Neither an Advocate nor Passionate Environmentalist
What if the world was facing market disruptions on a scale never before experienced and you believed that this slow moving trend was largely unaccounted for by global markets, companies, governments and individuals? What kind of opportunities present themselves if the true costs of modern life’s unsustainable business practices and personal behaviors were going to require us to reimagine, reengineer and retool nearly every aspect of our economy and daily life? I have bet my professional fortunes on the notion that our global community is on the verge of incredibly dangerous social and environmental changes and few preparations are being made.
My approach to what I see as the greatest challenges facing our global community is neither as an advocate or passionate environmentalist. I value those who pursue such worthy paths but personally have neither the luxury of wealth nor benefit of youth necessary to pursue such callings. I choose instead to identify and champion solutions that have the potential to either provide resilience for existing systems or represent the kinds of opportunities that adaption to disruption always creates. I want to leverage sustainability as a lens through which to identify, address and profit from the kinds of solutions our country and global community will need as it’s pressed into reacting to the difficult years to come.
Lacking passion and not being an advocate also means that I don’t approach climate change and its associated health and environmental challenges from an aspirational perspective. A business person or individual doesn’t make decisions based on the trajectory they hope an asset or opportunity will take. They accept calculated risks that are mitigated through research and analysis to estimate the asset or opportunity’s most likely path. I do my best to understand where our global community is headed in objective terms rather than dwelling on the path I wish to see it travel. There is for example a lot of talk among experts and advocates about what the world will look like if atmospheric carbon levels can be stabilized at 350 parts per million (PPM). Well, today’s carbon concentrations according to NOAA’s Mauna Loa Hawaii testing location is 410.79 parts per million (ppm). There is also little indication that the global community will be able to avoid shooting past its aspirational 2 degree C (3.6 degree F) rise in average global temperatures. I choose instead to focus on our global community’s most likely course and determine what kinds of opportunities will emerge as this path becomes clearer to more people.
There are a lot of great experts who will debate the existence, cause and severity of climate change and other emerging health and environmental threats but I don’t count myself among their ranks. My professional life is structured around the thesis that the impacts unsustainable practices will have on our global community are underappreciated and therefore underpriced by today’s economy and way of life. The adoption of such a strategy has the potential to reveal outsized opportunities and thus higher returns but significant professional risks accompany this path. I leverage scientific literature and other primary resources to help formulate then continue to inform my professional strategies. Only time will tell if the conclusions I have drawn from leveraging the information published by experts are correct but I leave it to others to question the validity of these works.
People who appreciate how the world is going to change in the coming years due to our unsustainable practices will be increasingly in demand as companies, governments, markets and individuals scramble to adjust their strategies and practices to a difficult and uncertain future. Entities from every corner of our global community will look for ways to build resiliency into their current practices as well as pursue the opportunities that inevitably emerge from adjusting to such dramatic changes. We dispassionate opportunists will be there to help our global community navigate what will be its greatest ever, “Unfortunate Market Opportunity.”