In 1969, Apollo 11 was propelled into space and history when it gave us images of our magnificent planet seemingly suspended in mid-air. Our awareness of the Earth’s biosphere changed forever. Since then, we have come a long way, particularly when it comes to comprehending and unraveling issues such as climate change.
Cut to 2021: There have been multiple reports released on how climate change is having radical effects on healthcare and human lives, and a global pandemic has disrupted the world. The yesteryear images from Apollo 11 suddenly start to fade, don’t they?
Why is addressing climate change important?
Climate change could cause more than 130 million people to enter poverty by 2030, a report by World Bank said. Furthermore, the warming of the atmosphere by even a few degrees could lead to severe heat waves, water scarcity, higher sea levels, lower crop yields, disappearing coral reefs and even malaria transmission.
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Climate change is also expected to cause 250,000 deaths per year between 2030 and 2050, and “climatologists forecast further warming, along with changes in precipitation and climatic variability, during the coming century and beyond,” the World Health Organization reported. The direct damage costs to health are estimated to be between $2 billion and $4 billion per year by 2030, the WHO also said. In short, climate change is threatening to undermine decades of progress in global health through negative health outcomes and healthcare system disruptions.
In this context, as a human being first and as an entrepreneur who believes in giving back to society in any form I can, I believe working toward sustainable living and development is of utmost significance. I also have a not-for-profit organization that invests in the youth of India and empowers them with digital skills. A goal of mine is to help them leverage technology in a way that sustains innovation, helps them improve themselves and benefits the economy of the country.
Leaders and companies of all sizes should pay attention to climate change because there is no denying the fact that climate change is impacting every aspect of the community we live in. Together, leaders can work toward structuring responses to climate policies, fostering global discussions, reducing carbon footprints and incorporating climate plans in business strategies.
Who is most at risk?
Weather disasters, such as flash floods, hurricanes and wildfires, and even locust swarms have been linked to climate change. Developing nations are especially vulnerable to the impacts of a changing climate. This is also true for regions relying on natural resources to survive; if important natural resources are affected or devastated, their ability to feed their families and lead healthy lives is significantly impacted. However, these are also the areas least equipped to find ways to overcome such threats. The cycle is glaringly vicious.
How can businesses help?
The United Nations has said we have until 2030 before “irreversible damage” to the climate sets in. But as leaders, I believe we will not be able to accomplish anything alone, especially a problem as complex as climate change.
For this reason, each stakeholder in an organization should consider what types of actions they can take. Personally, in my offices, our primary focus has been to begin small wherever we can, such as using energy prudently, using and wasting as little paper as we can, avoiding plastics in our product packaging, etc. There have been days when my entire team and I have sat together and discussed the mechanisms we can put in place to help tackle this looming cloud.