In 1992 I attended the Rio de Janeiro COP1 Talks, which had a life-changing impact on me. This was the first time I was presented with the full facts relating to our future through the climate change lens. This was without doubt one of the most honest conferences I have attended. At the time few of us really grasped the full impact of climate change. It was truly terrifying.
Most of us attending that COP1 left feeling deeply committed to acting in our own field of expertise. We were motivated to address how best to adapt or abate climate change in our own region.
Here we now are, thirty years on, starting to experience these consequences. What happened to that momentum so many of us expressed 26 COPs ago? What is done is done and we shouldn’t waste time apportioning blame. We need to focus on action.
According to the Interconnected Disaster Risk report by the United Nations University the world is “perilously close” to triggering tipping points that could have “irreversible, catastrophic impacts for people and the planet”.
The actions we now need to urgently take require familiarising ourselves with these looming thresholds because there is still a window of opportunity to avert the worst effects.
The authors of the report point to exploiting “positive tipping points”. By this they are referring to the need to have in place cascading and self-perpetuating positive impacts.
The cascading-effect very much resonates with the Earth Champions’ modus operandi.
We are teetering on the edge of a chain reaction of ecosystem collapse. Think key extinctions of species that are likely to trigger a cascade of extinctions leading to the collapse of ecosystems that humans rely on for food, water and livelihoods. Or the serious depletion of the world’s major freshwater aquifers. Currently these are being depleted at faster rates than they are being replenished. As it stands some two billion people rely on them for drinking and agriculture. When wells run dry, important global food bowls could be destroyed. This has already happened in Saudi Arabia and is predicted to start happening in the US this century and India this decade.
These are just some of the tipping points – and the point of my blog is this – we can still avoid the worst of the climate change impacts, and whilst we could sit back and wait for others to act, for governments to legislate and for mega-organisations to stop focusing on their bottom-lines, we can each and everyone of us make a dramatic shift in our behaviours and values. This alone would start a positive cascade effect.
Contact us if you would like to find out how we are reversing the cascade effect and what you can do to help us achieve this.