PAUL GILDING | Montessori Education for Social Change


Peace and ecological unity

Australian environmentalist, author and social entrepreneur

Paul is one of the world’s most experienced and respected corporate advisors and advocates on the implications of sustainability and climate change for business strategy and the economy.

He works with the CEOs and Executives of many leading corporations around the world and has spoken to hundreds of business conferences and public forums.  Amongst his various current roles, he is a Fellow at the University of Cambridge’s Institute for Sustainability Leadership, where he researches and teaches on the inevitable global economic transformation around sustainability.

With nearly 40 years experience on sustainability as a corporate advisor, activist leader, businessman and thought leader, Paul provides deep insights into the challenges and opportunities that environmental and social trends present for society, companies and investors.

His book The Great Disruption was published by Bloomsbury in the United States and Europe in April 2011 to wide acclaim. It has been translated for publication in Germany, The Netherlands and Brazil. His views have been featured in major media outlets around the world including by Pulitzer Prize winning writer Tom Friedman in the New York Times, where Friedman concluded “Ignore Gilding at your peril.”

Paul’s experience and career has seen him go from serving in the Australian military, to being global head of Greenpeace to being owner and CEO of two companies, strategy consultancy Ecos Corporation and energy efficiency company Easy Being Green.

He has advised the Boards and Executives of companies including Unilever, BHP Billiton, DSM, DuPont, Ford Motor Company, Fonterra and many others. Through this work he has developed close working relationships with a large number of Chairmen, CEOs and executives, helping them to deepen their understanding of sustainability issues, particularly the relationship to business value and strategy. He has also maintained close links with the NGO community and helped to develop stronger partnerships, understanding and relationships with business.


"I am so looking forward to meeting you, the Montessori community, in Prague. The world is at once frightening because of the multiple threats to ecology and peace but at the same time we are in one of the most exciting and exhilarating moments in history - just because in these threats we have the potential and motivation to realise Maria Montessori’s vision of being 'a single organism, one nation'. It is a great time to be joining you."


The Abstract

In Global Crises Lies An Opportunity For Transformation

To prepare our children with the understanding and knowledge they will need over their lives, requires us to consider not just our beliefs and values. We must consider the context in which they will live, as human civilisation develops over the coming century. While it is impossible to precisely forecast this, there are some fundamental, science determined things that we know. These, along with our values, can be our guide.

In this, there are some hard truths to face. The climate is changing and this process is now accelerating. The stability of the world is being undermined by the physical impacts of our overuse and abuse of our natural resources, particularly land, water and biodiversity. This is causing nations to become unstable, refugees to flee and conflict, fear and nationalism to worsen. Feeding this further, is the inequality that is growing despite the enormous wealth we have created.

Taken together this can paint a world where the future is frightening. However, while we must face these truths, we should see that this also presents one of the most exciting and exhilarating moments in history. History shows us that, in a crisis, our humanity and the essence of our potential often comes to the fore. Thus the profound threats to biodiversity can trigger our deep love of nature. Conflict between nations and people can bring out our noblest compassion. Faced with crisis, our strongest sense of a higher purpose and wish to contribute often rises to the top of our consciousness.

This is the opportunity for educators. To unleash a generation which understands and accepts the crises we face but is equipped with the understanding, values and inspiration to help society not just survive, but to thrive on the challenge. To see the transformational opportunity to shape a more harmonious and peaceful world.