Hank and Wendy Paulson Laud the Geneva Lake Conservancy & Discuss Universal Issues
Hank Paulson, former US Secretary of the Treasury and Chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs, and wife Wendy Paulson, nature educator, were the featured guests at a private fundraiser in Lake Geneva to benefit the Geneva Lake Conservancy in July 2013. The Paulsons, ardent nature lovers, have served on various conservation boards and agreed to discuss their views and insights on conservation issues.
Wendy Paulson said the world suffers from ‘Ecological Illiteracy.’ She felt strongly that people need to be educated on the importance of conservation and that it should start at an early age. Hank Paulson agreed, “If you don’t know much, it’s easy to be indifferent.”
He added, “NGOs [non-government organizations], government and big business need to work together to solve conservation issues. He said, “It’s hard for governments to do things. They’re a reflection of the people. Big business sees what’s happening.”
Hank Paulson felt water would be the pressing issue of the century. “Water will be a bigger issue than climate change. We’re close to the tipping point.” He asked, “Who owns the water? We have the false belief if you own the land, you own the aquifer. The consequences must be thought through. The economic models we have are based on the false assumption that natural eco-systems are free – that they are inexhaustible.”
The Paulsons discussed the knock-on effect of coastal degradation on migratory birds, The Paulson Institute’s efforts in China, developing countries’ dilemma of growth versus conservation, education as a key to engagement, and the importance of grassroots organizations such as The Geneva Lake Conservancy.
Wendy Paulson was positive on the future. “I do think the greatest hope lies in every individual’s capacity to care – and that’s absolutely universal. Nature does speak to people the world over no matter their ethnicity or nationality. And I think that’s incredibly powerful,” she said. “And [hope lies in] the willingness of people to band together and work together – as you do at the Conservancy – to focus on what you know best – to really get to know a place, value that place and be a good steward of it.”
Hank countered, “I do believe we will pull through this and technology will be one of the answers. There are a lot of places where we’re not winning the ecological battle.”
“Bottomline,” Wendy summarized, “We all need to do what we can.”
The Geneva Lake Conservancy gratefully acknowledges the following people who were instrumental in the success of this fundraiser — Bill Pollard, John Anderson, Linda Anderson, Ron Levin, Bob Klockars, Sue Kiner, Janet Happ and Lynn Ketterhagen. Thank you! It was memorable!