Minimizing Your Impact on Climate Change

Minimizing Your Impact on Climate Change

We're doing what we can, both as a company, and as active citizens, to prevent climate change. But the fact is, it's going to happen. What can we do to minimize the damage?

It's an unpleasant question, but an important one. Even if we stopped greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions tomorrow, climate impacts would continue to unfold for decades or more. So this is worth facing up to.

Dr. Amy Stover of the Climate Impacts Group (CIG) suggests that planning for change requires that we address both (1) how much change we want to see, and (2) how deal with the inevitable impacts. We can either wait or react, she notes: "History shows that reacting to change is more expensive than anticipating it, and change takes time."

CIG's climate change guidebook, due out this fall, discusses both why and how to prepare. Some key points:
  • get familiar with the potential impacts;
    (for example, check out this Google Maps Sea Level Rise Mapper -- and prepare to quake in your [very wet] boots)
  • recognize that the past is no longer a guide to the future;
  • integrate climate change projections into your planning process;
  • increase the resilience of regional systems;
  • monitor regional clients & resources for ongoing change;
  • design for surprises, with flexible management & policies
"Integrate climate change projections into your planning process" holds particular importance for businesses, since businesses that don't -- at least as contingency planning -- may be putting themselves at risk (and, if they're public companies, may be violating fiduciary duty to their shareholders).

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Gil Friend, systems ecologist and business strategist, is president and CEO of Natural Logic, Inc. -- offering advisory services and tools that help companies and communities prosper by embedding the laws of nature at the heart of enterprise. Sign up online to receive his monthly column via email. Read Gil's blog here.