Our Head of Net Zero shares her thoughts on what the everyday impact of our small decisions can mean for our jobs.
Leaving COP behind for one more year, government leaders, negotiators and activists are making their way back home. As many grapple with the meaning of the pledges made in Glasgow, some of us are sitting back wondering “What now?”; “What did they mean?”; “Is anything changing?”; “That’s all well and good but..”
International climate change summits and shared agreements are very important. They set the tone and lead to international action, but they can often feel ridiculously removed from what we, as individuals, are able to achieve. I want to offer you a different perspective: “what you can”, and probably are already, doing.
Most jobs and career choices have an impact on our climate, often times unintentionally. Simply by flipping the narrative to taking intentional actions and making considerate decisions, you are most likely increasing your impact on the outcome in the battle for the human race - because, let’s be completely honest here, the lump of rock we call home will survive without us. If we want to thrive alongside it, we have to act now.
Let's take a look at how you might already be doing just that. I have pulled together a list of job titles that may not immediately sound like they helping solve the climate crisis, but they will, just as long as they are intentionally impactful.
You are there to make sure that it is “right the first time, every time!” and you literally prevent waste from happening in the first place. No waste = no wasted carbon!
What is it made of? How will it be used? How will it get there? What will it be wrapped in? How will it end its life? That is literally every side of carbon reduction.
Are you designing processes to be low power consumption, more efficient, less likelihood of negative impacts on hardware? That prevents CO2 from building up!
Oh the wonderful worlds you speak of…history teachers & the industrial revolution; geography teachers & sea level rise and migration; maths teachers – think carbon accounting; business studies and politics – carbon taxation and the disproportionate burden on less wealthy countries. The future leaders, workers and parents are looking for to you for guidance - explore the impact of your subject.
Start-stop on your vehicle and making sure you're not idling? You're not braking too hard and you drive cautiously. That no doubt adds up to protect your life, but it is also saving all of ours by limiting the impact on the environment.
How does it get there? How much can you transport at once? What will save the most fuel? Those are all carbon calls!
You are toying with the abstract and turning a concept into accessible information. You are sharing ideas, how do you go about it? Moving away from power and material hungry communications is carbon curating.
Are you in charge of design and engineering out the risk? Do add in the risk of flood, heat, water shortage, material fatigue… You guessed it, that's all carbon.