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Challenging Reluctance and Resistance – Then Winning

Meet Richard Nugee, a former 3-Star General in the British Army.

Singlehandedly, with no staff, he has convinced the reluctant top brass in the Ministry of Defence that they must embrace climate change. Hear his remarkable explanation of how he won the battle.

As Lt. Gen. Nugee, Richard created a new, un-military job for himself as non-Executive director for Climate Change and Sustainability. Many officers around him were sceptical and resistant. They believed the military were “exempt” from including the implications of climate change in their command responsibilities.  

Here he explains how he won them over. He shifted conversations from cutting greenhouse gas emissions to cost-savings and greater efficiencies. It eventually worked. Saving money, after all, is a prime driver and career accelerator for civil servants! 

His principle? “Working with the grain [of the organisation] but finding solutions that mean you pay attention to this issue called climate change and sustainability rather than saying actually all it will do is harm us”. 

The result? Climate is now more embedded in military and cross government thinking.  

Richard also explains how climate is now an issue of national security affecting us all. But the political class have still not gripped the scale of the threat to all that we take for granted.