food, water, biodiversity
Food supply chains are often long and powered by fossil fuels. This is inherently unsustainable in a world where fuel prices are constantly rising. Organisations should be looking at ways to source more local and seasonal produce. If it’s organic, then so much the better.
Water is often overlooked in the battle against climate change. It’s a little known fact that we in the UK use 3,400 litres of water per person a day – 2-3 litres directly and the rest in the production processes of everything we consume. This is clearly unsustainable, especially in the south-east of England which has less available water per person than Sudan or Syria. There’s also the question of whether we should be importing water-intensive food and products from water-stressed areas of the world. Are we driving those countries to drought and famine? Probably not, but a responsible organisation should be aware of the issues.
Biodiversity is the proverbial canary in the mine. Climate change scientists say runway global warming is likely to mean the extinction of 80% of animal and plant life on earth. It tends to affect the frogs and bird before it affects human beings because we’re better able to adapt. The other point about biodiversity is that trees, plants and grasses extract carbon dioxide so the more we have the better.
Organisations should be thinking about whether they can green their hard spaces. For example, green roofs can enhance biodiversity, extract CO2 from the atmosphere, keep buildings better insulated in winter and cooler in summer, can slow down stormwater to prevent flooding, and can be cheaper than traditional roofs. And they look good. What new green spaces could you create in your organisation?