Humans have achieved a lot! We ventured out in space, found cures for many diseases, increased our average age, and explored the furthest corners of this planet. At the same time, however, we lost almost 50% of our rainforests, we breathe polluted air, see our oceans drowning in plastic, witness the majority of species reaching the brink of extinction and our natural resources diminishing.
Profit and market share are the dominant factors companies and industries aim for, but this strategy proved not to be sustainable over the long run. Our global economy is built on the natural world. Millions of jobs depend on healthy oceans, forests, soil, or other environments, so a further depletion of nature brings us closer and closer to that day X when Mother Nature simply will have nothing more to give. Already today, we use more resources than our planet can replenish. So, a course correction is not only necessary; it is inevitable!
The exploitation of nature and excessive emission of greenhouse gases awakened a real monster. Climate Change is no longer a potential danger that is somewhere up the horizon; it is the greatest threat humankind has ever seen, and it will challenge us in many different ways. Storms, floods, heat waves and droughts are some of the events we are already witnessing more frequently. And while we are still discussing if climate change is man-made or not, the clock is ticking. According to an extensive report released by the United Nations in 2017, we have barely ten years left to halt global warming at 1.5 degrees. Everything beyond that comes very close to the point of no return - a level of heat in the atmosphere that might trigger events we won't be able to stop anymore. Scientists warned us for decades, but we did not take them seriously and continued to trade our future for short-term profits. Even today, we still don't seem to understand that we are running towards a catastrophe of enormous magnitude. In 2018 alone, the ten major natural disasters worldwide caused damage of $85 Billion.
This amount doesn't include the increasing cost of health care as people are suffering from pollution, water shortage, or sea level rise. But it doesn't end here. The warming climate is an ideal breeding ground for Malaria and Dengue fever. Storms can contaminate water sources and cause the spread of infectious diseases. If our oceans continue to heat up, fish stocks will further decline due to a lack of oxygen. Poverty and malnourishment will reach unprecedented highs and lead to displacement and conflicts. The war over water and food will become a daily topic in our news.
Climate Change is not a single incident. It starts with what we see today, but it will launch an avalanche of further events that will push life as we know it to the limit - also to our limit. So the question should not be if we can afford climate action; it should be if we can afford not to act. We need to find a way to unite all countries around the world in this joint endeavour to tackle this crisis efficiently.
So what we urgently require are unity and global efforts of Governments, the public and private sectors and every one of us to reach this single most important goal in human history. We need to start treating this crisis as a crisis and stop discussing if we can afford climate action.
As consumers, we need to take responsibility for our actions and lifestyles rather than leaning back, waiting for our leaders to find common ground.
Our level of technology opens up an array of possibilities and here is where we have many options for future growth. Renewable energy, waste management, recycling, sustainable fishing, agriculture, manufacturing, transportation, packaging or food and beverage - all these industries have tremendous potential for sustainable growth. What we need now is the collective acknowledgement that we have to act - all of us! The days are gone that we can wait for others to solve the problem. Every one of us takes thousands of decisions daily. Let's turn these decisions into conscious choices that will support life for us and our future generations!
If you need further inspiration on sustainability and how your business can reduce its carbon footprint reach out to me or book me as a corporate trainer for your team! Let's create change - together!