Crew Commentary

Forbes Article: Mission to Awaken Crew Consciousness in 1 Billion People

Bob Leonard - Climate Risk Manager


Growing faster with corporate support


In early 2023, This Spaceship Earth made the decision to move from a non-profit based on the support of individuals to support from corporations. The decision was made in hopes that by working with companies we could scale up global crew consciousness more quickly.


We were thrilled to get our lead corporate supporter, Origina, in May. We wrote about this new relationship in this Crew Commentary . The CEO of Origina, Tomás O’Leary, had already taken a lead position to help with the Right to Repair movement in the European Union. So we were confident that the company was committed to facing our climate crisis.


As we continue to look for our second and third corporate supporters, we were fortunate enough to have an article about this topic published in Forbes. Here is that article:


This Spaceship Earth, an environmental nonprofit organization that is committed to overcoming the challenges of our climate crisis, is seeking corporate partners to assist in accomplishing its mission of awakening “crew consciousness” in people.


The concept of crew consciousness, as well as the organization’s name, are inspired by the words of philosopher and futurist Marshall McLuhan, “There are no passengers on Spaceship Earth. We are all crew.” Like crewmembers of a spaceship, everyone on Earth has a responsibility to actively manage the finite resources on this planet, and to reestablish a balanced relationship between humanity, the planet and the ecosystems that sustain them. 


This Spaceship Earth is led by David Houle, a former media executive now known as The CEO’s Futurist, Tim Rumage, a planetary ethicist, college professor and scientist, and Bob Leonard, a consultant who delivers climate risk assessments and helps businesses manage the climate risks they are vulnerable to. The three have authored several books, the latest being a short e-book, titled Now That You Know, which outlines the status of our spaceship, how we got to where we are, and what crew members, as individuals and companies, can do to address our ecological crisis.


                                             Spaceship Earth is heating up… crew action required!


According to Houle, one of the most effective ways to awaken crew consciousness in people is to focus on corporations that have multiple stakeholders (customers, employees, suppliers and partners) who the organization can educate to become climate literate.


In May, This Spaceship Earth signed a groundbreaking partnership with Origina, a leading IBM third-party software maintenance company. The organizations are working together to confront the escalating e-waste crisis, which results in more than 60 million metric tons of e-waste generated annually. Origina, which is headquartered in Ireland, is a pioneer in the Right to Repair movement in Europe. Tomás O’Leary, founder and CEO of Origina, is a strong climate advocate, focusing on the problem of e-waste. He helped to set up a European non-profit to tackle this issue.


Businesses need to transform… be skeptical of business as usual. There needs to be a movement. There has to be a better way. Crew consciousness is the shift we need.” –  Tomás O’Leary, CEO, Origina


Houle says that This Spaceship Earth has two ironclad criteria for its corporate partners: first is that they have already taken genuine and significant actions to address our climate crisis, and second is that they allow This Spaceship Earth a free hand to continue its mission of promoting crew consciousness. No greenwashing allowed. 


There are many things companies can do to become responsible crew members, according to Houle and Leonard. They can review their supply chains and stop working with partners that do not align with their values. With growing awareness of environmental issues, investors are putting money into companies that they believe are doing the right thing. Companies that are environmentally responsible are much more likely to attract the best and brightest talent… especially from younger generations who are overwhelmingly concerned about the climate they will have to contend with. 


“A common saying in the business world is that ‘Culture eats strategy for breakfast’,” Leonard said. We have to change the way we live (especially those of us in the privileged first world). It doesn’t have to be painful, if we change how we think about the way we live. That is crew consciousness. Corporate leaders ask me how to develop a culture of crew consciousness. I tell them to ask their employees which environmental issues are important to them, and start with those. Keep in mind, climate touches everything, so no matter their interests or skills, they can make a meaningful contribution.”


Houle added, “Corporations provide our path to scale up to one billion crew members. We believe that getting 12% to 15% of the global population on board is enough critical mass to change belief systems… to spread crew consciousness around the world. Those crew members will influence their family members, their friends, their coworkers, and other people they interact with, enabling humanity to make the radical shift needed to ensure our survival.”