My thoughts and sorrow are with my former colleagues and friends at the UN Environment Programme and the many other UN agencies, NGOs and governments and of course, the families affected by the Ethiopian Airlines crash. The plane had just taken off from Addis Ababa and was bound for Nairobi. Many of the people on board were travelling to the UN Environment Assembly.
Before starting Archeus I worked for the United Nations Environment Programme and I was based in Germany. Travel was what we had to do for the work we did. It was like jumping on a bus and we expected to see colleagues when we got off at the other end. For me, ultimately it was the travel (the flying to be exact) that gave me the most anxiety, the more I did the more I feared it. But it came with the job. It's just what we had to do. A deep breath and a boarding pass and on we go.
Travel was what we had to do for the work we did. It was like jumping on a bus and we expected to see colleagues when we got off at the other end.
We all do this work, get on a plane, leave our families behind because we want to be part of helping make a difference. UNEP strives to give Nature a voice, to make pathways to help communities, regions, industries and countries take a more sustainable and ecologically responsible approach to their future. Trying to safeguard the future of this planet by trying to speak for the things we all rely on, Nature and healthy ecosystems. I hated the travel but I was proud of the work we were doing.
Nairobi is the head office of UNEP and expected to welcome people to its house for this Assembly, not mourn them. Lives lost as they travelled for work, as they sought to make this world a better place. Empty chairs. Grieving hearts. My deepest, heartfelt sympathies are with colleagues, friends and the families of those lost.
(The photo that accompanies this post is one I took in Ethiopia when I travelled to work there for a few weeks in 2012.)