Bloomberg Green Dinner at COP26
November 9, 2021
An evening spent celebrating climate changemakers, both leaders and influencers, was an inspirational way to cap off the day. Conversations included innovation and strayed into areas on the periphery of climate work, but with no less of an impact, including how we feed ourselves, grassroots efforts toward education and change, and how film and science fiction novels can be catalysts. The struggle to get everyone on the same page is just as real as the journey to climate renewal.
Click HERE to view the video of the full discussion.
Geraldine Barnuevo-Cruz, Senior Manager, Environmental Strategies and Sustainability, General Motors
Gary Maclean, National Chef of Scotland and Champion MasterChef: The Professionals
Eva Orner, Director and Executive Producer, Burning
Ricardo Pineda, Director, Sustenta Honduras
Kim Stanley Robinson, Science Fiction Writer
Theresa Rose Sebastian, Social Media Coordinator, Re-Earth Initiative
Kristen Siemen, Vice President, Chief Sustainability Officer, General Motors
Leah Thomas, Founder, Intersectional Environmentalist
Chuka Umunna, Managing Director & Head of EMGA ESG, J.P. Morgan
Lauren Kiel, General Manager, Bloomberg Green
Akshat Rathi, Reporter, Bloomberg
Aaron Rutkoff, Executive Editor, Bloomberg Green
Jess Shankleman, Reporter, Bloomberg Green
The New Voices of Change
A panel of passionate activists included Leah Thomas, Founder, Intersectional Environmentalist, who spoke of discovering the many links between social injustice and environmentalism, such as “basic human rights of access to clean air and water.”
Ricardo Pineda, Director, Sustenta Honduras helped create a community of more than 500 young leaders “engaged in making conscious what climate change is in Honduras,” which, he said, is the most climate-vulnerable country in the world.
Theresa Rose Sebastian, Social Media Coordinator, Re-Earth Initiative, offered frank criticism of India, where she works to organize, inform and unite people to become a voice powerful enough for the government to not ignore. While she concedes that producing documents in 22 languages is cumbersome, much of what is released is mostly jargon, Sebastian said. “The deliberate attempt by the government to not provide that information is one of the reasons why India is not exactly leading in climate action.”
J.P. Morgan Sponsor Spotlight:
Using a football metaphor, “The match isn’t over yet,” said Chuka Umunna, Managing Director & Head of EMGA ESG, J. P. Morgan. “If you look at the deals made in the first week of COP, on methane, deforestation, coal, and so on,” Umunna said, “yes, it’s not enough, but I think this is progress. It is substantial.”
J. P. Morgan is feeling the heat of responsibility and meeting goals, with Umunna listing carbon neutrality in corporate operations, $2.5 trillion facilitated toward sustainable development and a plan to decarbonize its investment portfolio through this decade. Still needed, he said, is a vital consensus on “how we get to the promised land,” requiring an agenda that is practical, deliverable, that addresses current needs and is “capable of carrying everyone on this journey.”
In Conversation with Gary Maclean: The Recipe For a Sustainable Future
“Teaching our children to cook is more important that teaching them maths,” is a statement by Gary Maclean, National Chef of Scotland and Champion MasterChef: The Professionals, stands by, and lives by. Lack of understanding of food results in 30-percent of it being thrown away in the UK, Maclean said, due to a lost relationship with food. Among the solutions is bringing the restaurant ethos of using everything to economize into households. The pandemic has offered some positives, with more people cooking and being thoughtful about food purchases, in light of potential food shortages.
GM Sponsor Spotlight
“The biggest part of our carbon footprint is the use of our product,” said Kristen Siemen, Vice President, Chief Sustainability Officer, General Motors. Engineers need to come together and address a transition to an all-electric future, with all its aspects, such as greening the grid and recyclability, and inclusivity, she said, as well as fostering the next generation of problem-solvers.
“If we really are willing to listen and compromise, we are going to be able to find a solution,” said Geraldine Barnuevo-Cruz, Senior Manager, Environmental Strategies and Sustainability, General Motors. As an environmental engineer, she chose to work in industry, hoping to be a changemaker from the inside. “It has been a pleasure to see how far GM has evolved on climate action,” Barnuevo-Cruz said.
The Power of Storytelling
Kim Stanley Robinson, Science Fiction Writer, called being credited with inspiring world leaders to action, “mindboggling.” He spoke about his latest, The Ministry for the Future, and how it provides the desired “somewhat positive” outcome. Given “the issues that come with creating a work of art that has an angle, it fills a hunger in people,” Robinson said, “and I’m very happy to see it.”
‘The real tragedy is, we never saw it coming,’ is the opening voiceover in the trailer for Burning, a film by Eva Orner, Director and Executive Producer about the Australian wildfires that destroyed 59 million acres. Orner said the film’s release this month (Prime, Nov. 26) was a luck of timing, allowing it to be screened at COP, and putting focus on climate denial in Australia. She had harsh words about the Australian Prime Minister. “Scott Morrison has performed as expected, but clearly underperformed at COP, and for his entire leadership period,” Orner said. “For me, it’s like a perfect storm, as he is shaming our country so severely.”
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