Last night I took a little break from business school things to hear Naomi Klein give the 14th annual LaFontaine-Balwin Lecture on "The Leap Years: Canada Beyond Extractivism."
I first read Naomi Klein's book No Logo when I was but a wee gender studies student who never would have imagined I would one day make my way to business school. It's potent stuff. Important, challenging, painful stuff. If I designed a new business school curriculum it would be required reading for Marketing, no question.
Her lecture last night was just as powerful. Oh, man. She pulled no punches!
As a non-Canadian, I found it particularly interesting to hear (from her perspective, of course) the history of Canada's dependence on and relationship with the oil and gas industry. I was certainly aware of it, and have been enjoying the benefits of a better exchange rate for my US dollars because of it, but what I loved was her ability to take it back to the very beginning. Canada has always been a place of seemingly limitless bounty, she explained. How could there possibly be a need for temperance when the land provides so much?
I learned about The Leap Manifesto (which I highly recommend Canadians and non-Canadians alike check out) and left wondering how many private sector folks were in the room to hear her. I saw many students and hoped at least some of them were studying business. The entire lecture I was thinking, "why don't we get anything like this in class?"
Oh, right. Business school. Well, not all business schools. There are alternatives and I hope to see more schools reevaluating their curriculum in the coming years.
There is a different way. You just have to want it.
Now, The Leap Manifesto has clearly been a lightening rod in Canada and I've honestly just tuned in so am not in a position to understand or comment on the nuances of what this means for provincial or federal regulations. But the sentiment is loud and clear: the status quo will kill us.
I went to the lecture alone last night and considered not attending at all. But, once again, I am reminded how much richer my education becomes when I seek out something different. Or in this case, something that feels more like home.