With “stop the climate apocalypse” at the top of her to-do list, Shyla Raghav hit pause — or, rather, the mute button. At a silent retreat last month, Conservation International’s head of climate change eschewed technology and media in favor of meditation for 12 hours a day.
At the end of the 10 days, she emerged with a renewed sense of optimism and commitment to the very real, very immediate problem of what on Earth we’re going to do to stop climate change.
Raghav delved into the specifics of what sustains her — despite the headlines, the reports, the Trump administration — in an interview with Elle magazine published today. The article is part of an entire month the publishing juggernaut is devoting to the environment with its “Conservation Issue,” developed in partnership with Conservation International.
So how do you tackle one of the most urgent — and often demoralizing — issues of our time, day in and day out, without burning out? For Raghav, “knowing that we have a narrow time frame, and that the decisions we make today are so incredibly important” makes whatever burnout she does feel, in her words, “manageable.”
She’s working closely with country leaders, the office of the UN Secretary General and the private sector to help them make those decisions, advising them on the clear, ambitious goals we need to achieve progress. A main focus of those conversations is finance — specifically how we redirect the billions of dollars in perverse incentives driving deforestation to “green” sources of finance.
Also buoying her as she tackles the “defining issue of our time”: youth. For the 33-year old, the energy and unapologetic forthrightness of the next generation of climate activists is exactly what the movement needs right now.
Sophie Bertazzo is a senior editor at Conservation International.
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