Sustainable voices

Charles Gifford Post

Ecologist, co-founder of The Nature Project

Who, What, Where?

What makes Charles Gifford Post, environmentalist, co-founder of The Nature Project and EcoBrand Consultant at Department of Integrative Biology at Berkeley College and University, climate positive about the future?

What was your a-ha moment that made you become engaged in sustainability?

When I was young, a salmon stream flowed just beyond the fence of my childhood home. By the time I was in high school, that creek had witnessed its last wild salmon. For thousands of years, wild salmon had migrated upstream to spawn, and yet once the stream was dammed and covered in cement to move storm waters to the sea, the entire ecosystem collapsed. I watched this with my own eyes. It taught me a powerful lesson: we humans have the ability to save nature or fuel its demise.

What is your single best tip for someone who wants to do more for the environment on a personal level?

Be a student. To be environmentally aware, you must continue to learn. Study your lifestyle; understand how your daily habits have impact (good or bad); learn about ecology, and where we fit into these complex and rapidly changing ecosystems. Ask questions, and seek knowledge. One of the shortcomings of the environmental movement is the effect of misinformation or a lack of good information on the collective awareness and mindset. By being a student of nature, informed by science, you can build bridges between what we know about nature, and how we, as individuals and communities, can impact it for good.

What do you think will be the legacy of your generation?

Did we step up and save our planet, or let it cascade into decline. Our generation holds the power to define the future of Earth.

What is the most critical technological breakthrough that needs to happen for the world to reach the 1,5 degree goal?

The top 30% of affluent peoples in the world, and the nations that they (we) reside, must hold themselves, their governments and big business accountable. Many people blame global population growth as the culprit, but in reality it’s the top wealthiest nations that are driving Earth to the brink. We use and demand resources at an increasingly unsustainable rate. And yet, we have the awareness and information to know better. We just need to act, and hold lawmakers and politicians to a higher standard.

What will this breakthrough demand from us as a society?

To realize that our planet hangs in a delicate balance. If we don’t realize that many people on Earth will be climate refugees in one form or another very soon, then we are missing the urgency. Once we acknowledge this truth, then, hopefully, we will act, and take the needed steps to set aside 30% of Earth’s nature by 2030 - a goal many leading scientists are calling for if we hope to save planet Earth.

What is your company’s most impactful contribution to fight climate change?

I do not represent a company; I speak from the place of a U.C. Berkeley trained ecologist, award winning conservation filmmaker, and National Fellow at The Explorers Club. Aside from being mindful of the impact our daily choices have on nature, I have committed my career and projects to addressing the state of nature be it through my films, which profile conservation and environmental issues, or the companies I work with as a eco brand consultant, in which I help them do better by the environment through their business practices and the issues they stand for.

In your industry, what do you think will be the most groundbreaking change over the next 10 years?

When climate change is accepted by all, then we can act as one. Until then, while climate change is considered something to believe in or not, we are fighting just to have people / businesses / politicians acknowledge it’s real, which is madness.

Which brand (in general) do you think is at the forefront when it comes to sustainability?

Norrøna. Of course, I’m biased as I’m a brand ambassador at Norrøna, but truly, they are at the forefront of brands leading by example through the manufacturing of their products, use of sustainable, durable and repairable materials, as well as using their voice to elevate environmental awareness, and bring attention to nature and our place in it.

What makes you climate positive about the future?

There has never been a time on Earth that science, information and communication has been more widely available. The speed at which we can share resources and coordinate movements is remarkable. This connectivity holds the power for us, as a global community, to come together, and inspire positive change. It seems we are living through a transformative moment in our world’s history, where more and more people are waking up to injustices and threats nature is facing. This means we know what’s happening, and so hopefully more and more people realize we must act.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

While it’s important to hold ourselves accountable for the environmental impacts we contribute, it’s critical to realize that a handful of the biggest corporations on Earth are at fault for a significant amount of the carbon emissions and environmental degradation plaguing our planet. They and many politicians would like us to think that it’s our fault as individuals. This is directing the real blame away from the true culprits. Therefore, we must continue to improve individually, but also remember that our spending choices, voice and votes hold much power. If we elect politicians that care about nature, and support companies that aren’t in the business of destroying nature, then significant change can come about.

Charles and Rachel visiting their favorite playground, Lofoten Norway

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