We've become so reductionist now, with the way we look at the planet. It's like Shakespeare - if you looked at it through a scientific lens, it's just 26 letters on a page rearranged. But why we love Shakespeare is because of the meaning we give it, and the beauty, and the wonder it evokes. We need to do the same with the planet. For too long we've just looked at it as a cold rock floating through galaxy; through a very scientific lens. But as we know, it's much more than that. It's this interconnected, interwoven, rich ecosystem of life that supports us, and that we're a part of. That's the language we've got to talk about if we're going to get through this.
If you go back pre-scientific revolution, we did tell a very different story about our planet. There's a wonderful language that different cultures used to use about the planet. We know that Aboriginals used to use the word 'custodians' of the land. The Egyptian culture and the Native American Indian: 'Mother Earth' and 'Father Sky'. The Chinese referred to themselves as 'reverent guests' of the land. There's a beautiful story that we just don't hear anywhere enough about, about an admiral Zheng who in 1436, sailed the world for 33 years with 27,000 men on 300 ships. Not to conquer, but to share animals, exchange goods, explore the wonders of the world and bring it back to his empire. Columbus did it again 50 years later, with a very different story.
The biggest surprise I learned was the role of educating girls and empowering women on climate change, which is very rarely linked together. Statistics show that if a girl doesn't get to complete her education, shes pulled out of school for a range or reasons - religion or to work - she'll have 5 or more children. But if she gets to complete her education, gets access to reproductive health services, work opportunities, she then gets to choose when and how many children she'll have, and that number comes down to 2. The UN says that's a difference of 1.1 billion people by 2050, which has a profound impact on our resources and climate change. So we should empower girls anyway - that's a great thing to do - but we get this lovely bonus that helps the environment at the same time.