Finance is at the heart of our economic system. Without it, no activity would be possible. Yet, despite all the good will — conspicuous or sincere — of financial institutions on sustainability, the majority of finance is fuelling the climate catastrophe.
President François Hollande once proclaimed that "the enemy is the world of finance". But it is not. The enemy is what I call the Culture of Defeat.
Perhaps the greatest ill of our societies is destroying the living and our environments, but rather making us believe that we cannot change anything. What can we do facing hierarchy, competition, capitalism, “the system,” human nature…? Everyone has their reasons for thinking they are powerless; everyone has an impassible mountain before which they feel small.
We can win the climate war, but only if we do not remain a mere witness or extra to the climate catastrophe. There is nothing inevitable about it. How do you climb an impassable mountain? One step at a time.
The Goldman Environmental Prize, awarded to 6 individuals each year, demonstrates that each of us can achieve the landmark victories necessary to win the climate war. Yes, the world is not doing well. It's up to all of us to say no. Let us not be trapped by the culture of defeat slowly killing us. Every time someone takes a step forward, it brings us closer to winning the climate war.