Climate emergency: Our role

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Written by Kim Hare on 14 February 2020

Responses to this in the UK vary widely. For some, this crisis changes everything – and a growing number of people (especially younger people) are suffering from acute climate anxiety, making decisions to not have children, and questioning all the plans they’ve made for the future. 

At the other end of the spectrum, some people are still wholly or partially in denial. Or they see this as a problem that’s a long way off in the future, far away in other parts of the world, and therefore not a major concern right now.

Even if people have accepted that we are in an emergency, one of the things I hear most often is “I just don’t know what to do – I feel powerless”. 

I’m writing this blog to support and challenge you in your role as a Learning & Development professional, a leader in your organisation, and also a human being. 

  • To share some ideas about how you can make a difference – both in terms of mitigation and adaptation to a climate-changed world.
  • To encourage you to talk about this with your colleagues, family and friends. 
  • To encourage you to influence those that are in senior leadership positions in your organisation to make this issue a priority. 
  • To influence them to ACT with urgency and boldness.
  • To reflect on how you can support staff across your organisation in coming together and sharing their ideas.

One thing is for sure - business as usual is no longer an option. 2020 will be a crucial year for tackling this emergency.

Mark Carney, the outgoing head of the Bank of England, issued a stark warning at the end of 2019:

“The world will face irreversible heating unless firms shift their priorities soon. The financial sector has begun to curb investment in fossil fuels – but far too slowly. Leading pension fund analysis "is that if you add up the policies of all of companies out there, they are consistent with warming of 3.7-3.8C".

Mr Carney added that the rise of almost 4C was "far above the 1.5 degrees that the people say they want and governments are demanding”.

Scientists say the risks associated with an increase of 4C include a nine metre rise in sea levels - affecting up to 760m people – searing heatwaves and droughts, and serious food supply problems.

“The concern is whether we will spend another decade doing worthy things but not enough... and we will blow through the 1.5C mark very quickly. 

Unless firms wake up to what he called the climate crisis, many of their assets would become worthless.

“A question for every company, every financial institution, every asset manager, pension fund or insurer: what’s your plan?”

It's clear that 2020 is our last chance to bring the world together to take decisive action on climate change in order to protect our communities and reverse the ecological breakdowns we have witnessed in recent years. 

There’s lots of support, information and ideas out there.

In this monthly blog, I will be taking a deep dive into such topics as:

  • Influencing your senior Leadership Teams to take bold Action
  • Creating in-house Regeneration Teams
  • How your organisation does what it does:  Questioning Everything from pension funds, banking (divesting from fossil fuels, for example), plans for growth, supply chains, energy, water, food, waste, buildings, transport, land use and more
  • Mental Health and Well-Being in the face of the emergency – supporting staff experiencing eco-anxiety or climate distress
  • Educating Employees on this issue, so that carbon footprints are radically reduced
  • Challenging how you do all your Training & Development

In the meantime, you can contact me at

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