Eternal optimist discovers climate change

ESG

If you haven’t met me before, you should know I am a big time optimist. Even after learning many lessons (several humbling and hard) in business and personal life, I continue to be annoyingly positive about the future here on Earth. There is this ball of hope in me. It’s stubborn as hell. 

Enter me really digging into global warming 15 years into my career

I took a course from the University of Toronto on sustainability leadership in the Spring of 2022. The first week hit me like a brick. Our class read articles that were hard to get through. One that stuck with me was, “Yes I’m feeling bad about climate change. Let’s discuss,” by columnist Andrew Winston. I remember shouting from our home office to my family as I read – half joking, half serious – saying there is no returning from what I know now. 

Stuff I learned about global warming and climate change that sparked me to work in the field

  • The Earth is, without a doubt, warming up. This is directly due to our emissions, mainly carbon dioxide and others like methane (see chart from climate.nasa.gov below). Following the same line below, our planet’s temperature is also rising. Science has proven it. Global movements have started. Leaders in many of the world’s biggest countries have crafted plans to address it. 
  • Severe weather events are the result of this warming up (people are and will continue to be displaced, droughts and floods will be more common, etc.)
  • People alive today, and the next generations to come, are impacted by this 1.5 degree temperature rise. Quality of life for the poorest nations will get much, much worse. North Americans have and will continue to experience wild weather. 
  • I believe we should act on climate change. It is our moral duty. Plain and simple.  

Stuff I know about humans from my time so far in leadership and business

  • People are busy. 
  • The COVID-19 pandemic slowed us down, but then sped us back up. 
  • People act on issues that are in their face. A great example is the recent pandemic. Seeing people get sick promoted a heroic and speedy wave of action across the world towards vaccinations and heath care. 
  • Climate change and global warming are slow and gradual. They are almost abstract concepts. A good visual of this gradual warming is the boiling frog below.
  • Since Earth’s warming is slow, many think it is silly to act. 
  • People make up businesses. 
  • Businesses MUST make money, or they won’t exist.
  • Companies want to do the right thing, but they have limited resources and limited time.
  • They feel that acting responsible, sustainable, or greener means sacrificing profits.
  • Business owners are people. They often have a yearning to leave a positive mark on the world. 
  • Everyone worries deep down about the state of the world they are leaving for future generations. 

I needed this honest diagnosis of what climate change really means 

I am still educating myself. Climate change and global warming are dangerous realities. A million people are at risk of extinction in our lifetime as a direct result of our actions, and inactions. Reflecting on my own life, I chose convenience over sustainability many, many times. I have a ways to go. This work above forced me to see the harsh truths. 

Now the only way ahead for me it to marry my knowledge with passion and optimism. I plan to help as many people and businesses as I can get educated, get motivated, get smart, and get acting. 

Thanks for reading. Have a great day.