Natural Capitalism: A conversation with Women for Nature Laura Couvrette and Cara MacMillan
Featuring Women for Nature member’s Laura Couvrette. Written by fellow Women for Nature member Cara MacMillan.
“We believe that organizations can do more. Organizations can increase profitability and efficiency while becoming more environmentally and socially responsible.”
Allow me to introduce you to my friend and partner in Women for Nature, Laura Couvrette. Laura and I share a passion for nature and for business. This article is about Laura’s journey and commitment.
Laura is from small town northwestern Ontario. She believes in community. Growing up, she saw and felt the wealth in nature as it provided jobs to her community. But nature was more than that– Laura saw that the abundance of lakes and trees need to remain so that we each can feel the healing and restorative powers of our natural world. Laura’s personal need to connect to nature leads her joyfully down many of Toronto’s beautiful running trails. “There are beautiful trees in amongst the concrete that can quiet your mind and your soul, but one needs to look to see them.”
Business and nature are not mutually exclusive. The challenge that each of us in Women for Nature share is to practice authenticity. “We need to weave a respect for nature into the daily routines of our lives.”
So what inspired you to become a Woman for Nature?
“I love the idea that women who are not necessarily working in the environmental field can share in the collective responsibility to stand, speak and champion nature. I am honoured to be a part of the conversation on how we each can be stewards of the earth.”
As we continued to chat, Laura told me a secret that I have to share with you (and yes I have her permission.) “I pick up trash.” Yes as Laura runs along the trails or walks to the park and she sees litter along the road, she brings a bag along so that she can recycle it appropriately. “There is a neighbour of mine who takes the time to walk through our neighbourhood and nearby park and pick up the things others had thoughtlessly thrown out. I love that he does the right thing for the right reasons even when no one is looking. That is what I try to do in every aspect of my life. I want to do the right thing even when no one is watching.”
So is there anything you would like to add….
“I enjoy connecting and learning from other women who share my passion for nature. We are women from many different professions, many different parts of Canada, many different backgrounds and we help each other see things differently. Being a Woman for Nature has sharpened my lens and it allows me to see what needs to change.”
Tell me who inspired you?
My inspiration has to be my great aunt Florence. Remember, we lived in a very small town. Our world was small. Yet Florence was very well read and intellectually well-rounded woman. She always kept an open mind. Florence was interested in the world and she challenged me to be curious and to explore different viewpoints from different perspectives: science, business, art, pop culture and community.
And how do you apply what Florence taught you?
I apply the same open-mindedness and respect in all aspects of my personal and business life. Creating meaningful connections with people is achieved when you go outside of the ordinary. Empathy, connection, community, family, respect, stewardship, balance and inner quiet are the values by which I lead my life. And in business, sometimes these values may not lead to immediate returns, but the value proposition over the long-term is powerful and more profitable.
“See nature where you are. I challenge the idea that Toronto is only skyscrapers and cement. It is simply not true. Nature is everywhere and we need to open our eyes and find it. There are great apps that show us where nature is in our community. As a family, we adopted and planted a tree in our local park. I love watering our tree with my son. Children want to go outside and they want to explore. I get to see the excitement when my son sees the first snail after the winter thaw. This is who I am. I renew myself in the forests of Toronto. Women for Nature champions nature in our communities. We share our stories, inspire each other and encourage each other to think broadly. We challenge each other to keep an open mind and to see our world from many perspectives: science, business, art, pop culture and community. And we also challenge each other to do the right thing, even when no one is looking.”
To learn more about our amazing Women for Nature, please click here.