By Olivia Lyth
In one of my early meetings with a member, after asking him if he had any feedback about GAS, he told me, “there’s too much lecturing at GAS, we all know about climate change, there’s no need to keep lecturing us about it.” I sympathised with the sentiment. I also suspected it was directed at my father. No one knows better than me that Nick has a tendency to lecture. In our home his favourite lecture topics circle around how to load the dishwasher, the best way to organise books on a bookshelf and how to recycle correctly. I’m no stranger to one of his lectures and believe me the severity of the lecture bears no correlation to the importance of the subject matter. I have seen Nick explain how to load the dishwasher correctly with the same level of vehemence he uses when giving a talk on the urgent need to address climate change.
Perhaps there is too much lecturing at GAS. Certainly, lecturing is not always the most effective way to get the message across. But, without question, getting that message across remains an important task. I disagreed with the statement made by the aforementioned member on one point, I do not think we all know about Climate Change. Two years ago, I didn’t really know about climate change. Of course I knew the basics, but my understanding was vague and my engagement with it was low. It was the words of a then sixteen year old girl which changed that. In 2019 Greta Thunberg addressed the U.N.'s Climate Action Summit. She said,
People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth… For more than 30 years, the science has been crystal clear. How dare you continue to look away and come here saying that you're doing enough, when the politics and solutions needed are still nowhere in sight.
Her message was clear and urgent. It was a call to action, a demand to stop ignoring the science and for me it was a wakeup call. I started learning, I started engaging and ultimately I changed career paths to contribute to the most important challenge we face today. I tell you this, because I’m very glad that no one told Greta to stop lecturing, or rather that she ignored those that did.
But we are not activists, we are a syndicate of angel investors dedicated to fighting climate change. So how should we talk about climate change? The question is not rhetorical. I would welcome any ideas or thoughts you have. What, or perhaps who, motivated you to do something about climate change?
There is one final point I would like to address. I have been asked a few times how I ended up working at Green Angel Syndicate. The answer is of course my father. Over the years, I have watched the progress of GAS from the sidelines. When the role came up we discussed it, he thought that I was the right person for the job and I jumped at the opportunity. To work for a company that I cared about and have watched grow is a privilege, but hiring me was not without complications. It is an uncomfortable truth for me that I got the job because of my father and that is not fair for other equally talented potential candidates. But, although I got the job because of my father, I also wanted the job because of my father. This work is personal for me, in part because of Nick, which makes it all the more meaningful. The business of fighting climate change should be personal. If we get this wrong life on earth will be at best unpleasant and at worst untenable for future generations; for our children and grandchildren. We need innovation to solve the problem and we need it fast. The message remains urgent, as is the need for change. And so, back to my question, how should we talk about climate change? What can we say to have the most impact? I would love to know what you thought. If you are not a member, I invite you to engage with GAS on our LinkedIn, Twitter and blog posts. We can only accept eligible High Net Worth Individuals as members but we welcome everyone to join the conversation with us and contribute in the fight against climate change and global warming.