Diego Horcajada, November 2017
In his book “A new Psychology for Sustainability Leadership” Steve Schein guides the reader through his exploration of the motivations of sustainability leaders. He shows how deep psychological motivations relate to the effectiveness and capacity to lead transformational change. It is a very interesting and very readable book I highly recommend to anyone willing to be comfortably provoked to think and reflect on his/her worldview. I certainly had pleasure reading it.
At the end of his book, Steve proposes an exercise to assess your own worldview and motivations towards sustainability. The tool is named the E-SWAT (Ecological Sustainability Worldview Assessment Tool).
I had very positive feelings doing this exercise, and without going into all the details, I would like to share some of the emotions and thoughts I had during the exercise.
It felt good to go back in time; I really enjoyed writing about a day when I was 5 or 6, my father brought me with him to catch octopuses from the seashore in the cliffs of Asturias (on the Northern coast of Spain). As I was too small to get close to the rough water, my father let me go in a high tide pool that was safer. I’m sure it was a very short time, but to me it was long enough to appreciate how many different types of life you can find in a tide pool. This memory is of particular relevance in my current life, because last summer my wife and I took our two kids (ages 2 and 4 years) in the tide pools of the northern Olympic National Park on the West Coast of the US; this afternoon with my family was full of beautiful emotions. I’ve always enjoyed nature in all its forms. I have practiced many outdoor “silent sports,” and I hope to continue practicing and sharing them with my kids in the near future.
With my previous job I was able to live and work in countries like the Philippines, Indonesia, India, Mexico, Dubai, Brazil, Chile and Panama. In all those places I took the opportunity to switch the tie and laptop for shorts and a backpack to visit the countryside. I saw amazingly beautiful places and people, but I’ve seen as well very ugly social and environmental realities. Thanks to the E-SWAT exercise, I was able to put into words the fact that it is not just my love and appreciation of the environment which pushed me to do this program, and to quit my job to get the maximum benefit out of it. Rather, it was also seeing poverty and environmental degradation while travelling abroad and perceiving capitalism as a vehicle (or block) for social and environmental change.
Very honestly, I have a hard time to perceive capitalism as a vehicle for social and environmental change with current financial market and the drive of the shareholder. We would need to revisit the concepts of competition and collaboration. If we were able to move from meaningless competition to purpose driven collaboration, we will be able to bring the momentum leap that is required to make the urgent change needed: Let’s compete for the greater positive impact instead of market share and investor’s love.
Many thanks for your interest.