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Posts Tagged ‘Climate Change’

We all know what it’s like to keep putting something off that we really should have started ages ago, whether it’s sorting out that cupboard at the top of the stairs which hasn’t seen the light of day for years, organising your personal files and papers instead of squeezing them into the draw in which you can never find anything when you need to, or even getting around to redecorating, which was just the bedroom that needed doing when you originally thought of doing something, but now seems to have turned into the whole house.  Before you know it the job seems far too big to tackle, with no easy starting point so it’s easier to pretend you can’t see it, rather than thinking of how good it will be when the job is actually finished.

That’s where Start comes in.  It’s the new project established by HRH The Prince of Wales being launched in Scotland by Scottish Business in the Community (SBC) and their Mayday Network in partnership with Essential Edinburgh.  Start promotes and celebrates sustainable living, showcasing best practice examples and providing people with positive messages and easy starting points to begin their sustainable living journey.  HRH The Prince of Wales will be attending the national launch event ‘Start in St Andrew Square’ festival in Edinburgh from Saturday 4th to Monday 6th September which will focus on the key themes of Transport, Energy, Waste, Food/Lifestyle.

 

Start hopes to build on the success of The Mayday Network, which now has over 2,800 businesses across the UK committed to tackling climate change and creating sustainable business practice.  The network is free to join and asks that your business is dedicated to tackling the effects of climate change.  The benefits of joining the network to your business range from saving money to free support.  The businesses involved in The Mayday Network will play an integral role in developing Start and supporting consumers on the same journey which they have already been through.

If you are an individual or a business who is interested in finding out more, why not join The Mayday Network or go along to one of the Start events so that you can become involved at the beginning of this new journey.  Go on, give it a try, you know what happens when you keep putting it off.

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And that’s the point, if you don’t know, you are better to find out in advance and like any good boy scout, ‘be prepared’. 

Adapting to Climate Change: A Guide for Businesses in Scotland, was launched last month by the Scottish Climate Change Impacts Partnership (SCCIP) and is a good starting point if you would like to learn more about the risks and opportunities that climate change may pose to your business.  SCCIP also have a dedicated Private Sector Officer who can offer free guidance and support if you would like some more in depth advice.

Being prepared for climate change can mean anything from assessing the current situation and gaining reassurance that no action is needed, to changing location of your store room to prevent stock from becoming flooded and damaged, to more long term changes like looking at new markets for your goods and services. 

We all contribute to climate change, but we can also all do our bit to try and reduce by how much.  One of our main messages, that everyone can get involved with, is that by reducing the amount of waste you send to landfill, you can reduce the amount of methane gas that is created, which is a major contributor to climate change.

As we all play a part in creating climate change we will all have to deal with the consequences, and warmer, drier summers and milder, wetter winters will affect us all in some way (and not just in terms of how many times you get chance to use the BBQ in one summer!), but only you can tell and plan for the extent of which climate change will influence the future of your business.

A lot less of this...

......could also mean a lot more of this

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Pen Hadow on an earlier trip

Pen Hadow on an earlier trip

Watching the curiously monikered Pen Hadow issue a genuine cry for help from the Arctic via video-link this morning was a moving experience. As he sat on his sledge, wrapped in protective clothing and surrounded by ice, he simply said

“May Day, May Day. We need your help.”

As it turned out he wasn’t in peril. His cry wasn’t intended to save his soul or that of his fellow explorers. He was saying “May Day” to alert us all to the findings of the research he has been carrying out in the Arctic area. Research which shows that the levels of sea ice have fallen far below that of even the most pessimistic estimates. Where calculations previously suggested the ice might have shrunk to just 3m thick it is, in fact, barely 1m. In the summer the ice will disappear completely and in a few winters time may never reappear.

As Pen pointed out, looking at the shrinking ice caps represents one of the biggest visual signs we can get that the planet is warming (or indeed has warmed) to well beyond what any of us would consider to be a sustainable level and that it will impact on thousands of species with which we share our home, not least our fellow man.

Melting ice caps means four major things for our planet:

  1. We lose part of the Earth’s best methods of reflecting sunlight and heat (ice is kind of like a mirror.)
  2. We reduce the salinity of the sea, diluted by the fresh water in the ice, thus affecting weather.
  3. We raise the level of the sea by increasing the volume of water within it.
  4. It is an indication that other elements of our world are also going to be adversely affected (weather, agriculture, jobs, security etc. etc.)

Today’s Prince’s May Day Summit on Climate Change was about more than looking at the arctic and ice though. It was about challenging businesses to look at ways in which they are responsible for climate change across the board. I was in Edinburgh at the Scottish Business in the Community’s leg of the May Day Summit (there were events all over the UK, involving over 1,300 businesses) and we heard from a variety of excellent speakers about the issues we all face.

We also watched a live link to the London event where we heard from HRH Prince of Wales (Prince Charles) about the May Day Summit and his efforts towards expanding the network to encourage more businesses to get involved. And by getting involved it’s not enough to sign up, you have to pledge something about the way you will tackle climate change.

The Prince Walks the Walk

The Prince Walks the Walk

I made a pledge on behalf of Keep Scotland Beautiful (Waste Aware Business operates as part of KSB) to both reduce our carbon impact and encourage staff to do the same at home.

Prince's May Day Summit Logo

Prince's May Day Summit Logo

All in all it was a very interesting day and one which once again showed the need for urgent action. How many times do we need to be shown the need for urgent action? As HRH himself said “people often wait until they hit a brick wall before deciding to change direction”. The problem with climate change? The wall’s invisible and we only know it exists because of the work of people who care enough about our planet to recognise it. Now it’s up to us to make the wall appear!

To sign up to the May Day Network and be part of the solution, click here.

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