Declaring a climate emergency promotes focus, accountability, leadership, impact and a commitment to scientific evidence and honesty.
There’s no doubt that humans are more successful at achieving things when we have a clear vision to focus on.
The world we create is after all the manifestation of our collective vision, so it follows that solving the climate problem is far more likely to happen if we make it a central focus of what we do.
Declaring a climate emergency sends a clear signal to all businesses, and all levels of government that sustainability needs to be a priority and not an afterthought.
It’s well known that you are more likely to achieve a goal if you tell lots of people what you are trying to achieve.
It seems we respond better to the accountability of our peers than to ourselves.
Publicly declaring a climate emergency means that we must be able to demonstrate what action we are taking, and anyone can hold us to account on it.
There was a part of me that thought that we didn’t need to declare a climate emergency because we were already taking climate change seriously as a business.
What I was missing is that if businesses like ours don’t declare a climate emergency, then we can’t expect businesses or even government with less of an environmental focus do so.
What the world needs is not for small businesses like ours to be sustainable, but for all businesses to be sustainable.
Declaring a climate emergency is one more way that we can lead others to take climate change seriously.
It’s a great milestone that the SA Government has declared a climate emergency and that various other local governments across Australia are following suit. However, I believe strongly in taking ownership for the impact of our own actions.
Government has a lot of influence, but it has failed to take meaningful action for longer than my kids have been alive. Of course, we should ask them to do their job properly, but we should first do our own jobs properly.
A large proportion of human impact on the planet takes place through the actions of businesses. If we are to truly solve the climate crisis, we need the business community to face up to its role and tackle its own impact head on.
SO when a group of businesses declare a collective climate emergency with meaningful business actions, it sends a signal to government at all levels that climate action is of significant concern, and that government should also act with urgency.
The science is clear on climate change, and it tells us that we need to take meaningful action now.
We live in a world where we talk as if science is the rational basis for our decisions, in life and in business, and that scientific fact should never be disputed.
Yet when it comes to climate change, we behave as if the science is meaningless.
We cannot have it both ways. Either we believe the science or we deny the science. If we believe the science then we need to act like we believe it.
Declaring a climate emergency says that we believe the science.
As much as any of the above reasons, I believe in calling a spade a spade. We’ve created a situation that threatens the lives of millions of people, not just in the future, but people who are already alive today.
And yet we go about our business as if there’s no problem. We talk with great importance about this year’s profit margins, pension plans, GDP growth, the Wimbledon final, the latest Netflix series, and where we are flying to for the weekend.
Yet we show almost no recognition of the fact that we are already in the greatest emergency ever to face humanity. We’ve brushed it under the carpet for too long and we need to call it what it is – an emergency.
Declaring a climate emergency is one small step towards ending the collective denial that has driven us to this point, and a first step towards taking the radical action needed to ensure a positive future.
So that’s why we’ve declared a climate emergency, and why your business should too. The question should not be, why declare a climate emergency? The question should be, why not?