The challenges facing the world in the Anthropocene era offer ample reason for pessimism. Biodiversity is threatened, rising emissions could tip the balance towards unstoppable global warming, and action to combat these problems tends to be slow at best.
And yet, Santiago Lefebvre sees potential and opportunity. “We are very lucky to be living in this very important moment in history,” he says. “It’s a bit like the Renaissance, where we had to reinvent many aspects of society, of art, of politics. We are in a moment of true mutation ”.
Lefebvre is co-founder and CEO of the Change now Summit, a global gathering of entrepreneurs, investors, innovators and anyone interested in positive change. The idea for the event came after Cop21 in 2015, when Lefebvre began to notice that entrepreneurs seeking to solve everything from ocean plastic to the refugee crisis were popping up everywhere. But there was no place for them to come together and find the tools and people they needed (“colleagues, investors, media, support and talent”) to advance their businesses.
“The idea was to create a great event, like CES [a well-known consumer tech summit] in Las Vegas, or other big business events, but for those who want to change the world in a positive way, ”he says.
Now in its fourth year, ChangeNOW takes place May 27-29, with live broadcasts from Paris and other locations around the world. The summit features talks from more than 500 speakers, including Mark Carney, the UN’s special envoy for climate action and finance; Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice President of the European Green Agreement; and the Ecuadorian indigenous activist Nemonte Nenquimo.
For those with a ‘business’ ticket, there are opportunities to pitch to investors, network and maintain one-on-one, but the rest of the programming, of which there is a bulky schedule, is free to general ticket holders. .
Here are five highlights.