Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Meeting Climate Change Demands Is a Global Effort


Not so long ago, on a planet your feet are currently planted on . . .

. . . the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change held the 2015 conference in Paris. This was not the first global conference to address our focus on climate change, nor will it be the last. But, it was a pivotal moment for humanity. For the first time, in our history, we decided to act as a united world of various governments to combat as many climate change challenges as possible.

Although the Paris Agreement that came out of this event was adopted, the actionable outcome won't fully be realized until 2020 and is not expected to be signed until April 22nd, 2016. It is, however, an indicator of impactful thinking that will change how we address climate change in our day-to-day lives and world commerce. Corporations, in particular, linking our global commerce efforts, will be forced to investigate business model changes that 187 countries producing 99% of global greenhouse gas emissions are asking, and will continue to ask, them to do.

Now, not all of us have the time or money to be as proactive as Richard Branson or Elon Musk, or have as much unrestrained, self awareness to act like Kumi Naidoo or Jane Goodall. But, we are all responsible to make this change sustainable. How? I'm glad you asked . . .

Individuals - Do you practice daily efforts to reduce, reuse, and recycle? Do you shop at local businesses, grower's markets, and food co-ops? Do you compost daily? Carrying reusable bags for every shopping excursion as well as gardening & composting (I recommend vermicomposting) in your back yard, isn't as big of a task as you think - at least once you get started.

Businesses - Does your business embrace recycling efforts, from the top level down? Do you purchase or sell products and services derived from sustainable programs? Does your business have a Corporate Social Responsibility program built into the Business Plan? If businesses are updating their business models no less than yearly, making sustainable, meaningful change shouldn't be such an arduous task.

Industries - If individuals and their business models are the trains of thought that motivate us to change, then industries are most definitely the tracks that unite us and get us there. From small government to the UN, global policy change is driven by the industries that create the civil engineered roads we drive on, the architecturally structured buildings we live and work in, and the products & services that are the foundation. 

An industry that continues to surprise me is the film industry. Global in scale, it has moved far beyond Michael Moore's and Al Gore's valiant efforts to talk about the things we have deliberately chosen to ignore. Leonardo DiCaprio's awareness campaigning at the Academy Awards, not to discount his involvement in the People's Climate March or presentation to UN delegates, brought to light a changing tide in how we view & address global climate change. Celebrities as advocates for social change is nothing new, but addressing it through an industry like film, and then allowing public media, and especially social media, to run rampant with the notion, is phenomenally awesome.

What sustainable efforts do you embrace every day? Because one thing is certain - there is no fence riding on this one. It's up to us, all of us, each and every one of us, worldwide, to keep the momentum going.