Climate change does impact the worlds poor

What follows is a comment I posted in reply to the following Andrew Bolt article that appeared in the Herald Sun on Tuesday the 12th of May. I don’t normally just report content like this, but felt pretty strongly about what was written and felt it important to point out where I think we’re at as a global population.

I used to work for World Vision Australia a little while ago and have only the most positive praise for what they are doing. They are the best stewards of your money in the industry. All the money you donate is attributed to the children you are sponsoring.

Climate change causes poverty problems

The importance of Climate Change is paramount in the battle against poverty. As climate change continues, we are beginning to see more and more of the effects it has on the poorest people on the planet. The following quote is from Rajendra Pachauri who heads the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

“It is the poorest of the poor in the world, and this includes poor people even in prosperous societies, who are going to be the worst hit,” IPCC Chairman Rajendra Pachauri told journalists at the release of the report’s summary for policymakers in Brussels. “This does become a global responsibility in my view,” he said.

We saw this only last year, before the ‘Global Financial Crisis’ when the ‘Global FOOD Crisis’ hit hardest. As fuel prices went up so too did the prices of food. For us here in Australia, that just meant cereal was a little more pricey. For most of the population around the horn of Africa, it meant not eating.

To think that World Vision should just treat those people who are already suffering is near-sighted and systemically flawed. Why let people suffer first BEFORE helping them? Why not proactively work to mitigate the devastating effects climate change might have on poverty before it gets the chance to do so.

When I worked at WVA, Tim Costello was often heard to mention that Climate Change could essentially waste all the money we have ever spent, as a global population, on poverty alleviation if we didn’t act fast. Sounds ridiculous doesn’t it? But when you think about it, if you accept that climate change is causing losses in food-crop production and yield levels globally AND the natural disasters that are becoming more and more frequent (whether we can directly attribute them to climate change or not is another question) then you can see that this isn’t such a long bow to draw.

The question of global warming and its effects on the world’s poorest children is not up for discussion, as far as I’m concerned. Whether you support World Vision or Oxfam or any other NGO, please support them in doing this work. It will help save lives and that’s not a waste of money in my language.

 What do you think?

Response to Ergo Blog: Long weekends and Living Assets

Very interesting topic of discussion @ the ergo blog. Read Col’s post before reading my response below.

I remember hearing Marcus Blackmore (chairman and founder of Blackmores) speak at a CSR conference I attended last year about his attitude towards ‘soft’ assets and their associated upkeep. His point of view was that each staff member of Blackmores was to be ‘valued’ at 50k…on top of their salary. His figuring here was:
– that to fully and properly replace a member of staff might cost about 1-2k in recruitment costs (more if you use a talent agency, which can charge upto 20% commission on the first year of salary of new hires)
– That when the new person hit deck, they would take time to get fully up to speed with the operation and flow of the business. This time, he conservatively reckoned, could be anywhere up-to 4 months.
– That when an ‘old hand’ leaves, often they have been filling many different roles and functions, which need to be covered at a cost to the organisation. At World Vision recently we have had one of our team, Bev, leave to further grow her own spiritual well-being business (which is booming, by the way). To replace Bev, we have had to distribute her role to no less than 4 different functions around the business.

All up, I actually think his 50K figure sounds quite conservative!!!

Then, in what I now take to be a great example of LAS, he used that assumption to justify the building of a new office and manufacturing space, with a total bill of 50k x the number of staff at Blackmores. (Blackmores, I think, has about 300-500 staff. I’m not sure exactly.)

His feelings were that if Blackmores could create an environment where his staff would want to be, and where they would feel happy and energised working, he could bring down the cost of losing his great people, and the cost associated with capturing the most talented in his industry. For memory, under his assumptions, the great outlay involved in building such an environment was completely rational under the old ideas of the traditional business paradigm – even profitable. And that’s not mention the associated productivity gains generated from such an environment and the savings from being more vertically integrated (office and manufacturing in one place.)

A great topic of discussion, that’s for sure. What are your thoughts?