1,5 seconds that changed life

We humans think we are calling the shots here on Earth and that we are superior to all other life. We are not – we are just part of the system along with all the other living things and creatures. If we adjust our self-image from “on top” to “part of” fixing the range of crises we created for ourselves will be a lot easier.

Our lives and our businesses and the everyday conditions for them are deeply dependent on and intertwined with the rest of the ecosystem. Most resources are either directly from nature, artificial alternatives deriving from nature and/or depend on input from the natural system somewhere along the process to become a raw material and a product. On an individual level – food, medicine, building materials, oxygen etc. are all highly dependent on the ecosystem. Just to mention a few things and I haven’t even opened up about the consequences of e.g. the climate crises for our daily lives and conditions to run our companies….

I think you all accept and agree with the fact that mankind is dependent on the rest of the ecosystem. Yet we act that this was nowhere near the case. As if everything around us is there for the taking and that there is no need to nurture or at least think about the carrying capacity of the most important foundation for our lives and businesses. When you think about it, it is a bit weird and at the very least; not smart.

It is like running your manufacturing company and never bothering to check in on your suppliers. Just expecting a constant flow of the resources, you need at a steady, reliable pace, price, and delivery. Hardly a model any of you live by.

A bit of perspective

If all of Earth’s history was a full year, then:


  • Live emerged in March.

  • Mankind evolved 15 min ago.

  • The whole of recorded history is the last 60 seconds.

  • 1,5 sec ago the industrial revolution started and since we have emitted 1/3 of trillion tons of CO2 into the atmosphere.

  • In 1/3 of a second, we have reduced the population of non-human animals on Earth by nearly 70%. (Source: Keanene Beanios) 


So, we people are clearly newcomers to the party, and yet we behave like a bunch of teenagers after a few drinks with that I-know-best attitude.

I see smart investors, board members and CEOs starting to point out that we need to think differently and more holistic about our relation to and use of the ecosystem. They are starting to wrap their head around biodiversity and the consequences that the decline in species and deterioration of the ecosystem has for the middle to long-term perspectives on their business.


  1. What will happen if an important resource stock collapses?

  2. What is the risk side of species migrating as the temperature alters the living zones?

  3. Can we expect to keep getting access to resources like water at the quantum, quality and price that we expect and need?


Questions like that are important to ask. And even more importantly; what do we do to avoid it?

Adjusting our self-image

When you think something is there just for you and you have complete control of it, and is superior in importance to it, it will be hard to make any compromises and to go through any change process (that by default is demanding) “just” to improve the conditions for that something.

I find that our self-image in the Western world is part of why it continues to be hard to make some of the tough choices when it comes to preserving and improving the ecosystem. Why we keep being faced with evidence and experiences about the deterioration of the natural environment and yet keep talking about what, who and how instead of taking appropriate action.

That man is above the ecosystem is a very strong narrative that has been built up over hundreds of years. I see strings back to the Enlightenment where nature started to be viewed as an object to study and control and Christianity where man is put above nature (even though that implies nurturing and managing it). It is a story we have told ourselves for a long time and that we have lived.

But it is also part of why we today live well beyond the planetary boundaries – the carrying capacity of the earth, so something has to change.

It is time for mankind to embrace the ecosystem rather than f%*&¤#! it up.