Engineering Sustainable Change
By: Jonathan Woodworth
As the time draws near for the Climate Talks to take place in Paris, it’s a nice time to reflect on how important it is to practice and think about sustainability not just locally, but also on a global scale with the big picture implications. These talks are notable in a few ways, one being that they’re occurring during a time when climate change is being felt first hand by many. In fact, it has been stated that Generation Y (those born in the mid 70’s to the early 2000s) is the first generation that will have to deal with drastic climate change while also being the last generation that has the ability to turn things around. What is exciting about these talks is that they seek to obtain a legally binding agreement between all nations to combat climate change. This is a pretty big deal as the outcome will affects billions of people and the planet we live on.
For some background, the upcoming talks are the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (AKA COP21/CMP11) and will be held in Paris November 30 to December 11. These talks represent the 21st annual session of the Conference of the Parties to the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the 11th session of the Meeting of the parties to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.
As these talks come closer, many organizations are trying to raise awareness to the importance of climate and climate change. One organization that comes to mind is Pole to Paris that is headed up in part by a friend of mine and past colleague, Dr. Erlend Knudsen. What Erlend and his team are doing is spreading the message of climate change and their impacts by running and biking from Antarctica to Paris, a 17,000 km trip! By spreading their message, they seek to bridge the relatively wide gap between the science of climate change and the public.
With groups like Pole to Paris and the upcoming talks, mankind’s significant influence on climate and the health of the planet is brought to light. Here at Brendle Group, we realize this importance and have worked with many communities and organizations to find ways to identify and implement measures that reduce inefficiencies regarding water, energy, and waste. We believe the cumulative sum of these impacts will go a long way in reducing emissions generated as well as keep sustainability at the forefront of the discussion. I, for one, would like to leave the world in a better place than I entered not only for the sake of my generation, but also for those that follow.
Unfortunately, as climate change is moving from a question of ‘will it occur?’ to ‘how do we address the impact?’ Brendle Group (and other companies around the world) will have to embrace climate adaptation. While much has been done to achieve reductions in greenhouse gas emissions to lessen the impact, the focus is shifting to how we help communities embrace and plan for climate changes that will occur. This is known as climate adaptation.
The outcomes of these talks will be interesting and hopefully will provide a catalyst for more communities to address a changing climate. By having a legally binding agreement, it will provide a benchmark and incentive for communities to lessen their impact and contribute to a more sustainable future. With everyone doing their part to address climate change, the cumulative results may very well reduce the effects of a changing climate on a global scale.
About the Author – As an engineer with Brendle Group, Jonathan is involved in numerous climate related initiatives, including greenhouse gas accounting, project development, renewable energy evaluations, and energy efficiency assessments for local governments and industry. Jonathan leverages his experience in climate research as well as in the nuclear, oil and gas, and onsite power generation energy sectors. With this background, Jonathan provides a unique perspective to Brendle Group.
Prior to joining Brendle Group, Jonathan worked with energy firms, national research facilities, and academia. After obtaining his undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering, he later went on to continue his education with a Master of Science degree in Atmospheric Science, where he studied societal impacts on climate dynamics.