Friday, December 18, 2009

Timberland CEO Lambasts Governments' Poor Accountability

The CEO of Timberland, Jeff Swartz, nailed my frustrations with governmental -- especially Federal -- efforts on the head with regard to climate change in this piece for ClimateBiz:

I can't help but wonder if I was held by my shareholders to the same degree of accountability that world leaders have exhibited thus far on the climate change issue, how much easier would my job be?  What if I could blame a poor quarter on Congress, or rationalize, "Yes, we realize we've got a big problem, and we had a really good meeting about it.  Want to see the pictures?"

That kind of leadership would get me nothing but fired.

And yet leaders of the world, the ones we optimistically elect in hopes that they'll act for the common good and advocate for the changes we need -- the ones we hope will save the world -- are not held to the same measures of accountability or forced to suffer the same consequences as a bootmaker.  It's deeply and frustratingly ironic.  

Wow.  Swartz pulls no punches there, and rightly so.

One could sit around a campfire sipping beer and philosophize about why this is for hours.  The answers would range from the types of international bureaucratic challenges that Swartz mentions to the deep systemic problems that currently plague the U.S. political system (not to mention the corruption of other governments).

I'd love to see how our political system would work if two solutions that David Orr recommended in his 100 Days of Climate Action came to pass: (1) real campaign finance reform that freed politicians to vote based on what's right instead of based on who's got da money, and (2) reinstatement of the Fairness Doctrine, so that the public airwaves could not be used to deliberately mislead.

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