Risk Insider: Marilyn Rivers

If We Don’t Listen to What Climate Change Is Saying, We’re Doomed

By: | October 15, 2018

Marilyn Rivers, CPCU, ARM, AIC, currently serves as the director of risk and safety — city safety and compliance officer for a municipality in Upstate New York and is a director at large and delegate for the government and public sector division of the National Safety Council. She can be reached at [email protected].

Historical mythology has long captured the four essential elements of human existence — earth, fire, water and air.

All have materially withstood the test of time, acting as factors in our continuing dialogue on how climate change impacts our earth’s ecosystem and our unending quest to control and manipulate it. Discussions on climate change often become heated and political as populations across the globe argue prosperity, population and preparedness.

In planning for emergency preparedness, I often mention “The Lorax” and the timeless lessons it teaches to generations as communities weigh prosperity against the cost of the totality of the pressures on our global environment. I get smirks when I say the Earth is a small, unique ecosystem that is getting tired in trying to accommodate humans’ present and future needs. That tiredness is seen in the increasing fierceness of Mother Nature and the weather patterns that threaten and test our ability to survive and overcome the hazards that global weather patterns present.

Meteorology has become an essential tool in our risk management toolbox. Changing weather patterns and temperature anomalies are warning precursors for emerging trends as we prepare for fiscal responsibility, emergency preparedness and the recognition of the capacity of aging infrastructure.

It’s a factor in promotional campaigns for tourism, product advancement, commodity replenishment and human responsibility. Community infrastructure needs to be critically examined for capacity and capability for catastrophic redundancy needs. Sewer, individual enterprise and pollution controls materially impact the earth, fire, water and air … and ultimately our capacity to thrive and survive.

It’s important to understand that emergency preparedness is scalable for weather events related to climate change. Understanding the needs of private and public entities in emergency preparedness assists us all in successfully weathering the storms that befall us. It is incumbent upon us as risk professionals to take the time to educate, explain and integrate resiliency into our risk mitigation efforts.

It’s imperative that we, as individuals, collectively combine those resiliency efforts for the totality of our survival as a human species.

As risk professionals plan, practice and promote climate awareness and preparedness, let us always remember the human factor tipping the scale of our reality. As humans, we are unique, reacting to the situations of our lives based upon the fabric of how we got to be. An old commercial once aired of a cowboy desperately trying to herd cats. The activation of emergency measures is often like that cat-herding exercise. Risk professionals constantly try to communicate, yet fail, because of the false courage and bravado of the populist who will always know better — even when they need to be rescued off the roof of their sinking home.

Breaking icebergs in Antarctica, rising sea levels on the continental coasts and anomalies in fierce freshwater storms in geographic regions where they’ve never been seen before are warnings for our generation to LISTEN to Mother Nature showing us how the changing climate of our planet ultimately impacts the survival of our present and future endeavors. &

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