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I want you all to close your eyes. I know this is overdone but please, bear with me for just one moment.

Close your eyes and imagine the world hundreds of thousands of years ago. Nature owns the earth. Great sprawling forests, huge, seemingly endless plains. Animals roam freely, living the lives that they’d always lived, hunting, breeding and experiencing the world as it should have been. Theirs.

Now open your eyes. Look at where you are right now. This world no longer belongs to nature. Human beings arrived, and we hit this planet with all the force of a nuclear bomb. Not only force, but the violence of it too.

We made this world our own unforgivingly. We ripped those forests apart to build shopping centres and McDonald’s restaurants. We paved over those sweeping plains to lay down motorways and train tracks. And we just kept going and going, building and building, striving towards total control. We gained that control as well. Now nature only exists in tiny little corners, faraway pockets of the world, or fenced off by us, limited by structures of our design, chain-link and entry fees.

We didn’t stop there though. Control of the world wasn’t enough. We needed everything this earth could give us. More resources, more space, and, above all else, more money. So we mined, and we ripped, and we tore and we built this world around us. The world of cities, and cars, and 24 hour Amazon delivery. The actual Amazon of course, is reserved exclusively for documentaries and the occasional news story when the trees go up in flames.

Now, this isn’t to say that all this development is a bad thing. Who among us doesn’t use all of these things we’ve made. I wrote this very speech using a combination of a smartphone and a laptop. Last week I ate in a restaurant, and I regularly hop into a car to get from A to B. This is simply the way of the world. Of course we use all of these advantages available to us. Why wouldn’t we? Why shouldn’t we?

And yet, right now, we see something happening. We see something happening that is predictable. It is a phenomenon that occurs every time someone tries to control something for too long. The thing begins to fall apart. And in this case that thing is the very planet we’re living on.

Ice caps are melting, rain-forests are burning, sea levels are rising. Entire ecosystems are being wiped out. This, of course, has been happening for years, and we’ve generally ignored it. But now it’s starting to affect us. Those fires are starting to burn our houses. Those rising seas are beginning to flood our towns, damage our roads. Now we’re all starting to wake up. There is no shame in not being aware of this beforehand. Our lives are all so hectic, so busy, that sometimes even the biggest of crises slip under the radar.

Some people will tell you that this disaster is nature fighting back. Trying to reclaim what was taken from it.

But I take a different view. I see this as the world crying out for help. Our planet, now more than ever, needs us. It needs us to step up to the plate and make a positive change. We turned this place into something incredible. A place where we can reach anywhere in the globe, whenever we want. And because we have had this impact, we must now assume the responsibility that comes along with it. We made this earth our own, so now it is our turn to take care of it, just as the animals who roamed long before us did.

The Rutakirwa Foundation is committed to being at the front-lines of making that change. We want to be a shining example for those who, like us, want to make the positive changes needed to reverse the damage we’ve already done. Now, this, firstly, means putting programmes in place to achieve this. In that vein, we run training courses, offer advice, and plant trees, among many other positive impact initiatives. But that isn’t the most important thing we’re trying to do. What we really want is support. Because no one foundation can fix this. No one group, or individual can take this issue on by themselves. What is needed is a global movement, a mass protest and change of behaviours from every single human being, every single company, and every single entity that calls this planet their home. We need to come together, all of us, to ensure that this world remains a liveable home. Our time isn’t up yet. Not everything is doom and gloom. There is still plenty of opportunity for us to bring this back.

Perhaps there will come a time when we are all gone, when human beings are no more, and the Earth will reclaim itself. But until then, it is our duty, and a duty that underlines everything the Rutakirwa Foundation does, to make sure that this planet is the best place it can possibly be for everyone. Not just the rich. Not just the West or East, or South or North, Everyone!. If you are a business owner, I would even recommend you take the Sustainable Business Strategy certificate course by Rebecca Henderson from Harvard Business School Online. This course changed the way I thought about our planet.

And that is why we are set to lead this walk!

Thank you!

Delivered Electronically by;

Tonny Rutakirwa,

Los Angeles, California,

United States of America.

Saturday, 14th March, 2020.

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