Julia Spangler is a sustainable events consultant who specializes in reducing and diverting waste at meetings and events. Julia helps organizations and event professionals reduce the environmental impact of their events in order to preserve our planet and deliver powerful sustainability stories.
Climate Change is Affecting Events. What Can You Do About It?
Because I’m a sustainability consultant, you may assume that I believe in human-caused climate change. Until recently, I’ve avoided talking much about climate change to my professional audience, because I want to avoid being polarizing or political.
First of all, if you’ve made this assumption, you’re correct — I do believe, based on the consensus of thousands of scientists, that human activities are changing our climate. However, I no longer believe that climate change is a political issue. I wouldn’t even call it an environmental issue.
It’s an everything issue. The growing instability of our climate will affect — and in many cases is already affecting — national security, the economy, health, public safety, agriculture, and even tourism and event planning.
In my largely conservative state of Indiana, Republican Senator Mike Braun recently co-founded the Senate Climate Solutions Caucus, a group focused on starting bipartisan climate discussions in the Senate. People from all over the political spectrum are realizing the climate crisis is real, and they want to have a seat at the table as we design the solutions our communities need to adapt to the coming changes.
One of the most helpful frameworks I’ve found for understanding solutions to the climate crisis is Project Drawdown, a global research organization that analyzes the most viable and effective solutions to climate change.
The following list is just a handful of the Drawdown-endorsed solutions that you can put into practice at your events:
- Reducing food waste
- Serving plant-rich menus
- Sourcing energy from wind turbines, solar panels, or nuclear power
- Using LED lighting
- Disposing of organic waste at an anaerobic digester or composting facility
- Planning virtual meetings
- Using recycled paper
I encourage you to explore Drawdown solutions for inspiration, and also to find others in your city or state you can collaborate with — start by searching for “Drawdown” and the name of your city or state.
Because climate change is an everything issue, it’s also an everyone issue. We all have a role to play, both professionally and personally, in helping our communities reduce greenhouse gas emissions and thereby limit the harmful effects of our changing climate.