Climate for a Change

 

“…as Rome burned….”

 

When you witness the current and very obvious climatic issues surrounding us, you must feel that the warning signs have been there, and largely ignored for a very long time.

 

And you’re correct.

 

Warnings were emerging in the 1960s about the effects of fossil fuels on our global habitat.

 

Intelligence agencies were warning of mass migration and political unrest, and were acutely aware of the social effects of the “snap” climatic changes that occurred between the 14th and 19th century, where drought, famine and war were prevalent.

 

We now have intolerable temperatures occurring in the southern US, Europe and around our planet.

 

We have floods, we have mass migration and we have famine as a feature of daily global life. 

 

And yes, we have wars.

 

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has produced a report that leaves the reader with an unequivocal picture of the alarming rise in global surface temperatures:

 

In that report is says:

“That extra heat is driving regional and seasonal temperature extremes, reducing snow cover and sea ice, intensifying heavy rainfall, and changing habitat ranges for plants and animals—expanding some and shrinking others.  As the map below shows, most land areas have warmed faster than most ocean areas, and the Arctic is warming faster than most other regions.”

 

 

 

John Elkington’s “Triple Bottom Line” was conceptualised nearly 30 years ago and adopted as the title of Shell’s 1997 sustainability report.

 

It expands the concept of “profit” from simply “economic” to also include “social” (people) and “environmental” (planet).

 

Whilst it has historically been presented as a three circle Venn diagram, our view is that it is more correctly represented as three concentric circles (per our image). 

 

Simply put, without “planet” there are no “people” and there is no “profit”.

 

So, why are the various COPs failing to produce consensus and truly affirmative action on climate change? 

 

Is it political?

 

Is it too hard to focus on climate when you have quarterly targets to meet?

 

Is it because it’s difficult to focus on a climate emergency when you can’t feed your kids? 

 

Is it difficult to even think about climate change when your home has just been destroyed, and your loved ones killed, in a missile strike?

 

It’s all the above and more.

 

But change there must be. 

 

It’s incumbent upon leaders, globally, to seize this intractable issue and start moving the thermometer in the other direction, and fast.

 

We’ve said in previous posts that leadership isn’t positional, it’s inherent and exists throughout organisations and society.

 

Another  basic and fundamental of sustainable change is to engage a very large number of people in the opportunities presented by the change. 

 

“How will tomorrow look different from today?”.

 

Leaders need to be framing the urgent need for change in terms that are additional to the usual burning platform (or planet). 

 

That actually triggers the survive instinct in people, which increases their resistance to change.

 

The framing needs to create a clear picture of the opportunities of addressing human-driven climate change, and that framing needs to take place now. 

 

There are great opportunities for people and profit by ensuring that the planet remains sustainable for not only our, but all living species.

 

This isn’t a utopian dream but unquestionably a choice within our discretion and capability.

 

Ultimately, if we do nothing, the world will simply keep turning, as it has for 4Bn years, and human life (and profit) will become increasingly unstainable.

 

Or, we can look beyond the horizon, above the haze layer, and visualise and act towards a strategic vision that grasps the near infinite opportunities before us.

 

That takes leadership and leadership is everyone’s business.

 

 

 

 

#change #leadership #climate #globalwarming #triplebottomline #opportunity

 

 

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