Every time I look at Twitter, I’ve found myself being drawn in, like a water circling towards a plughole, to comment on the many and varied decisions and policy statements of the world’s most powerful man. I’ve tried to keep a professional distance from politics and to focus my Tweets on a thread with a business sustainability relevance (which are many), but maybe I’m straying across the line, like a kayaker franticly paddling to avoid going down the plughole.
As with many people, I’ve found myself in disbelief about the nature, tone and approach of someone who is supposed to be the leader of the free world, taking us to a brighter future. While we can debate about the people who voted him in knowing what he stood for, we are where we are, and it is what it is.
So why am I now thinking he’s the right man to show us a path to a better future? I’ve long been concerned that business and their customers and global citizens have not been vocal enough – not standing up for what they believe in – what they feel is right deep down. By stripping the façade of respectability away from the narrow, neocon agenda, Trump is showing us what right-wing, exclusive, business at any cost, policies look like. He is showing us, as clear as day, what ‘winner takes all’, vested interest driven, capitalism looks like and we don’t like it.
Now, more than any other time in my life time, I feel we have to stand up, articulate and shout about our vision and plans for an inclusive, fairer, cleaner world. Stephen Hawking, in a recent BBC documentary, estimated that Humanity has 100 years left, Elon Musk’s obsession with finding an alternative home for humanity on Mars (or another planet) shares Professor Hawking’s gloomy analysis. Without going too deep into the energy need and broader scientific challenges of trying to save humanity by enabling a handful of people to set up a new colony elsewhere, I would rather we focused much more attention on trying to maintain a reasonable lifestyle for 7+ billion and the coming generations on our single planet we already have, that we call home.
There are some strong signs that business realises that the Sustainable Development Goal’s and all they represent, are not just for window-dressing and greenwashing, but represent the real drivers of business success over the next 20 years. For example, the swift growth of the Renewable Energy 100 (RE100) companies, the development of microloans and other financial services for women and the steady march of the sharing economy are showing us there are newer, better ways to do business. The recent collapse of Trump’s business committees also demonstrates the rejection of inequality and hate.
Thanks to Trump, and some of the other despots like him, there is a new spirit emerging, a rejuvenated group of citizens, organisations and businesses who are prepared to stand up and shout about the future we want. They are prepared to challenge the rhetoric with sound science, humanity and care.
If the consequence of Mr Trump being in power is that he prompts the growth of a global movement with a clarion call for social justice, equality and a clean and productive planet, then perhaps it’s not so bad after all. System change needs a prompt – sometimes you need to shake the tree. So while Trump is trying to cut it down, its time for everyone else to plant the forest.
 BBC documentary, Expedition New Earth, shown June 15 2017
photo credit: Gage Skidmore <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/22007612@N05/32984318012″>Donald Trump</a> via <a href=”https://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a>