Yaneek Page | Entrepreneurial solutions needed to mitigate climate impact

Last week, Jamaica joined over 100 countries around the world in celebrating Global Entrepreneurship Week 2021. The theme for several countries this year centred on rebuilding and rebooting in the wake of the global pandemic.

However, the challenges faced by the country necessitate entrepreneurial action that will not only reboot and rebuild the country’s economy, but also address the most pressing crisis of all, which is climate change.

We desperately need entrepreneurs, especially social entrepreneurs, who will help to mitigate the catastrophic effects of global warming.

Kingston, Jamaica, is still on track to be the second city in the world to suffer climate departure in 2023. It is a profound wake-up call. This means that in just a few months we will mark the occasion where our average temperatures have become so impacted by climate change, that the old climate is left behind.

The average temperature of the coolest years going forward will be as hot as the hottest years on record. This momentous event has serious implications for the city, and the country as a whole, including how residents live, learn, work, produce, consume, and interact with their environment to survive the debilitating, record-high temperatures that are anticipated.

The urgency of the threat facing Jamaica was articulated by Prime Minister Andrew Holness at COP 26, the ‘World Leaders Summit’ of the 26th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, held in Glasgow, Scotland, in early November. Prime Minister Holness made the following desperate plea on the global stage regarding climate: “While climate change affects all countries, the impact on small island developing states is disproportionately greater. Climate change threatens our very survival. Meeting the 1.5°C target is a matter of life and death for us. We are at a pivotal moment in history. All countries must increase their NDC ambition to get us back on track.”

How can entrepreneurs help? They can explore solutions to decelerate and reverse the effects of climate change on our environment, ecosystem and society at large. Also, entrepreneurial prowess is urgently needed to help mitigate the consequences of climate departure.

We need business ideas and enterprises that can support the country’s Nationally Determined Contribution, NDC, implementation plan, which encompasses Jamaica’s commitment and strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and advance our climate change resilience actions.

Hotter temperatures will require more energy, and resources, including financial resources, to keep or citizens, animals, plants, and living environment cooler. We, therefore, need enterprises that can support and strengthen these efforts, with particular focus on conservation and alternate sources of energy, such as solar.

Another challenge that requires innovative solutions is how we can maximise human performance in school environments and work environs that will surpass the ideal temperatures for learning and working, sports, play, and recreation.

What can be done to make schools and workplaces cooler, to make children, teachers and workers comfortable in their environment, so as to ensure they can maximise their human potential? What will be the additional costs to keep offices cool? What can be done to cool down classrooms? How will children safely engage in physical activity, including sports, in hotter environments?

The answers to these questions may likely be found in an innovative social enterprise.

Climate change mitigation strategies will also be required for agriculture, tourism, transportation, construction and practically every operational industry in Jamaica. For example, consider how factory workers may maintain productivity in record-high temperatures, or how construction workers will perform their day’s work, or how farmers manage to tend to their farms. Climate departure will increasingly threaten the livelihood and survival of all industries.

The health and safety over people is another area that requires significant entrepreneurial brainstorming. The health and safety implications of hotter temperatures are considerable. We may expect significant increases in heat-related illnesses.

Consider, as an example, the fact that the ideal temperature for sleep is between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit; this is well below the average temperatures at nights. Sleep scientists, researchers, and medical professionals across the world have raise the alarm that heat is a significant disruptor for sleep.

Therefore, when temperatures are too hot, this affects REM sleep, which is critical for the body’s healing and recovery. It is likely that hotter temperatures will impede good health, and this is a significant area for entrepreneurial exploration.

It is important to note that entrepreneurs don’t necessarily have to recreate the wheel in finding solutions to the current climate-change dilemma.

There are several countries to which we can look for groundbreaking ideas and solutions that have already been proven to help mitigate climate change and achieve greater climate protection. These countries include Denmark, Sweden and Switzerland.

The global pandemic has provided an opportunity for us to rethink the way we do business, how we do business and the types of activities in which we engage. It is also the ideal time for the entrepreneurial ecosystem to be laser-focused on solving the crisis that threatens our very survival, and I sincerely hope our existing and prospective entrepreneurs will take up the herculean challenge.

The time for action is now.

One love!

Yaneek Page is the programme lead for Market Entry USA, a certified trainer in entrepreneurship, and creator and executive producer of The Innovators and Let’s Make Peace TV series. yaneek.page@gmail.com

Source: Einnews

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