At its heart, restorative leadership works to answer the question, how do we bring out the best of our diverse humanity to ensure a sustainable future?
One of history’s great proponents of such possibility was Martin Luther King, Jr., who inspired us that:
“We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there "is" such a thing as being too late. This is no time for apathy or complacency. This is a time for vigorous and positive action.”
Fueling today’s urgency, and particularly relevant to consider on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day given the disproportionate impact on poor and marginalized communities around the world, is climate change.
As our global community strives to unite for the common welfare of future generations, we can celebrate the outcome of the COP21 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) as a turning point for committed action by 187 countries to limit climate change “well below 2-degrees C” and to embrace our common but differentiated responsibilities. It is what Jeffrey Sachs calls “a diplomatic triumph... an act of true global co-operation of historic significance.”
Yet because the Climate Treaty commitments are unenforceable, understanding how to connect shared values for a common vision is essential to inspire the vigorous, positive action that the Paris Agreement maps around the globe.
The idea that, as Rev. King said, “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools,” is at the heart of the restorative leadership practice of bridging and scaling across shared values.
Dr. Katharine Hayhoe demonstrates this principle brilliantly as an Evangelical Christian climate scientist. She reminds us,
“Really, we all want a sustainable planet, a sustainable life. We might not call it that, but that really is what we all want. We want a safe, secure life for ourselves, for our children, and for our grandchildren. That’s what we all want. But, right now we are caught up in so many pitfalls of our human condition.…”
Based on her own experience, she inspires us to focus on the values that we all share in our hearts, rather than what divides us, and to remain hopeful. She shares, “it is essential to look to the future with hope, because fear only paralyzes us. And we cannot afford to be paralyzed right now. We need to be in motion, making decisions, choosing about the pathway we want to pursue in the future, and that’s why hope is so essential.”
Learn more about how to engage productively and remain hopeful from Dr. Katharine Hayhoe, one of the world’s leading climate scientists and a star expert in the Emmy Award winning series Years Of Living Dangerously, from our podcast On Leading.