April 22 is Earth Day, and to commemorate climate whistleblowers on this annual celebration the National Whistleblower Center (NWC) is hosting a free online event to celebrate climate whistleblowers, outline the advocacy organization’s Climate Corruption Campaign, and discuss how environmental whistleblowers can change the world.
The event will feature three climate advocates in a panel discussion. Participants include Sara Walker, Senior Advisor on Wildlife Trafficking at the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), Dar-Lon Chang, former Exxon-Mobil engineer and current advisor to GeoSolar Technologies, and Wendy Addison, a whistleblower and founder of SpeakOutSpeakUp Ltd.
Both Walker and Addison previously authored articles on WNN. Walker, also the leader of AZA’s Wildlife Trafficking Alliance, wrote an article entitled “How Whistleblowers Can Help Disrupt Wildlife Crime”, which highlights whistleblowers’ roles in fighting wildlife crime and trafficking. Her piece also outlines four ways in which whistleblowing should be used as a tool in the battle against wildlife crime. These include raising awareness about wildlife trafficking as well as whistleblower protection laws, developing partnerships and collaborating with other advocacy groups to work toward a common goal, advocating for “continued bipartisan congressional leadership” and legislation that aims to end wildlife trafficking. Finally, Walker recommends that whistleblower provisions be included in international agreements, like ones that the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) drafts up.
Addison’s article “What is the Economic Cost of Failing to Disclose Climate-Related Financial Risks?” notes the growing trend of climate litigation. Her piece delves into the idea that because of a growing concern about climate change and risks, institutions and companies may find themselves at risk of litigation if they fail “to adopt serious long-term strategies and targets” or fail to “make serious efforts to achieve their targets once set.” Addison points to cases in recent years in which citizens have taken court actions to call for government action regarding climate change. She notes: “Not all claims against major emitters seek compensation for loss and damage caused by climate change. An increasing number of claims focus instead on financial risks, fiduciary duties and corporate due diligence, which directly affect not only fossil fuel and cement companies, but also banks, pension funds, asset managers and major retailers, among others.” Additionally, several “cases consist of claims raising the lack of, or insufficient disclosure of, climate-related information to protect shareholders, consumers and investors,” Addison writes.
“This panel is so diverse. We have perspectives from the insider, the advocate, and the anti-trafficking perspective,” Siri Nelson, Executive Director of NWC, told WNN. “Hearing the passion from all these different sides is very inspiring and encouraging.”
“I am excited to learn more about how all issues are interconnected and how whistleblowers are at the center of it all. From corporate greenwashing to concerns about anti-retaliation and transnational enforcement mechanisms, it all relates to how we safeguard investments in our planet,” Nelson continued. “I hope attendees learn that whistleblowers are the key to protecting our planet and that the success of the investments we make in our planet depends on the courageous engineers, accountants, auditors, environmental and wildlife defenders who blow the whistle.”