creativity

What will the world be like if we take no climate action now?

We hear a lot about climate change and how devastating the impacts will be if we do nothing. To save the planet is the reason I decided to go back to graduate school at University of Cambridge in Sustainability Leadership and pivot my career to focus on this cause. But what does a lack of climate action mean specifically, decade by decade? What happens to the planet, and to us, if we stay on our current trajectory? And just as importantly, where do we go if we have an idea for climate action?

The World Economic Forum (WEF) has a 2-minute video outlining some of the specific impacts of continued climate change on our current path starting in the year 2030 and going through 2100. The impacts are sobering, backed up by scientific research referenced in the video, and outlined in the list below.

But all isn’t lost. We do have a short period of time right now to make massive changes to save the planet, the species with whom we share it, and create 395 million jobs with the transition to a nature-positive economy. Said another way, biomimicry and creating our built environment, products, and services based on nature’s design principles is the answer—we must transition to a nature-positive economy and society.

And if have an idea for climate action, WEF wants you to share that idea and get involved through their free online community portal called UpLink where you’ll find hope, information, data, and updates on climate action projects that are underway right now.

What does the world look like in the coming decades if we don’t take climate action. Here’s a sampling of that future:

The 2030s:

  • Ice caps and crucial ice sheets continue to melt, swelling sea levels by 20 centimeters [7.87 inches]
  • 90% of coral reefs threatened by human activity, while 60% are highly endangered
  • Dwindling crop yields push more than 100 million more people into extreme poverty
  • Climate change-related illnesses kill an additional 250,000 people each year

The 2040s:

  • The world has shot past its 1.5-degree Celsius [2.7-degree Fahrenheit] Paris Agreement temperature rise limit
  • Bangladesh, Vietnam, and Thailand are threatened by annual floods, sparking mass migration
  • 8% of the global population has seen a severe reduction in water availability
  • The Arctic is now ice-free in summer
  • Sea levels have risen 20 centimeters [2 feet] in the Gulf of Mexico, where hurricanes deliver devastating storm surges

The 2050s:

  • 2 billion people face 60-degree Celsius [140 degrees Fahrenheight] temperatures for more than a month every year
  • In much of the world, masks are needed daily–not for disease prevention, but to protect our lungs from smog
  • The Northeast United States now sees 25 major floods a year, up from 1 in 2020
  • 140 million people are displaced by food and water insecurity or extreme weather events

2100 and beyond:

  • The average global temperature has soared more than 4 degrees Celsius [7.2 degrees Fahrenheit]–and even more in northern latitudes
  • Rising sea levels have rendered coastlines unrecognizable, and Florida has largely disappeared
  • Coral reefs have largely vanished, taking with them 25% of the world’s fish habitats
  • Insects have been consigned to history, causing massive crop failures due to the lack of pollinators
  • Severe drought now affects more than 40% of the planet
  • An area the size of Massachusetts burns in the US every year
  • Southern Spain and Portugal have become a desert, tipping millions into food and water insecurity

This is a terrifying, painful future and it’s only a few years away right now. But again, we know what we need to do—create our built environments, products, and services to mimic those of the natural world. Biomimicry can save us and the natural world. This means we must:

  • exit fossil fuels in favor of renewable energy sources
  • restore, protect, and expand natural habitats and wild areas
  • end the use of single-use plastic and harmful chemical pesticides

None of this will be easy but the choice is truly one of life—ours and all the other species who are counting on us to change our ways and clean up how we live on this planet—or death. Either we choose to make these difficult choices now in our companies and governments, or we are forced to make them later when it may be too late. To learn more and get involved, please visit UpLink: https://uplink.weforum.org/uplink/s/. We have no time to waste and the planet needs all of us to take action.

creativity

A Year of Yes: I switched my electricity to 100% renewable wind and solar

I want to talk to you about something that I’m very passionate about. I grew up on a farm in the Hudson Valley and spent the majority of my childhood outside. That experience gave me a healthy respect and passion for our planet. It also instilled in me a deep love for science, animals, and our role in the ecosystem.

When I was in high school, I had a summer internship at our local power planet, Central Hudson, as a part of winning the Rensselaer Medal. There I learned so much about energy production and consumption, and it’s remained a supreme area of interest for me.

This week’s climate change report and the news of Hurricane Michael hit me like a ton of bricks so I did some digging about what I could personally do. 90% of NYC’s electricity is generated by coal. Today, I switched to 100% renewable wind and solar energy. The switch took 1 minute online. My service and provider stay the same. Con Ed will just source all my electricity from wind and solar.

I might pay a little more or less than I do now. Rates are variable no matter what their source; they’re based on how many people are using how much power at any given time. Here’s a link to learn more. This is a national program and can be used by anyone in the country with any electricity provider.

Thanks for listening and caring.

creativity

Wonder: Where to place your time

The tug of war between what you need to do and what you want to do can be a challenging battle. I know lots of people working a day job to support themselves financially while working on a passion project during their evenings, weekends, and free time. I also know people who have quit a lucrative day job to pursue their passions full-time. I have done both, and both are challenging. Neither scenario is easy. Neither scenario is as dreamy as it appears to be on the surface. Neither is a one and done solution to anything. Each has its own flavor of stress and anxiety, as well as peace and joy. And it shifts day-to-day, sometimes hour to hour.

Here’s what I know to be true: you are in control of your mind, emotions, and time. Your thoughts and energy are yours and yours alone. No one, and I mean absolutely no one, ever owns them except you. And where your mind, energy, and time goes, your life goes.

Some of you will find a day job and side passions work for you. Some will find that pursuing your passions full-time is the best life. And there isn’t a point-of-no-return on either of these. I quit my day job in 2012 and ran my own business for 3 years. They were wonderful and trying years. In 2015, I took a full-time job again, closed my business, and have have continued to work on a variety of creative projects. This has also been a wonderful and trying year. Yes, there was a huge amount of variation between these two experiences, and yes, they were the right choices for me for those times. Once I made those decisions, I never looked back. I don’t regret either of those choices, and I never will. My life is unfolding one page at a time, and like a good book, I’m savoring all of the words.

If you are in the process of wrestling through these weighty decisions about life and career now, a lot of people are probably giving you their two cents, even if you didn’t ask them for their opinions. The only opinion I have for you is to do what you need to do for you. Right now. Always. Your story isn’t the same as someone else’s story. Your goals and talents are yours. Treasure them. Protect them. Go in the direction that feels right to you. There will be bumps in the road. There will be off-ramps, flat tires, and wrong turns. But there will also be some smooth sailing and many fellow travelers along the route who will help and guide you. You will experience all of it no matter what choice you make.

The only yardstick I use is this: if it all ends tomorrow, am I glad and grateful for the way I spent today? Did I wake up with a purpose and do my best to take one step along that purposeful path? That’s all we can do, and that is enough.
creativity

This just in: Spend your time where it counts the most

Friends
Friends

Kaufman and Hart were right about so many things, especially this – you can’t take it with you. Everything that you can hold in your hands will eventually break or be tossed aside. I don’t collect things. I don’t even like the idea of having too many things beyond the basic necessities. I am constantly amazed by how few material things I need to love a good life. What I collect and cherish are the things that will last a lifetime: the amazing relationships I have with people and the memories of experiences we have together. So let’s put our attention and energy where it really counts: focused on the people who make our lives so worth living.