Business as usual not an option

Plenty of reports over the weekend highlighted the growing impact climate change is having on food production, health services, water supplies and transportation.

In the United States scientists warned about the impact global warming has on everyday life.  In the US Global Change Research Program draft National Climate Assessment, published this week, it states that many more impacts of human-caused climate change have  been observed. This includes “corn producers in Iowa, oyster growers in Washington State, and maple syrup producers in Vermont noticing changes in their local climate that are outside of their experience.”

While in Australia record temperatures continue to fuel fires raging throughout the continent. The heat and flames doing little to help the struggling agricultural producers. And in the UK many communities are still cleaning up after the excessive floods that hit parts of the country in November and December.

Forest fires and  flooding will continue as the climate changes

forest fire_danilo rizzuti

Photo: Danilo Rizzuti

The weather is not the only thing that’s changing. Last year manufacturing and engineering sectors reported concerns about the growing pressures on resources. The costs of materials continues to rise, particularly those elements greatly in demand but which are difficult to extract. Population growth rises on an upward trajectory, raising questions about how everyone will eat, let alone the impact on energy and water supplies. If our approach remains one of ‘business as usual’ the costs are only going to go in one direction.

As businesses we need to learn how to do more with less, adopt different attitudes, rethink the way we do things. It will require technological change but more importantly little can be achieved without  human involvement, from redesign to implementation. Encouraging people to change their ways will be essential and we’ll need greater focus communicating messages that grab attention, create interest and spur people into action. It won’t be easy but doing nothing is no longer an option, not with an increase in costs.

Making better use of resources continues to be promoted by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, which recently produced a new animation on creating a circular economy. Worth taking  a look.

The Circular Economy: from consumer to user

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