’t about fighting the machine…this was the machine.  The event was attended by Governors of other states, UN delegates, international media, scientists and engineers, non-profit organizations and corporate leaders…this wasn’t your tofu eating, long hair, Birkenstock wearing radicals…this was people from all walks of life, from around the world, multi-cultural, trans-generational and across all economic boundaries.  All on the same page regarding Climate Change with no finger-wagging or blame assignment.  They were there for one purpose…to find solutions to a problem of global proportions.

This luncheon was part of larger conference, the 2nd Annual Governors Conference on Climate Change, the Road to Copenhagen.  A week of speeches, presentations and workshops all centered on Climate Change and what governments, organizations and corporations can do to be involved.

With all these powerful people, government bodies and organizations, the message I walked away with from my lunch with the Govenor was a simple one…”that it is the individual who holds the power to make a difference”…by the choices we make and the actions we take, we can alter the course of life on this planet, now and for generations to come.

The leaders wrapped up their three-day summit in Los Angeles by signing several declarations and statements, including pledging to pursue cleaner transportation alternatives, to work together to stop de-forestation and to contribute towards low-carbon development in developing nations.

I left the conference re-born with a new vigor as well as a new commitment towards the future.  No matter what the talking heads on TV may say, it was clear that Climate Change is real and that a clear path on both a local as well as global level has been defined and that through our individual actions we can make a difference.  I was quoted in 1974, while attending Earth Day as saying, “The future is deeply rooted in the actions we take today”, that challenge has never been truer, I only hope that we move a little faster than the 30 years that have brought us to this point today.

(Writer, speaker as well as a green activist, Kevin M Henry is President of Group42, a consultancy specializing in Strategic Brand Management.  Kevin can be reached at kmhenry@group42.net or follow his blog at  www.theessentialkitchen.blogspot.com)