Monday, July 23, 2018

Attributes of Successful Sustainable Leaders

Great article on Sustainable Leaders: The 8 Attributes of Successful Sustainable Leaders by Bob Langert over at
In our experience and prior research, communications is key to success for the sustainability professional. Yes, communications is a tool, but the first skills needed are communications: both internal, external and collaborative. Marketing internally is simply rallying the troupes, and demonstrating the case, including the value proposition. Externally, it is some combination of public relations, promotion, marketing and sales in order to demonstrate the value to customers business partners and the public.
Getting the government to work with, not against, sustainability is often very tricky since there are often many players with very short term interests that run against sustainability (real estate developers, coal and oil, for example).
So let's gauge the 8 attributes (although I don't think they were in any particular order) by Langert toward the level of communications involved:
  • Courage. Courage to speak up for what is the right thing to do.
  • Conviction. 
  • Cleverness. 
  • Contrariness. 
  • Collaboration. This is the one factor that fully requires communications at all levels. Plus it is one of the main attributes of traditional leadership: collaborative vs. authoritative. 
  • Cheerfulness. Funny, but true.
  • Charisma. A traditional leadership approach/style that has been demonstrated to work in getting people to follow a leader.
  • Humility. Being humble does require a special kind of communications. 
We are all in the world of sustainability together. The trick is to get people to think long(er) term and then back up to best decisions for everyone in the present. Although you can't argue with Langert's list of 7 Cs and and H, you have to admit that it doesn't really capture the full nature of a successful leader in the world of sustainability.
It does give those of us who are trying to be successful in sustainability efforts, something to think about.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Internet will be underwater sooner than you might think

Found this on the Weather Channel, where it discusses a study that discusses the impacts on rising oceans on... The Internet.
It makes sense. Population centers are, what, 80% within a few miles of oceans. All the phone and Inet cables would run along roads through population areas...
Business Insider discusses so called Sunny Day Flooding from high tied and kind tide.
As the sea levels rise there will be more flooding. Flooding will start to hit lots of underground cables (including Internet cables) that are water resistant, but not waterproof.

With all the analysis of Global Warming, most of the scenarios assume that we take some action to avoid the worst cases. Also, there had been expectations for 20-30 years that we would start to run out (or at least low) on the fossil fuels, and thereby increase costs from shortages would result in "conservation" efforts. But Fracking and horizontal drilling has changed all that. Ten years ago, noone, not even the oil baron Boone Pickens, could expect that the world would reach 100m barrels of oil per day. It was not conceivable. But we have made it. Happily burning away, even with generally more fuel-efficient vehicles.

But the Business as Usual (BAU) models that were considered the absolute worst case in climate models, seems to be where we find ourselves. The general thinking was that we probably had about another 50 years before big problems from global warming come home to roost. Well, this study figures otherwise. Within 10-15 years these problems, and the associated plethora of costs, should start showing up with a vengeance.

The water issues will be massive and devastating. Salt water intrusion will become really expensive. Imagine entire cities moving from lots of fresh water and fresh water wells, to no fresh water. Desalinization is obviously possible, but requires lots of energy, plus massive amounts of plant and infrastructure.

And, we have not even begun to talk about the devastating impacts of hurricanes when the sea levels are a couple more feet above "normal".

No pretty pictures on the waterfront here!