Satyam Vyas: The Opportunities of Climate Leadership
“I think every job of the future will require people to save this planet.”
This week was a big one for the planet. We became eight billion people. We also held COP27, where global leaders met to mitigate the worst effects of climate change.
This year, THNKer Satyam Vyas launched Climate Asia, the first climate action platform in Asia to inspire systemic and collective change to build a people’s movement towards climate action. So far, over 10,000 people have joined the platform looking for opportunities in green careers. “I want to inspire a generation to work in climate, to live meaningfully and purposefully and make better decisions every day that are positive for the planet.”
Expand our sensemaking
Given the daunting scale of the challenge ahead, what does it take to be a leader in the climate space?
“You cannot solve this problem in isolation. You need to solve this as a collective and build a community of people who are willing to work with you. You don’t need to come up with the next big innovation. You need to start thinking about what you are doing, and ask yourself if that helps the planet or not. Start with that question, and things will start emerging.”
Convene diverse perspectives
“Collective leadership takes an open mind. You need to be able to work with people with very diverse points of view and aspirations. You need to listen and understand that while your approaches and work styles might be different, your needs are the same.
Wisdom is a very important resource. If we open up and share our wisdom and listen to others, we’ll find enough folks who want to work together. There can be no competition anymore because there can’t be a competition to save the planet.”
Satyam is not seeing this kind of leadership at COP27.
“Covid taught us the hard way that the real leaders are not always politicians, but the people on the frontlines, delivering essential services; those who kept working while the world shut down. These are everyday heroes who get up every morning and are there for others. We have to begin to admire people who clean the rivers and the lakes, more than admire people who come up with the next hot tech gadget.
If we place our hope in new technologies, we miss seeing all that people are doing and all the potential they have to bring about change.”
Amplify change with others
What would you say to someone who is now thinking of stepping into this area of work?
“I would say the climate space is the most incredible opportunity space. My call to action would be: Step in. Start building a community around you. If you are an accountant, start thinking about carbon accounting. If you are an engineer, start thinking about better designs which are more sustainable. If you are in finance, think about green investments. This is an opportunity where all of us can have skills to apply. If you don’t have skills, you can start thinking about what subjects you can take which will help you address some of these challenges. We need billions of people to change the way they act and work and live. It’s going to take each and every one of us.”
What did you learn from your time with THNK?
“The timing for THNK was just perfect. I was questioning my role and my existence and the world around me. I wanted to create something. THNK gave me the tools and resources to design the institution I started, But beyond that THNK gave me a tribe. I met the most amazing people; people who are givers, people who open their heart, home and wisdom.
My THNK classmates became friends for life. They are my go-to for any new plans, because I know this group will listen with an open mind, will not be judgmental, and will ask critical questions to help me improve.”
Grow your leadership with THNK
Do you want to grow your leadership and join a community of THNKers, like Satyam, to help address the world’s biggest challenges?
Explore our leadership programs for organizations or for individuals.