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Denying the deniers, believing in the environment
by Prof. Mark K. Smith, Group CEO

I have an elderly relative who is often heard to say ‘I don’t believe in the internet’. It’s an odd phrase when you think about it, the internet isn’t really a thing you believe or not in. It just is. If someone said ‘I don’t believe in cars’ that might be more worrying, especially when crossing the road. It is therefore with equal incredulity I puzzle why people say ‘I don’t believe in climate change’. That’s just silly. There are ice cores drilled into the Arctic that reach back nearly 1 million years. Just like the rings of a tree (if you believe in trees...), they show how the climate changed both in terms of rainfall/snowfall but also from natural events like volcanic eruptions, and less natural ones like nuclear blasts. Climate changes, end of.

‘Aha’ I hear the denier’s rave, I meant ‘man-made climate change’. Right. So your argument, my friend, based on your in-depth understanding of climate science, computer modelling and statistics, is that man (let’s pretend they appreciate the inherent sexism in that word [they won’t]), who has managed to make over 500 species of animals extinct in the last 100 years alone, who has deforested at rates never before seen in recorded history, who has taken massive reserves of stored carbon (coal, gas, oil) and set fire to it so spectacularly wantonly that we have (by the industry’s own estimates) well less than 100 years of oil left, yes that man, has not had an influence on climate???

Let’s deny the deniers. I have. Not interested. What does interest me is what the hell we do about it.

Well 23 years ago I created online conferencing – no really, I did. I was the first. It was me. And I can prove it. Look at this video. That’s me talking about an online conference I built (with a lot of help from a friend called Andy Ayers, who I still work with and is our CTO). The simple idea was to stop travel and to use the miracle that is the internet (which I most vehemently believe in) to deliver content to people wherever they may be on the planet. That content was in video, audio and written form and people could ask questions in a forum and get answers from senior environmentalists live. Sound familiar? Yes it’s what we are all doing right now. Only thing is, it took an attempted mass extinction event (the species this time being Homo stupid Sapiens) by a tiny length of RNA (Ribonucleic Acid) inside of a virus with the rather lovely regal name of Corona, to make us wake up and smell the end of humanity.

Now with predictions of 40-50% of us working from home, we finally have all we need to say a: I do not need to travel to work (mostly), b: I can stop consuming everything I fancy like some kind of gluttonous pig – here I mean clothes, rare and exotic foods, nail varnish, shoes – because the camera only focuses on the head and shoulders (personally I’ve not worn trousers for 6 months!) and c: I can spend more time in the environment and fall back in love with the thing we are made of – the earth.

So to that end, we as a business are going beyond carbon neutral - we are going all out for carbon negative, making sure our impact on the world is a positive one improved by every single press of each and every one of our keyboards.

So join us in saying ‘I believe in the environment’ because if you say the opposite, then another species fades into history leaving us with nothing more than a puzzled look of ‘why’ on its beautiful furry face.

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