The recent IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report paints a grim picture of the planet’s future, yet at the same time there’ is still room for optimism.
We have a window of opportunity to respond to the global environmental challenges which humanity has created for ourselves. The timeframe we are talking about is just 12 years. I’ll say that again; Just 12 Years. In this post, you will read how seemingly far off places affect our survival and touch on how our actions relate back to us via those regions.
The report details the changes civilisation has already committed to; a 1% increase in global temperatures, since pre-industrial times. Humour me here, reader, and allow me to explain what that means.
1% – That’s Not Much – Is it?
A 1% increase in temperature doesn’t necessarily lead to our winters here in the UK being just a touch less cold. What is already happening is more extreme than that. The result is changes in weather patterns, with greater extreme events. For example, the more frequent and severe forest fires in California we’ve been hearing about in the news.
At home, flooding in the UK is already affecting businesses, such as the events seen in recent years in Kirkstall Leeds and York. Livelihoods were permanently affected at those establishments which have not re-opened. You may think of York as historically prone to flooding, but the timeframe between recurrences has shortened, making recovery impossible and properties uninsurable.
The IPCC report explains the difference between a further rise to 1.5 degrees versus a full 2 degrees change in global temperature. There’s more than a modicum of urgency about reaching only the lower end of this range. Which, I hasten to add, can be achieved. If – and only if – we all, as a society and individuals pull together.
Here’s a compelling image. Jump into a David Attenburgh episode of Blue Planet, with all those stunning coral reefs. Warming seas are already bleaching delicate corals and destroying vast swathes of reefs. Many people are not aware that the oceans provide 85% of our oxygen, much of it from coral.
Our current activities are reducing the planet’s ability to provide the air we need to breathe. “If you can’t breathe, nothing else matters,” states Denise Breitburg, Smithsonian Institute Scientist.
Reasons to Wake Up and Open the Window
We can no longer hide under the duvet of complacency. Words like ‘resilience’ and ‘mitigation’ continually appearing in environmental research documents and commentaries. A Sustainability Programme to structure business planning for responding to the challenges cannot be seen as an extravagant use of resources – it’s more of a necessity.
The IPCC report encouragingly suggests that we DO still have an opportunity to shape our own future, although this window is closing. However, there is a level of urgency which we can no longer ignore. For both companies and humanity to survive into an operable future we all have a responsibility to step up, both in the workplace and personally.
Let’s do it!
Drop me a line now, to find out how to go about it.