Quit waiting for someone else to solve climate change

For over three decades many of us have watched the global discussion about climate change with growing alarm. The scientists have shown, with increasing certainty, that climate change presents an existential threat to our kids and their kids.

Photo: Jonne Roriz/Bloomberg

We have raged with frustration at the specious arguments put forward by those with vested interest in maintaining the status quo and governments’ seeming inability to provide concrete action. Environmental activists—now bolstered by anxious and angry youth—have ratcheted up the pressure, but protest can only go so far. At some point the hard work of building new ways of doing things must be done.

Addressing climate change is an astonishingly complex problem, touching virtually all business sectors, impacting nearly every community, and requiring the complex integration of many groups to achieve change. The enormous scope and complexity of the problem overwhelms many of us.

Some do what we can as individuals, making changes in the way we live and consume, but this feels minuscule in comparison to the scale of the problem and the destruction we see climate change causing in our province, our towns, our homes. The BC heat dome, the 2021 wildfires and the burning of Lytton, the extreme rain and flooding this fall have shown we need to find ways to do more.

Photo: Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press

Waiting for those in power—government, or big oil, or multi-national corporations—to fix our problems is a mugs game. Truth is, we all had a hand in creating climate change and we all need to do what we can to address it.

Many of us who sit on boards at medium-sized corporations, large not-for-profits or even strata councils have power—WE can make change. 

But how?

Much work has been done at those big bureaucracies we love to hate. The UN’s WorldEconomic Forum has developed principles for building climate change into good governance. Methods for calculating GHG emissions are available. The anticipated impacts of climate change have been analysed down to the regional level.

The concept behind Governance for Our Kids Climate is to bring these resources together and make them easily accessible to medium-sized organisations. We facilitate workshops to help boards build the fight against climate change into the regular planning and operations of mid-sized organisations. We actively seek out collaboration across multiple organisations and across sectors to leverage that change.

Imagine what we can initiate if many nonprofits examine their operations, programs and services and make concrete changes. Imagine what business can do if they reduce their GHGs and identify new clean-tech opportunities in the process. Imagine how all of this can be leveraged if we provoke sector-wide collaboration, and if sectors can find ways to work together to amplify these changes

Big change rarely comes by waiting for government legislation. It starts with a few determined people who inspire and enable many to work together to shift what is, at first, daringly different, to accepted, becoming a required social norm. When applied across multitudes of entities, that might just save our kids climate.

Michael Davis