"I CHANGE through personal and professional leadership, through using law and advocacy, and by inspiring others to fight climate change."
—Inder Comar, Founder of Just Atonement Inc.
Leadership is an essential component of the fight against climate change. And there is no greater problem confronting our species than the changes to come this century.
Unfortunately, real, effective leadership is in short supply. And when leaders talk about climate change, they either ignore the severity of the problem; or, they provide only dark visions of unmanageable refugee crises, walls, and border camps.
We are potentially the last generation that can meaningfully alter the future and the climate in which we will all live. Our species will be defined, perhaps forever, by the actions we take over the next few short years.
Those of us who are alive today have every resource at our disposal to fight for positive social impact and to leave the world in a better place. Thus, we must have courage to serve a higher calling: one that fights for the health of the planet and the species itself. We have to put aside our differences and lay the groundwork for a true Golden Age. And we need brave leaders who can lead our species towards the meaningful, positive changes that will help us manage and sustain human civilization in the face of truly epic changes to our climate.
How else can we define leadership in the present moment?
Leadership also means leading by example.
In 2010, I left corporate America to found my own law firm, Comar LLP, which works with technology companies and investors at the new frontiers of business. We have made a name for ourselves not just in traditional technology law and finance, but also in using for-profit vehicles to create powerful social impact. Something was always tugging at me to practice law in new, creative ways — and to forge my own path about what it meant to be a responsible corporate lawyer.
In 2013, I had an opportunity to dive into the work of international human rights through a legal effort to have the Iraq War declared illegal in court. I represented a class of Iraqi civilians who had become refugees because of the war. We sued the Bush-era leaders responsible for that war, on the basis that they violated rules laid down at the Nuremberg Trials about how and when countries can go to war. This was the first time since the Nuremberg Trials that international law was used in this way.
In 2017, that case was halted by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, after the government successfully had Bush Administration officials immunized from further process. But by then, the case had garnered attention and posed important questions about America’s relationship with the rest of the world. And I also realized the power of lawyers to create powerful, positive impact through litigation.
My work on the Iraq War Led me to create Just Atonement Inc., a legal non-profit dedicated towards building peace and sustainability. I realized I needed to build a bridge between issues of war and peace and issues of climate change. Already, governments and leaders all over the world are vilifying people seeking refuge from the effects of war and environmental disaster. International conflict will be exacerbated and driven by climate change. And there is a grave risk that our democratic principles will wither and die in the face of increasing people movements, weather extremes, species extinction and other environmental challenges.
Thus, it is part of our mandate at Just Atonement Inc. to fight for the basic principles of democratic government: the rule of law, the advancement of human rights and freedoms, supporting international law and governance, and the creation of economic structures that are in harmony with environmental and social systems.
After only just a couple of years, Just Atonement Inc. is running research and training programs for law students, developing a deep relationship with the United Nations in New York and in Geneva, and producing cutting edge research on how our changing climate will affect global society. We intend to commence with cutting-edge, front page litigation work very soon.
I hope my efforts can inspire others to reflect on what is truly important to them in these times, and assume greater leadership in making a real difference. I hope we can all become the leaders we so desperately need to create a better world.
To learn more about Just Atonement Inc., and to read our manifesto, click here.