__”We’re living on this planet as if we had somewhere else to go”…
As some of you know, I was recently appointed to serve on the Global Commission on Adaptation (GCA) co-chaired by former UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon, Bill Gates and the CEO of the World Bank, Kristalina Georgieva. Next week the Commission will hold high-level events during “Climate Week” at the UN General Assembly. They are also launching a Year of Action, starting… now! Here’s where you come in, as entrepreneurs and fellow citizens of Planet Earth.
Unfortunately, I won’t be able to attend the launch in New York, but want to alert all of you on this platform to take urgent note, as I am. As everyone here knows, every crisis must be met with a #SolutionMindset. In this case, the crisis includes the impact in recent years of higher temperatures, rising seas, fiercer storms, more unpredictable rainfall, and more acidic oceans.
You might have seen that the Commission released an excellent report a few weeks ago called “Adapt Now! A Global Call For Leadership On Climate Resilience” that received a lot of attention in the media, especially the part of their cost-benefit analysis that said:
__“Adaptation can deliver high rates of return, bringing multiple benefits to people and the economy. Our research finds that investing $1.8 trillion globally in five areas from 2020 to 2030 could generate $7.1 trillion in total net benefits”.
Wow! Please take time to read the report and tell me what you think, especially looking at these urgent challenges as an entrepreneur: https://gca.org/global-commission-on-adaptation/report.
Now some of you might be wondering exactly what “adaptation” means in this context?
“A young woman in Bangladesh hears a siren of an incoming typhoon and moves her family to safety. A farmer in Zimbabwe uses a new variety of maize that is more resistant to drought. In Denmark, engineers redesign city streets to make them less prone to flooding. A business executive in Indonesia uses data and maps on water risk to inform his investments. An urban planner in Colombia paints roofs white to deflect dangerous heat”.
That’s what we mean by adaptation (from the report). In some places like my home Zimbabwe, we call it “Making a plan”!
Why is this important? According to the report’s analysis:
# 500 million people working on small farms, mainly in developing countries, may be exposed to increasing changes in variability and extremes in temperature and precipitation.
# Without adaptation, climate change may depress growth in global agriculture yields by up to 30 percent by 2050.
# Higher average food prices alone, even ignoring the effects of variability, may make 50 million more people food-insecure in a warmer world.
# The number of people living in extremely water scarce conditions (where they experience water scarcity at least 1 time per month) could grow from 1.9 billion in the 2010s to over 5 billion in 2050.
# Rising seas and greater storm surges could force hundreds of millions of people from their homes in coastal cities, with a total cost to coastal urban areas of more than $1 trillion each year by 2050.
Now rather than cause panic and despair with analysis like this, the Commission is proposing concrete strategies to help lessen the impact of the changing climate ASAP. These include:
# Strengthen early warning systems.
# Make new infrastructure (such as roads, bridges, dams and homes) more resilient.
# Improve dryland agriculture crop production (like drought resistant seeds).
# Protect mangroves (helps communities facing dangerous floods).
# Make water resources management more resilient.
As I said to a panel at the AGRF in Accra, Ghana a few weeks ago, I first heard about “climate change” long before scientists gave it that name. Where? From smallholder farmers in Mali, who told my dear friend Kofi Annan and me about the impact of unpredictable weather on their ability to grow food and feed their families. We were speaking to these farmers right there in their fields. It was a very moving experience.
No one needed to show a long report about climate change to these smallholder farmers! They were already living it.
“The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it”…
What are you going to do? With who can you share this report? This time, let’s not just talk!
#AdaptOurWorld ! (This is our official handle. Do your part to help us launch the Year of Action this week). Students across the world this week were making their voices heard!
Strive Masiyiwa is the founder and Executive Chairman of the Econet Group. He serves on several international boards including Unilever, and the Global Advisory boards of the Council on Foreign Relations and Stanford University. A board member of the Rockefeller Foundation for 15 years, he also serves as Chairman of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). He is a co-founder of the Carbon War Room, Pathways for Prosperity, and the Global Business Coalition on Education. He and his wife, Tsitsi, co-founded the Higherlife Foundation and are signators of the Giving Pledge.View all posts by Strive Masiyiwa