A New Parable for the Planet in Dublin

Tuesday, May 3, 2022 2:30 pm EST

View the discussion recorded on Tuesday, May 3, 2022 with Rev. Gary Chamberland, C.S.C., director of the Notre Dame-Newman Centre for Faith and Reason in Dublin, Ireland, and special guest Dr. Mark Lyons, President and CEO of Alltech. 

As we reflect on our responsibility to pass on a better planet to the next generation, it can be difficult to see the possibilities, especially when we are surrounded by negative stories of climate change and its implications. However, when we take a fact-based approach to the challenges before us, we can embrace something much stronger than optimism. We can have hope, a bold and confident expectation as we face the future. The stories we share shape the solutions we can envision, so let’s turn the page on a new parable for our planet.

The eighth event in the Worsening Water Crisis series on ThinkND featured Dr. Mark Lyons, President and CEO of Alltech with host, Rev. Gary Chamberland, C.S.C., director of the Notre Dame-Newman Centre for Faith and Reason in Dublin, Ireland. This discussion focused primarily on the challenges of climate change in the world today, and how Alltech, other organizations, and individuals can contribute to a better future in caring for our planet.

Lyons began his presentation with an overview of Alltech, the company his father founded in 1980. Alltech focuses on safe solutions for agriculture, improving the efficiency of food production, and investing in new technologies for food production. Lyons described Alltech as a purpose-driven company, meaning its impact on making the world a better place comes before making a profit. 

Lyons’ father believed the company’s purpose was one of the driving forces for success. Having a clear purpose set his company apart from others. That purpose started with him and the people who worked for him. Lyons said he had many conversations with his father about leadership focused on responsibility and accountability. Out of those many conversations, three lessons stood out to Lyons most. First, good leadership is love of your people. Secondly, in a crisis a leader must not panic. Lastly, good leaders make a difference. What Lyons learned from his father informs how he leads Alltech through the challenges that we face in the present.

One of these crises relates to climate change and food insecurity. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, these crises have become more and more apparent. To solve this problem, we need purpose and purposeful individuals to move things ahead. Besides the pandemic, our culture has become more and more advanced. We as humans want things cheaper, faster, and better. We have much higher standards, which also leads to higher disparities in inequalities. Companies with mission and purpose must step up to help solve these problems. 

As is inscripted in the Bible, humans are supposed to care for creation as God asked. We are to value creation as caretakers chosen by God. Lyons’ says his company is actively seeking ways to do this. Alltech has a blue ocean of opportunity to positively impact people and the planet through agriculture. However, this cannot be solved alone. Scientists, theologians, businesses, individuals must join together and collaborate to make this goal a reality. 


  • Alltech focuses on safe solutions for agriculture, improving the efficiency of food production, and investing in new technologies for food production, 11:30.
  • According to Lyons’ father, good leadership is love of your people, not panicking in a crisis, and making a difference, 20:40.
  • Since the pandemic, there’s been a wider disparity between the haves and have nots, 24:00.
  • Agriculture has potential to positively impact people and the planet, 35:34.

  • “When you have a why, you’ll find the how.” — Mark Lyons, 19:00
  • “Purpose is one of the driving forces of a successful business … We are seeing a seperation of companies that are putting profit first and companies that are putting people and the planet first.” — Mark Lyons, 19:35
  • “We need to have many purposeful companies and individuals moving things ahead.” — Mark Lyons, 24:10
  • “We were meant to tend and care for the garden that we were given. This is actually a divinely appointed responsibility.” — Mark Lyons, 29:19
  • “Science cannot make human beings content.” — Mark Lyons, 40:28
  • “The planet of plenty is possible. I think we can be very confident in this, but it begins with each of us. It requires a change in terms of how we engage with our resources, how we consume them, how we produce them, and how we interact with each other. Instead of taking hold of what we feel is ours, and pulling it close, we need to have an open hand to give and to collaborate.” — Mark Lyons, 41:00

Global Affairs