Believe it or not, there is no story more important to our industry than the news of a Delaware-sized piece of ice drifting away from Antarctica.
Before I drift into a sea of puns about the tip of the iceberg, or icy realities, let me be clear about why architects, developers, and real estate owners should pay attention to this new climate event:
Buildings and transportation are causing climate change; and the effects of climate change will accelerate as buildings and vehicles increase. You, reader, are going to solve this problem.
To our friends in the real estate business, it’s time to dig in and get to work.
If you’ve gone into your settings recently to disable the breaking news alerts from the NYTimes and the Washington Post, you’re not alone. The drip, drip, drip of political news quickly turns into a giant puddle drowning out everything else.
Especially when the story we need to pay attention right now is in the shape of a melting 1.1 trillion ton iceberg.
On the morning of July 12th, a state-size piece of Antarctica had just broken away from the Larsen C Shelf. My shock and growing sense of dismay stopped me in my tracks. I was suddenly wishing for a Russia story alert just so I could stop thinking about this giant piece of the world melting.
First, the size. The size of the piece of ice is incredible but I wasn’t sure how incredible because I was in need of a baseline. I remember looking at a picture of a hummingbird egg once and thinking that it looked like any other egg until I saw it next to a penny. Scale matters – the same is true here so… what is normal when we’re talking about icebergs? How big is big when we’re talking about a Delaware-sized piece of ice? According to google, icebergs vary greatly in weight with “the largest typically weighing in at 10 million tons…”.
This piece of ice, which has been dubbed A68 and is now one of the world’s largest icebergs, weighs more than 1.1 trillion tons. The scale is almost impossible to process. As an Iowan who learned to drive on ice, perhaps this helps a bit…If the ice in A68 was spread evenly across all 50 states, the United States would be covered in 4.6 inches of ice.
Terrifying or not, we need to understand that this is the scale of change we’re talking about when we talk about climate change impacts.
This is the important part. Are you still reading?
Do not give in to angst. Do not let the enormity of this news freeze your resolve.
We must press on and we absolutely have the capacity to protect ourselves and the place we work, play, and live. And just as importantly, we have the capacity to protect our people from whatever is next.
Making your business ready for the impacts of climate change takes more than having a telecommute policy in case of extreme weather. Being climate-ready is about handling risks in your supply chain and addressing policies that proactively keep people, infrastructure, and facilities safe.
And for each of us that is Still In, being climate-ready is about living our individual mission every day. We need to focus on speaking our truth to climate change deniers, promoting smart stewardship choices that support triple top line goals, and pressing every day for serious investment in the new, hotter, wetter future.
Keep the news alerts on, and keep your sights on the bigger picture. Political scuffles will come and go. Russia will eventually be yesterday’s news (crazy, but true!). We need a drip drip drip of new ideas around climate change and resilience. And I want to hear from you more than the WaPo. Fill my twitter feed with your vision.
Big problems need more brains, let’s chat ideas! We are in. Are you? Follow me on twitter if you dare! I’ll be looking for you!