We live in a world where most people act after its too late. We look at the mental health of a teenager compelled to shoot kindergarteners after the tragedy. We vow to help a country struggling with disease after millions have died and the disease spreads closer to home.
Upon reading the much anticipated Papal Encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si', I found myself immediately looking for ways to get it into the hands of the CEOs I know. As I see it, the Pope's messages for business leaders are as follows.
While the fires in Indonesia might seem far away for many people, they are everyone's problem. Many of the blazes are on deep peat lands, producing huge plumes of smoke and large amounts of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that are stoking climate change.
Serendipity does sometimes smile upon me, and it did a few months ago when I was on a tossing, rolling tin motorboat on the roiling South Pacific off the Austral island of Rurutu in French Polynesia, looking for whales.
With less than 30 animals left in Borneo and an estimated 80 animals in Sumatra, the Sumatran rhino should be a constant reminder to all consumers of the devastating effect industrial palm oil plantations have on wildlife.
The main culprit in the catastrophe facing orangutans is palm oil, a widely used cheap additive found in everything from food products to biofuels. Indeed, estimates say palm oil is now in more than 50 percent of all consumer goods.
In the Olympics of forest defense, protection of natural rainforests from destruction by the companies feeding voracious markets is what will make the difference between a gold medal and unimaginable loss... and optimistic it may be, but I'm putting my money on a win.