Recently, I had set off on an attempt to climb Mt Blanc, the tallest mountain in Europe, to raise awareness about glaciers receding and water scarcity in the UAE. On a tight schedule, I had planned just a window of opportunity for my climb. The date was set: July 21st at 1am.
A week before my scheduled climb, just as I was all prepped up and ready to embark on an exciting mission, a major avalanche took the life of 9 mountaineers away in less than few seconds… Gets you thinking: on life and its unpredictable events, on nature and its supremacy, on our responsibility towards ourselves and others as citizens of this world.
And what have I learned?
My guide, speaking in the name of his colleagues, brought up this fact: as divers, we all have a logbook that tracks our achievements and allows us to dive deeper. As mountaineers, all we have is a conscious to act responsibly. To assess our environment, its condition, before we take for granted a “successful summit”.
What does summitting mean anyway? How many times have we experienced our own summits, pushed the boundaries and looked back saying “I did it”. Why do we lose track of it when it comes to mountaineering and focus on A specific summit?
Again, my guide mentioned that the current summer weather made them lose “a lot of business” by not being able to take their clients up to Mt Blanc. Is this what mountaineering drills down to? “A business”…?
What was initially a hobby, a challenge in communion with nature, has become a trophy to exhibit. Where is the social responsibility here?
In the new trend of business, we talk about “ethical business”. How ethical is it to force the law of nature…
Was I disappointed?
Not even close to it. I met a famous glaciologist and talked at length about the receding of glaciers. Clearly, our comfortable lives are impacting this phenomenon. Yes I did offset my trip by buying carbon credits, and this made me feel good… the time of the transaction. Then you think. It is beyond offsetting carbon credits. It is about my own audit. How do I consume energy? What do I really do to contribute and make a difference? Yes I reduce, reuse and recycle, use eco products, am changing my car to a hybrid, use my feet more than my wheels. And I am going out there, arguing in favor of renewable energy, looking at ways how we, as normal, plain citizens, can change our habits to contribute to a social conscious and awareness.
Change starts at your doorstep, in your garden, in your mind and heart. What I had known before leaving to Mt Blanc only got reinforced as I got back: Corporate Social Responsibility is not only the business of corporations, it is written in every citizens’ responsibility towards his environment, society, children, present and future.
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