Image credit:
Rūta Celma/unsplash
Image credit:
Rūta Celma/unsplash

A brief history of climate change

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"You have heard of him, you have seen him, and you have read much about him." That's how Bénédicte Herbout and Marie Queneuille launch their pitch on climate change. And it's true: climate change is present; in the news, on social media, in our everyday lives. But do we really have an overview of all its impacts? And our influence on it? The Climate Pitch at OutDoor by ISPO 2023 motivates us to rethink our impact on the climate.

We should protect what makes us happy

Even though this should be beyond question, especially in the outdoor community, Bénédicte and Marie make it more than clear right from the start what climate change is all about. "What makes you happy?"is the first question with which the two environmental experts catch the audience of the interactive session. The answers from the outdoor-loving listeners come as no surprise: hiking, mountaineering, surfing, cycling.

And then Bénédice and Marie confront their audience with the hard facts:

The most important figures at a glance

1,1 %. This is probably the most important figure mentioned in the Climate Pitch. That's the percentage by which global temperatures have risen since 1850. Doesn't sound like much at first, does it? Does 5% sound a bit more daunting? After all, if we continue as we are now, we'll crack this dramatic warming as early as 2100. The fact that the climate is continuing to rise naturally is confirmed by the climate experts. But with a relevant twist: the speed at which this is happening is man-made. After all, 1.1% from 1850 to the present day sounds a lot more dramatic when you know that the global temperature rise between the peak of the last ice age and 1850, a period of almost 20,000 years, was only about 5%. I wonder if industrialization has had a hand in this since then?

But who or what is actually to blame? We, each and every one of us, must attribute 25% of the climate change to ourselves. However, politics, industry and business have the greatest influence on the climate crisis, accounting for an enormous 75%.

Right: Bénédicte Herbout, Senior Sustainability Consultant, CHANGESthatMATTER / Left: Marie Queneuille, Managing Director, CHANGESthatMATTER
Image credit:
Messe München GmbH

The impact: Now and in the future

The climate crisis does not bode well for our future. Here is a small excerpt from the countless consequences of man-made climate change:

  1. Climate change is causing more and more frequent and more intense heat waves. The extreme heat periods, triggered by rising temperatures, lead to increased health risks, impairment of agriculture and stress on the entire ecosystem.
  2. The increasing temperatures and dry conditions are also triggering an increase in wildfires. Forests, animal and plant species, and people are threatened in the process.
  3. At the same time, the change in precipitation patterns is causing intense heavy rainfall, which leads to flooding in river basins. The impact on rural as well as urban areas is tragic.
  4. Also, the loss of biodiversity is also a consequence of climate change. Due to changing living conditions, many species lose their habitat or cannot adapt fast enough. Species extinction and a disturbed natural balance of the ecosystem are the future.
  5. Climate change also leads to the melting of glaciers, ice shelves and ice sheets and thus to a rise in sea level. This rise threatens coastal areas worldwide, causing flooding, erosion, saltwater intrusion, and loss of habitat for people and wildlife, especially in shallow coastal areas and island nations.

Rising temperatures are also leading to thawing of the permafrost. This not only leads to soil instability or coastal erosion, but also releases large amounts of greenhouse gases, further exacerbating climate change.

What we can do

"Every action matters, every bit of warning matters, every year matters, every choice matters." Even though it is primarily the policies of the major industrialized nations that can influence the climate crisis, it is up to each one of us: the countdown is on and there is no time to lose. The experts present the most important factors for reducing emissions:

  1. A car-free life
  2. Avoid transatlantic air travel
  3. Use renewable energies at home
  4. Switch to an e-car
  5. Switching to a plant-based diet

Bénédicte and Marie conclude the pitch with a thought-provoking note: The very things that make us happy don't consume CO₂ and don't harm the climate. At least if we do it right.

And what you can do as a company? Here is a small collection of valuable articles that might interest you on the subject:

So, what measures will you or your company implement? "Our future is unwritten. It will be shaped by who we choose to be now." - Bénédicte and Marie
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