In her final report as Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Jan Wright calls for the establishment of a non-political Climate Change Commission modelled on the UK, where emissions have fallen by 38% since 1990, whereas in NZ they have increased by 64%. Dr Wright wants the Commission to largely take politics out of climate change. "Otherwise it's not fair on our young people, this is their world."
As if to demonstrate Dr Wright’s point, one of the world’s most famous climate scientists, James Hansen, has just calculated the financial burden that tomorrow’s young citizens will face to keep the globe at a habitable temperature and contain global warming and climate change – a $535 trillion bill! Dad better start increasing the pocket money.
The opportunities to be more effective in reducing emissions are there also in Australia. By dragging their feet on using renewable energy, Australian corporate giants are missing out on cost savings, consumer loyalty, and a boost to their public reputations, says the country’s renewable energy agency. Out of the 92 largest public and private companies in the country, only 46 per cent use renewable energy.
But it doesn’t have to be this way, for example renewables and battery storage will replace gas as South Australia’s main source of electricity within eight years. According to the analysis by Wood Mackenzie and Greentech Media Research, battery costs will fall by 50% by 2025 and that 1,600 MWh of battery storage would be enough to satisfy South Australia’s needs.
At a time when climate change is a subject of heated political debate, brands need to mainstream sustainability, as demanded by their ever more environmentally aware consumers. Social media, advertising and news media are methods by which people are exposed or even barraged by concepts that shape the way they think. Corporate advertising can show sustainability in a good light, thereby securing its place among other commonly accepted societal notions.
While we take cues in daily life from media, our work lives often follow a path set by the executives who guide the direction of an organization. Workers ability to generate change is negligible unless leadership supports their views. Thus, it is important that the C-suite be informed about the benefits of sustainability, to allow the culture change that can then bring the many benefits to the organisation.
Meanwhile, three of the largest asset management firms in the world have realized that short term thinking is an impediment to long term growth. A good thing, because it signals a change in the business world away from short-termism. With 11 trillion dollars in assets in these three management firms, you can bet there will be others that get the message that sustainability is the best way forward.
The International Maritime Organisation has made positive steps towards decarbonising the shipping industry. Although no official policy exists, the IMO has announced that they “are committed to the decarbonisation of shipping by the second half of the century”, with Saudi Arabia and Brazil being the only members to vocalise opposition.
Stephen Ritz, a teacher in a South Bronx school, has motivated his students by incorporating gardening into the curriculum, moving graduation rates from 17% to 100%, and improving attendance to 93%. He started by building the garden with the students, and each day involved some kind of gardening adventure for the kids, from worm farming, to watching caterpillars become butterflies. Truly an inspiring end to snippets this week.
Thanks for taking the time to read this issue and we look forward to catching up with you again. If you have any items of interest you would like to submit, then please feel free to forward them.