Imagination is more important than knowledge.
The mid-1990s had provided commercial opportunities in commoditizing insurance. In spite of good business prospects, I wasn't as excited about insurance as I was about the environment. The Rio Summit had become a distant memory by the middle of the decade. However, in 1995, two of its attendees, the Vice President of the Cousteau Society and the Under-Secretary-General of the summit profoundly changed my career. Paula DiPerna, Maurice Strong, and I spent the next 15 years working toward a common goal of combating climate change.
In January 1995, the UN head of greenhouse gas emissions trading at UNCTAD invited me to speak on emissions trading to the Group of 77 (G-77),1 at a meeting held in Glen Cove, New York. The objective of the meeting was to determine the necessary follow-up actions to implement Agenda 21, also known as the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development from 1992.
Knowing that my younger daughter, Penya, had participated in a Model United Nations at the Latin School and loved history, I brought her to the conference with me. We had previously taken a father-daughter trip to Cuba. The two of us always had fun together.
Animated groups of men and women dotted the main area of the conference center like magnets, deep in conversation. An air of diplomacy hung over the room. My daughter and I grabbed our meeting materials and badges and ...