I imagine a number of people probably think about climate change the way I do.
And the way I think about it is like this: I’m not a scientist, though I tend to trust them. I’m not a politician, though I tend to doubt them. But as we watch Bill Nye debate Fox News anchors and as we scroll through comments sections of name-calling, the evidence is pretty clear that the planet is heating up, sea levels are rising, and, yes, the climate is changing.
Maybe you think that change is man-made or maybe you think it’s natural—or maybe you think it’s a little bit of both. Whatever. The people on either side of that argument both recognize, regardless of the reason, that the world is warming up. So they should be able to singularly ask one question: “Uh, guys, shouldn’t we do something before the coasts fall into the ocean?” Like, anything?
(No, that doesn’t account for the outright deniers who point to the latest snowfall and shout: “SEE!” That’s fine.)
That question rings all the more resonant when you consider the occasional report that it might be too late to even reverse climate trends. If that’s true—and some scientists disagree—but if it’s true, then whatever the reason, it’s time to start dealing with and preparing for what might come. Why waste time fighting over the Iron Throne when the White Walkers are on the move? (It’s a “Game of Thrones” reference, people. Keep up.)
Which is why it’s at least somewhat heartening to read this Boston Globe piece, which explores how some Boston-area companies have started bracing for the effects of climate change. Among the choice quotes:
"We think the time for debating [climate change] is over," said Ed White, vice president of customer strategy and environmental for National Grid, a British company with its US headquarters in Waltham. "We see it occurring. We've lived through the flooding, we've seen the damage that it had to our communities and our equipment."
The business solutions in the article aren’t groundbreaking. They involve insurance companies testing more flood mitigation and water recycling products, and Seaport developers who “have moved electrical units from the basements to rooftops.”
Those strategies won’t stop climate change in its tracks, and might not even prove helpful in mitigating it. It’s easy to get cynical. They’re companies, and probably operating with their best interests in mind. And, as the Globe article notes, corporate America (or corporate anywhere, really) isn’t exactly a shining example of environmentalism.
But at some level—perhaps sea level—that ceases to matter, because at least it’s action. At least these companies are doing something.Adam can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @adamtvaccaro.