After all-time temperature records in July and August, the trend has extended with the hottest September on record:
This has taken even the most seasoned climate experts by surprise: link.
I am writing this article as PMI Belgium Chapter holds PMFAIR 2023 in Mechelen.
The overall event will be covered in other articles so here I focus on 2 Climate Crisis related aspects of the event.
My presentation focused on the action we can take to respond to the Climate Crisis: personally, professionally and together as members of PMI.
I also shared some examples of how a gymnastic approach (applying flexibility, adaptability and resilience) applies to sustainability at Project, Program and Portfolio levels. It was good to have the opportunity to respond to some good questions as well as the many conversations during the event.
If you are interested, but were not able to attend my presentation, I'd be pleased to share it (including detailed speaker notes and links to the source material I referenced).
We also had a "Climate Fresk" booth at PMFAIR which was attended by Sam Baker and Xavier Criel. The intent was to explain Climate Fresk and give PMI Belgium members the opportunity to sign-up for further workshops (without charge). These follow on from the 6 successful workshops we have already run by Sam during 2023 involving 29 members of PMI European leadership and representing 15 European Chapters; all workshops received very positive feedback. I am delighted that we have signed up a good number of attendees expressing interest in attending further Climate Fresk workshops in Belgium in the coming months. If you are interested to find out more please contact Sam Baker or myself .
I'd like to remind you of Sustainability Summit 2023, which will take place on 8 Nov 2023.
The summit will feature contributions from: Simon King, Green Project Management, Jane Goodall Institute, Save Our Wild Isles, Climate Fresk, and many more, so it promises to be a great event.
I encourage you to subscribe (without charge) here.
Together with Sam Baker, I will be presenting a ProjectManagement.com global webinar on 29 Nov 2023 (17:00 - 18:00 CET.) The topic will follow on from my PMFAIR presentation to go into some more detail on how we can respond to the Climate Crisis. Sam will further explain Climate Fresk with the intention to also encourage participation from PMI members beyond Europe.
We're hoping for a live global audience exceeding 2000 attendees so it would be great to have your support at this webinar which is available to all PMI members to attend (free of charge.)
We have submitted 2 proposals for the forthcoming PMI European Leadership Institute Meeting (LIM) which will take place on 1-4 Dec 2023.
These are entitled:
"Bringing sustainability to the heart of PMI activity through a managed portfolio approach"
"Climate Fresk - a tool to raise Climate awareness among PMI European Chapter members".
We already have some ideas that could form a portfolio of sustainability activities for PMI European Chapters - but are seeking any further inputs in advance of the LIM - so please share your ideas for sustainability initiatives.
For your information here are some of our initial thoughts on "candidate initiatives" for 2024:
Climate Fresk - building awareness / interest / support for Climate Action during 2024, following on from the 6 successful workshops that have already taken place in 2023
Sustainability Community of Action - helping PMI Chapters to mobilise / organise their Sustainability initiatives, leveraging the experiences of other Chapters
Sustainability Summit 2024 - engaging with the wider European community, building on Sustainability Summit 2023
Green Project Management - getting PMs to think in a sustainable way (and gain the certification to prove it)
"Discounted Carbon Flow" - a potentially game changing re-application of a well-known financial technique (which I also featured in my PMFAIR presentation)
Jane Goodall Institute / Roots & Shoots - PMI & JGI working together at local (Chapter based) and global level on reforestation & nature initiatives
Count Us In - next logical step after Climate Fresk is to take action - "Count Us In” is a potential platform for this
COP29 - bringing an impactful message from PMI to next year's COP which will be held in Eastern Europe (where PMI is well represented)
EARTHSHOT - raising the profile of Sustainability & the PMI - and (if we were to win one of the prizes) generating 1M GBP funding for follow-up / scaling up activity
Making it Global - taking all of the ideas we are developing in Europe and helping our colleagues in other Regions to get started
We should know by end Oct if our proposals have been accepted as part of the LIM event.
A research visit to the Amazon rainforest
Bringing it closer to home, my daughter (Marie Thorp) had the wonderful opportunity to spend most of September in Brazil, visiting remote communities in the Amazon Rainforest as part of her PhD doing microbiota research at Gent University. Whilst the research activity progressed well, it is concerning to hear of the Climate impacts in this sensitive region (which is often compared to being "the lungs of the Planet" due to the CO2 absorption within the rainforest.)
In the following picture, the rocks would normally be underwater at this time of year, at the end of the rain season, but due to changes in the timing of the rain season, the water was much lower than expected, making navigation deep into the rainforest more of a challenge.
Further concerns around impacts in the Amazon Rainforest are shared in the following post.
Apostolic Exhortation from Pope Francis on the Climate Crisis
I was interested to see that Pope Francis has issued on 4 October 2023, an "Apostolic Exhortation", calling on humanity to take swift and comprehensive action against global warming.
Regardless of whether you subscribe to the Catholic faith, I found this a very good summary of the current state of the Climate Crisis.
This is set into context in the following post, which also includes a link to the original text.
There is so much happening right now relating to the Climate Crisis, that it is easy to feel overwhelmed.
In my PMFAIR presentation, I revisited a theme I have mentioned in previous articles:
"Yes, we do need hope - of course, we do.
But the one thing we need more than hope is action.
In quoting Greta, it comes to mind that she, along with many other Climate Activists, are putting themselves at risk through their ongoing protests against continued fossil fuel production.
Whether or not you agree with Greta's tactics, we will all increasingly face the need to take a stance in this matter. Do we just accept the oil and gas production continuing "as-is" (which we know to be harmful to our habitat) or do we raise our voices to drive the transition to a better future?