Je Suis Earth

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Happy Earth Month to all of you! While we of course want to prioritize our amazing planet every day of the year, a designated time to celebrate and commit gives us a welcome chance to reflect and refocus. This year as Earth Day approaches, I find myself thinking about the power and potential of the 1% for the Planet global network. I was in Paris last December about 3 weeks after the Bataclan attacks, and just last month I traveled from Amsterdam to Paris via Brussels, only days before the Brussels bombings. I also happened to run the Boston Marathon in 2013, the year of the bombings at the finish line. In all cases, I was - and remain - struck by both the fragility and resilience of life and community. The fragility is felt as an initial and profound moment of distilled awareness of the impermanence and grace of life, experienced by many when unexpected tragedies occur on shared ground. These experiences are at once deeply frightening and destabilizing, and also revealing about what we are made of. I am also struck by the ways in which people come together with strength, vision, and hope despite the difficult mix of emotions stirred up by these devastating events.

This resilience and clear-eyed sense that we must come together in the face of what is hard and sad and unfair is powerful, and is the same sensibility we need to address the complex issues facing the planet. "Je suis Charlie Hedbo, je suis Bataclan, je suis Brussels... Pakistan... Turkey...and - just now - Kabul" say it all. When it comes to humanity and to the planet, we are all in it together. For me, it creates a sense of positive obligation to engage and act, as well as a sense of urgency to rebound, to recreate.

1% for the Planet is seeking to recreate the way global business can drive positive change for the planet. Our member companies commit to investing directly in vetted environmental nonprofits. We advise and support member businesses in developing nonprofit partnerships and provide a credible 3rd party certification for their giving. Our model funds critical on-the-ground work while propelling a powerful story of combined impact created when the for-profit and nonprofit sectors work together. We also increasingly engage individuals as consumers and donors, providing enormous opportunity to translate collective action into a healthier planet. To date, 1% for the Planet has certified more than $145 million in giving to environmental nonprofits and initiatives like cleaner water, more sustainable agriculture, habitat conservation, and the protection of critically threatened and endangered species.

I've been fortunate to spend a fair bit of time in a canoe, paddling various waterways from the Colorado River to the Allagash. And while I never studied fluid dynamics formally, I have developed a solid experiential understanding of how flows work through my experiences on the water. Every kid that's ever spent a timeless afternoon digging a channel system for a sand castle gets it: When small streams come together they get stronger and faster and more forcefully directional. When diverse streams come together, they combine characteristics and become an entirely new stream, incorporating the best of both. This same dynamic can happen for people, for ideas, for movements.

In that spirit, our work at 1% for the Planet is to create the confluences and trusted conduits that generate unstoppable velocity forward and beauty of action beyond what any of us could imagine on our own. What I and so many of our network members strive to bring to bear, is that 1% for the Planet becomes a movement of companies, nonprofits, and individuals who join together across traditional boundaries to create solutions and generate innovative momentum on a positive path forward. In a world where terrorism - and species extinction and climate change and, unfortunately, the list goes on - are no longer just theoretical, our ability to make strong commitments to a healthy future planet is not only a critical expression of hope and resilience, it is at the core of how we must come to inhabit the planet that sustains all life, all economy, all politics. We are earth, and we must become all together for our planet.