How to stay positive about climate change and keep reducing your emissions
Looking at BBC News today (28th November 2022), the headlines in the ‘climate’ section are ‘global summit is ‘last chance’ for nature’, ‘climate costs deal struck but no fossil fuel progress’, and talk around the ban of new onshore wind farms in the UK.
It seems there is often more negative talk than positive around climate change. Highlighting its effects is right, we are dealing with a risk that we need to mitigate, and fast. Yet, the doom and gloom approach is not productive in our experience. There is much we can do to protect the planet which is where the focus should be. Businesses, the education and public sectors in particular can have a positive impact.
Scrolling further through the same BBC News page, articles like ‘what you can do to reduce carbon emissions’ and ‘Plans for 100 more London ultra-rapid electric car chargers’ are there. These are what we should be paying attention to, even though they are hidden amongst cynical or political pieces that can make us feel deflated.
So, how do you put the good above the bad and stay motivated to reduce your emissions? Here are our top 6 tips:
Focus on collective effort
The only way we will mitigate the climate crisis is by pulling together. If we all took the ‘what’s the point?’ approach, nothing would happen. Your input does count. Think of it like a domino effect. The UN Environment Programme’s six-sector approach is a great example of how collective effort can deliver more than the needed 30Gt of emission reductions to limit the temperature rise to 1.5˚C . This article explains the rationale behind the 1.5˚C limit agreed upon at COP21.
Lead by example
On that note, becoming a role model is conducive to net-zero progress. There’s a reason case studies exist; they inspire us to also go down that path. An organisation doing the right thing and sharing its success becomes a beacon in its community, inspiring others to do the same. We have recently worked with Gloucestershire College on their GCZero project and, upon seeing their great work, other colleges have been in touch wanting to reduce their emissions, too.
Understand the benefits to your organisation
When it feels tough, or like you are one cog in a big machine, thinking of the benefits, even to your organisation alone, is enough to boost morale. From positive PR, boosted staff morale, cost savings, increased business resilience, and longevity, there are many advantages to reducing emissions that go beyond looking after the environment.
Not to say you should reduce your emissions for internal reasons only, but knowing that it will drive progress for your organisation is encouraging. Here are just some examples:
As the public demands more sustainable practice, a positive press piece on your environmental efforts can drive more business or support.
Boosted staff morale can lead to better productivity.
Cost savings can boost profits or allow you to reinvest in business development.
Increased business resilience and longevity provide reassurance for stakeholders and investors.
We have covered the benefits in more detail in our blogs:
Get colleagues on board
Around 70% of employees and job seekers say a sustainability program makes an employer more appealing.* In projects we have worked on, colleagues often champion sustainability projects and strategies, so bringing them on board is a positive experience.
If your workforce is motivated, the feeling spreads throughout the team to keep pushing on with the emissions-reduction plan. Share progress, results, and celebrate successes to sustain motivation.
We’ve written more on how to engage colleagues in your sustainability strategy here.
Be inspired by others
Flip the ‘lead by example’ mentioned earlier on its head. Look to other organisations who are reaping the rewards of going green. If in doubt as to whether your efforts will make a difference or benefit your place of work, take solace in the fact that others have successfully done so. There are case studies on our website showcasing clients who have implemented climate-friendly initiatives. The Green Gown Awards also celebrate education centres that have demonstrated sustainability excellence.
Look at the data
Among the challenges faced to combat climate change, it’s possible to see green shoots of progress.
Zurich Insurance Group has created an annual Climate Change Scorecard. Since 2017, it has measured 12 climate change-related metrics based on published data across several climate change-related areas.
You can see the positive progress here across 3 years, shown in green:
They named the rise of renewable energy and electric vehicle
usage as two key contributors to the progress. In 2022, we have seen a similar positive trajectory in both of these areas.IEA reports that renewable capacity is expected to further increase by over 8% in 2022. Additionally, the World Economic Forum stated that, in the first half of 2022, 4.3 million new battery-powered EVs (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) were sold globally. Sales grew by 75% and 37% respectively. More growth is predicted for the rest of 2022, with sales expected to rise by 57% in the year to 10.6 million.
It is crucial to look at the bigger picture in the face of droughts and melting glaciers. Find motivation in the solutions that have been developed and those that are still to come. If you need advice on progressing a sustainability plan for your organisation, get in touch with us for a chat. We can talk through any opportunities or barriers and then take it from there.