Another wake-up call: will we sleep through the alarm?

ClimateCare’s Edward Hanrahan discusses the implications of a new report from from the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), a UK think tank, which warns of environmental breakdown.

Another week, another wake up call… I don’t know how many of them we need or if we have learnt to sleep through the alarm…

This one was different; it’s not about the Climate Crisis, or the air pollution crisis. It’s not about Insect-aggedon, industrial fishing or broader extinction issues. No; this report, launched by IPPR and titled with the clear message ‘This Is A Crisis’, highlights the very real nature of all of these individual crises and how they are all interwoven and inter-related with one common factor – anthropogenic activity – at their core.

Drawing on a wealth of scientific research, the report warns that human activity is driving us into an ‘age of environmental breakdown’. Human impacts are going way beyond climate change, reaching across natural systems to drive complex, pervasive and unrecoverable environmental damage. The cumulative pace of this disruption is unprecedented, and the outcomes could be catastrophic – and will be, if we continue our current trajectory.

Read the full report form the Institute for Public Policy Research here.

We should all recognise these alarm bells – from successive IPCC reports, the WWF living planet report, and so many others – but continually hitting the snooze button means we are running out of time to respond.

To quote the UN secretary general: “If we do not change course by 2020, we risk missing the point where we can avoid runaway climate change, with disastrous consequences.”

The scale of the environmental crisis demands transformational change. We need to fundamentally alter the way we produce, package and consume essential goods. We need to tackle unsustainable business models by pricing in their consumption of environmental public goods (including carbon, biodiversity, and fresh water), and we need a wholesale shift in how we value and protect our environmental and social capital.

Working towards this deep, systemic change is critical, but requires time, and leadership – political, corporate, educational – that we currently don’t appear to have. The time for waiting has gone; we all need to show that leadership now, examine our business models, and take action.
As the IPPR report highlights, we cannot afford to wait.

ClimateCare are already helping hundreds of forward-thinking businesses to take action today, turning their climate responsibilities into positive impacts for people and the environment.

We do not separate climate action from action on biodiversity and nature loss. Part of our role is to understand and communicate that the ‘crisis’ footing IPPR describes goes beyond climate, beyond carbon, and is as much about biodiversity and impacts on nature and people as it is about limiting the level of warming we face – in fact, they are one and the same.

We encourage our Partners to take responsibility for the impacts of their activities and to turn those into Positive Outcomes – for climate, water, biodiversity and people. Working with ClimateCare means supporting Climate+Care projects which cut carbon emissions and improve lives for some of the world’s most vulnerable populations, and which support wildlife and natural ecosystems – such as through forestry creation and preservation. We are excited to also be developing more opportunities to take action in the UK, from rewilding to peatland restoration and new woodland creation.

This is our wake-up call. Your organisation should be climate neutral now. Talk to us about turning your climate impact into positive outcomes for people, the environment, and your business.

Edward Hanrahan: Edward has managed ClimateCare’s development since 2007 and works closely with our in-country teams to structure finance and strategic partnerships for our global sustainable development projects. He advises banks, international development finance institutions and governments to help enable sustainable development at scale.