27 May 2010

Bridging the gap between climate and society

Essay at Challenge the Best
"Bridging the gap between climate and society"
(Oliveira, Eduardo 2010)

The planet is not ours; it is the treasure we hold in trust for future generations.
(Kofi Annan, President of the Global Humanitarian Forum, January 2009)

I the line of Solana (2009), the climate change will not be addressed by international agreements alone, like the last Climate Conference in Copenhagen (2009). The issues run much deeper than that. This is a “man-made problem” which puts our very way of life in many uncertain questions. Formulating a response requires many actors to come together - not just politicians and diplomats, but scientists, business people, ecologists, students, entrepreneurs, young entrepreneurs, and leaders in many other fields. The main goal of this essay is writing about the key-factors of the climate change and the potential impact in society: environment; business; economy; communities in the globalization context. The emergent phenomenon of climate change – understood here simultaneously as physical transformation and social object, as a mutating hybrid entity in which the strained lines between the natural and the social are dissolving – therefore needs a new examination, or a new social order. “Geopolitics doesn’t stop because climate change and other environmental pressures confront the global society” (Paskal, 2010).

The globalization has increased global shifts of resources, capital and people, and has intensified the competition among places’, as countries, regions and cities, for attention, influence, markets, investments, businesses, entrepreneurs, visitors, talents and significant events. This place competition asks for long-term strategies in organizations’ and for the best strategies in order to improve the local and regional development with respect of the human rights, the environment, with peace and sustainable development of the resources not only in the present, but also for future generations. “If we don’t take meaningful and farsighted action now to address climate change, we are not only failing those who suffer today. We are also putting at risk the well-being of our planet and future generations” (Robinson, 2009).
This long-term strategies must be implemented with a community participation. We cannot pursue either in isolation; we need work in cooperation between top leaders, poor countries and social actors. One of the fundamental questions in this topic – climate change and social order, in my opinion, is the communities’ participation. For example, the Copenhagen Climate Council (URL: http://www.copenhagenclimatecouncil.com/, 30/03/10) identifies the “Climate Community” as one chance to influence the climate agenda. The “Climate Community” gives the necessary access to insights from and the ability to interact with high-level climate experts, opinion makers, decision makers, and business innovators. All this key-actors, this thinkers, the young  fresh talents have to work together to find appropriate responses to the consequences of a changing climate – natural disasters, changing livelihood prospects, migration, political instability and the necessity of global acting.
The relationship between climate and society has been dynamic throughout human history and pre-history, a relationship that has been variously elemental, creative and fearful. The relationship has now taken a more intimate turn. Human actions, globally aggregated, are changing the composition of the atmosphere which alters the functioning of the climate system. Future climates will not be like past climates. We have often worried about this possibility and now the knowledge claims of science have offered new reasons to be concerned. Humanity is now firmly embedded within the functioning of the climate system, whilst at the same time the idea of climate change is penetrating and changing society in novel ways (Hulme, 2007).
Michael Porter[i] and Claas van der Linde[ii] wrote about the new conception of the environment-competitiveness relationship. They conclude that relationship, between environmental goals (Business and the Economy) and industrial competitiveness has normally been thought of as involving a trade-off between social benefits and private costs. Is imperative do this question – What is the challenge to the main countries? What is the challenge to the world economic and business leaders? The world needs an evolution or revolution? They need an entirely new way of thinking about the relationship between environment, the climate change and economic and business reaction in competitiveness dynamic perspective. The focus should be on relaxing the environment-competitiveness and climate community with an orientation from pollution control to resource productivity. The economic and business actors have in the hand a opportunity. They can build ecological business models, and the way to the success, must involve innovation-based solutions that promote both environmentalism and industrial competitiveness.

[i] Michael Porter is the Bishop William Lawrence Professor, Harvard Business School.
[ii] Claas van der Linde is on the Faculty of the International Management Research Institute of St. Gallen University, Switzerland.