Times are changing, and that means opportunity. At least for those without their heads in the sand.
I live in Manhattan. In the past week, both the New York Times and New York Magazine posted articles on global warming being here now or about to affect you in a big way.
The Times' headline was "Flooding of Coast, Caused by Global Warming, Has Already Begun" and continued
Scientists' warnings that the rise of the sea would eventually imperil the United States' coastline are no longer theoretical.
New York Magazine's headline, "This is New York in the not-so-distant future" with a picture of a Venice canal. The story covered how the city would fare under various heights of sea-level rise.
What the media misses that leaders and business can
About 4,000 words in the Times and 7,000 in the magazine and not a single word about prevention or changing people's behavior today--what we wish people had done decades ago so we wouldn't face these problems today.
What our children and grandchildren will thank us for doing today if we muster the leadership to do it.
That's right: leadership. Not policy, science, or engineering.
The media and government react. Scientists and engineers measure but are distinctly ineffective at influencing others' behavior.
Global temperatures and the sea level are rising because of human behavior. If we want different results, we have to behave differently.
It's easy to blame others: "Listen to me! If you don't you'll be sorry!" isn't effective. Also, Inc.com has many scientists and engineers in its community and among its peers. What fraction of us have, say, flown in a plane or something similarly polluting in the past twelve months?
To change behavior, you need to learn and practice leadership skills and apply them to yourself as well as others. The science is clear. More is nice and I agree we should keep pursuing it, but the best way to decrease the effects of global warming is to change our behavior. (This is why I moved from science to leadership.)
New York magazine's article's covering flood-proof architecture and other rearranging-deck-chairs-on-the-Titanic behavior is necessary since it's too late to stop a lot of change, but it's not too late to stop the change that we--you and I--are contributing to now.
No longer a partisan or political issue but a business one
As the Times quoted:
"I'm a Republican, but I also realize, by any objective analysis, the sea level is rising," said Jason Buelterman, the mayor of tiny Tybee Island, one of the first Georgia communities to adopt a detailed climate plan.
No one questions what's happening, nor does party affiliation affect what you see. Acting on a different future than people hoped for is a business issue now.
Isn't it too late to make a difference?
Non-leaders throw up their hands or resort to ineffective tactics. They say we can't stop what's already started so what's the point in changing behavior now.
As much as I wish past generations had changed their behaviors so we wouldn't see these problems today, future generations will wish we had changed ours.
Black-and-white false dichotomies are a problem. Believing the cause is lost so why bother is another.
A better life doesn't require releasing more CO2. In fact, it can often come with less.
Effective leaders don't lose their cool in difficult times
Great leaders shine when times are tough. Great entrepreneurs can even make money in the process.
Instead of throwing in the towel on prevention, we can improve the future relative to what it would be if we just say since we didn't succeed yet we never will.
What do leaders do if not help us improve the future?
Can we in the leadership, entrepreneurial, and business communities at least talk about reducing pollution and causes of global warming when we talk about its effects? Can we care more about future generations than past generations cared about us?
Can we see that those "future generations" who will see these global changes are alive today?
At least they could claim ignorance. We can't.