On May 10, 1940, German armed forces invaded the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, and France. That evening, the chairman of the UK’s Labour Party, Harold Laski, wrote “We are at a turning point in the history of the world.” Less than a week later, Winston Churchill, newly installed as Prime Minister, and Clement Attlee, the leader of the opposition in Parliament, announced an agreement to form a coalition government in order to prosecute the war. Unity was the watchword. David Low’s famous cartoon from that time vividly illustrates the fierce resolve of the leadership and, indeed, the public.
Action This Day. That’s what Winston Churchill wrote on many of his memos. It has always worked for me as a call to arms. Action was the persistent theme of the recent UN Climate Summit. I had the good fortune to be there last week and I was, after a fair number of years of observing the environmental scene, somewhat in awe of the tone and timbre of the speeches in support of climate action. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has been building support for nearly a year for a successful summit, with leaders of governments, business and civil society in abundance coming to speak and to make commitments. Continue reading