Remember that one? It’s been around. Its history as an environmental rally call is debated. The original phrase has been attributed to the Scotsman, social activist Patrick Geddes who used it in relation to town planning at the beginning of the 20th century. Geddes felt that the environment was important to consider — a rather progressive concept in his day. But he wasn’t looking to incorporate it into an environmental movement, as none existed at the time, and that didn’t happen until some time between 1969 and 1977 when one of several organizations started using the phrase in a strictly environmental context. Later, the business world adopted the phrase and basically killed it.
But despite its fall from grace, there are few phrases that can sum up the call to action in a warming world. Today, the crime of not thinking globally can and will cost lives, species and trillions in cash. Whether there is still a possibility for a local solution is unclear, but we, as a future community, must demand from ourselves that we consider the planet with every local action.
A warming globe means that we will need an adaptation plan to cope with changing local weather patterns. If we were once able to determine the extremities of our seasonal weather, today, as the climate changes, our local weather will change with it, and those predictions will be less and less accurate (very important to note, if not clear already, that weather and climate are two very different things). With that will come more severe storms, droughts, fires and disease. Every community will be required to find local solutions to a global problem.
In the fight against climate change, there are two main fronts: Mitigation and Adaptation. When we discuss the ability of local communities to face the issue of climate change, it’s too late to just deal with mitigation. We need to find solutions to adapt to the changes that are already here and plaguing us.
Let’s build on that discussion.