As I sit down to write the power is out, ashes are falling, and I’ve been evicted from my local national forest in California due to extreme wildfire danger. I always thought carbon pollution consequences would happen mostly after my lifetime, even after studying environmental systems and climate issues for the last fifty years frankly since I was a child.
But the 2020 disruptions are causing me to re-think the speed and breadth of the Climate Emergency. As an American Leadership Forum Senior Fellow and former technology executive, I’m taking a renewed “we can solve this” attitude to listening to our Earth scream for personal and collective action.
This year reveals four large & inter-related crises: the Covid pandemic, economic disruption, racial injustice resurfaced, and climate emergencies. Like the best informed and effective leaders, I am trained to engage toward the highest common good. Now we are called to be root cause “students” of the inter-connected 2020 calamities.
Inter-related emergencies? Well we know that our carbon intensive economy drove habitat loss that triggered the animal-to-human jump of the novel Covid virus and subsequent pandemic, economic disruption, and devastating impacts on non-white communities. It’s the same obsolete carbon economy that’s driving the gathering storm of climate change in cataclysmic wildfires, hurricanes, flooding, and disease amongst other impacts. These are not separate crises! Carbon pollution is a key shared enemy!
Today we all need to instigate thoughtful conversations to learn from the human response to the climate-related Covid crisis. How can our behavior speedily prevent and mitigate the Climate Emergency that dwarfs the impacts of even the Covid pandemic? Which actions will generate systems change away from obsolete fossil fuels to a renewable (non-carbon-pollution) economy, one that builds inclusion and jobs and health too, soonest and most decisively? What are the candidates’ urgent plans for this shift off the carbon-intensive economy?
Come along with me to re-discover how current emergencies inter-connect around the Climate Emergency via three articles geared toward elevating Climate Action dialogs with family and colleagues.
First, our eyes and climate experts tell us the health, economic, and equity impacts of the Climate Emergency are not “coming”; they are “here now” and bigger sooner than most scientists had predicted. We’re out of runway to say that we’ll eventually eliminate carbon pollution later:
On Climate Change, We’ve Run Out of Presidential Terms to Waste
The New Yorker: https://apple.news/AYsji6MBpQzCg8TWndUuOCA
Second, individual behaviors virally spread Carbon Drawdown and carbon debt “pay back” that reduce atmospheric carbon. Be sure to get to the last three paragraphs examining personal systems change here:
All That Performative Environmentalism Adds Up
Third, I recommend this (long but smart) NY Times session about lessons from the Covid crisis that apply to climate, economic recovery, and equity/inclusion crises. We’ve show we CAN act decisively at scale quickly in a serious global crisis. Listen especially from minute 25 onward.
A Rescue Plan for the Planet? Watch Our Video Debate
The New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/10/climate/netting-zero-debate.html?referringSource=articleShare
As passionate citizens of our shared Earth, you too are called to fresh reflection on our shared 2020 Carbon Pollution-related emergencies… and to accelerate personal & urgent Climate Action in everything we do from dialoging to voting to buying to leading.
Mark Bauhaus is a market-oriented systems thinker, Environmental Entrepreneur, Partner @JustBusiness, Mentor to purpose-driven startups, Senior Advisor to Joint Venture Silicon Valley and an American Leadership Forum Senior Fellow. He served 35+ years as a technology EVP / General Manager building global businesses up to $5 Billion revenue in internet consulting, software, hardware and networking products at Juniper Networks, Sun Microsystems, and Hewlett-Packard. Mr. Bauhaus graduated with a B.S. degree in “Business Management and Environmental Systems Analysis” with high honors from the University of California at Davis.