Watching the heart wrenching and deeply shocking unfolding of a war on the Eastern edge of Europe can make the Climate Crisis feel like something that has a lower relevance and importance in our thinking. Some hardened long-term environmental campaigners and experts are expressing feelings of near panic as they see the already incredibly tight window for change now being occupied by these massive political and humanitarian challenges.
However, there are others who see that there are some potential positive opportunities that could come out of this horror show.
Firstly – energy security is now seen as a matter of huge importance, where and how we get our energy from is literally a matter of life and death. If we have our own energy from renewable sources we would be less held over a barrel of oil or a pipeline of gas and have greater freedom. The price of wind or solar energy, in real terms, haven’t been affected by this war. If we look back through history how many wars and how much political power mongering are based around energy. Imagine being free of that. Double win!
Secondly – we will need to learn to be far more efficient with our energy and awareness of this will be driven by cost. There is already political and media commentary on driving in a fuel-efficient way and turning down the thermostats by one degree. Company decisions around energy efficiency of transport fleets and buildings and estates and machinery and plant suddenly have a level of financial impact that could be a real driver of change. Double win!
Thirdly – maybe when we come through this, and hopefully we will, then we will be even more invigorated to work together, to solve our biggest challenges that will still be there.
There is a danger that the Climate Crisis that we are already starting to experience, can feel so overwhelming that we switch off or are caught frozen like a rabbit in the headlights. That can be as individuals and or as companies and organisations. So here are a few thoughts to help. I’m sure many of you reading this will already have started the process and some maybe doing amazing work so excuse me if I’m teaching Grandma to suck eggs.
1. Get outside and look around.
Feel and connect to nature. Take some time to breath and appreciate it, value it and make a little pledge to commit. Against this background experience be aware of changes. Plants are flowering up to a month earlier. These storms feel pretty intense and frequent. According to NASA the last eight years have been the hottest on record.
2. Read around the subject.
Scary bits but also some solution and positive bits. Books I’ve read this winter include Jonathan Porritt’s Hope in Hell – A Decade to Confront the Climate Emergency (a look at the Hell that we are heading towards but also the hope that we can have if we act), John Elkington’s Green Swans – The Coming Boom in Regenerative Capitalism, Mark Carney’s Values – Building a Better World For All and the fictional novel around the subject Bewilderment by Richard Powers. I’ve also read some completely unrelated works to keep my spirits high and to help not feel to overwhelmed or down.
3. If you haven’t done your own carbon footprint calculation yet then do it.
Get a carbon analysis of your company or organisation. There are consultants out there who can help or do the whole thing. Get Scope 1 and Scope 2 done ASAP. Scope 3 will be a lot harder but you will need to do this. If this doesn’t mean anything to you then you need to get up to speed urgently as it is fast becoming business critical. This is from the Carbon Trust: “Greenhouse gas emissions are categorised into three groups or ‘Scopes’ by the most widely-used international accounting tool, the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol. Scope 1 covers direct emissions from owned or controlled sources. Scope 2 covers indirect emissions from the generation of purchased electricity, steam, heating and cooling consumed by the reporting company. Scope 3 includes all other indirect emissions that occur in a company’s value chain.”
4. Get in contact with and participate in your industry or sector professional bodies and working groups on climate change, CO2 and sustainability as well.
There are some great examples such as the construction sector. The UKGBC (Green Building Council) Net Zero Whole Life Carbon Roadmap which sets out a way forward for sector whose emissions account for 38% of all global CO2 and just think we all live in, and most of us work in, buildings. If you or your company are about to build then don’t build what could well become a stranded asset.
5. Talk to your colleagues and friends.
We need everyone to be involved if we are going to rise to this challenge. Normalise it and get acceptance.
6. Get outside again, recharge those batteries and go again!
7. And repeat!
Written by Chris Hines MBE
If you want to hear more from Chris Hines MBE he will be speaking at our next event The SHE Show North East, 26th April 2022, St James’ Park, Newcastle United Football Club.
Chris Hines MBE, A Grain of Sand
Chris has been working and campaigning for the environment for 30 years and revels in inspiring positive change. He was a Co-founder and then Director of Surfers Against Sewage from 1990 till 2000. Regarded as “some of the Government’s most sophisticated environmental critics” by the BBC and “Britain’s coolest pressure group.” By the Independent, the SAS helped deliver massive environmental improvements. Chris was then Sustainability Director at the Eden Project for 5 years. This included conceiving and delivering “Waste Neutral”, an early version of the circular economy and helping embed the triple bottom line of sustainable business practice throughout the organisation. He’s been campaigning against ocean plastics since 1990! He’s given evidence to the UK parliament, the Monopolies and Mergers Commission, the European Commission, briefed the President of the European Parliament, been a special advisor to the Minister for the Environment and appeared on a wide range of media from BBC World Service and Panorama to CNN. In 2008 he was awarded an MBE for “services to the environment” in the Queen’s Birthday Honours and an Honorary Doctorate of Science from the University of Plymouth. Surfers Path Inaugural Green Wave Award winner (a global award).
Please note, the views expressed by the original article author are theirs alone and do not necessarily represent those of Washingtondowling Associates Ltd or The SHE Show and therefore we take no responsibility for the content or accuracy of this post.