Sitting high above New York’s Union Square, the Climate Clock verges dangerously close to humanity’s bleak future. 5 years, 229 days and 1 hour*. A visual reminder of the fragility of our planet, the scarcity of renewable energy and the ticking clock that edges ever more closely to the point of devastating climate impacts.
The race to Net Zero is well and truly on: its athletes consist of over 140 countries, allies and enemies each united for the greater good. It sounds like a plot from a sci-fi film: billions of lives at risk, Mother Earth’s formidable power and a team of A-list superheroes fight tooth and nail to stop the danger that most of the population is blissfully unaware of. Except this isn’t one of Spielberg’s cinematic masterpieces, this is our stark reality.
The message is clear: in order to save our planet, we must change and fast.
Climate change refers to the change in global weather patterns and temperatures on a long-term basis. It causes everything from melting glaciers and droughts to wildfires and floods.
Climate change can be completely natural, of course, caused by solar radiation, tectonic shifts and even volcanic eruptions. The Ice Age, for example, is believed to have been caused by changes in the earth’s orbit around the sun.
However, since the 18th century, human activity has been the leading cause of climate change. Why? Because our ancestors embarked on a new era of commercialisation and so The Industrial revolution was born. It was a transformative time that seen manufacturing by hand switch to machines. Great for the economy but not so great for the environment.
This new world was powered by fossil fuels (such as coal, natural gas and petroleum) and this caused more greenhouses gases (such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide) into the atmosphere.
When we live in one of the wettest and coldest places on earth AKA England, why is the climate getting hotter a problem? If your vision of global warming is being sat on Blackpool Beach with a cocktail in hand as you paddle in the crystal clear waters surrounded by palm trees, hammocks and glamorous beach bars, then think again. The impact of climate change is a genuine threat to our planet and everything in it.
According to the World Health Organization, climate change to expected to be responsible for approximately 250,000 additional deaths a year between 2030 and 2050 from undernutrition, malaria, diarrhoea and heat stress alone. According to the International Rescue Committee, it is the most vulnerable countries which are at most risk from climate change.
Last year, 19 countries across West and Central Africa experienced higher than average rainfall that impacted 5 million people across the continent. Countries reported floods that ruined homes, wiped away villages, destroyed crops, killed livestock and brought potentially deadly water-borne diseases such as Typhoid Fever and Cholera to the most vulnerable people.
The floods, which impacted 1.6 million hectares of farmland, came as the region endured its worse food crisis in a decade with over 27 million people going hungry. According to the United Nations, 25,000 people die from hunger each day and with 24% of the world’s population living in food-scarce areas. Climate change poses a serious threat to world hunger.
According to a study, the floods were made ‘about 80 times more likely and 20% more intense’ by climate change.
Even in the relatively safe environmental haven of the UK, we are still at great risk of climate change with rising sea levels and temperatures.
In 2020, more than 2,500 people were killed by heatwaves across the UK just two years after one of the hottest summer’s on record. According to the Met Office, by 2050, heatwaves like that seen in 2018 are expected to happen every other year. Summers are set to get hotter and drier, winters, colder and wetter. We have experienced floods in recent years that have destroyed crops, leading to devastating financial losses for our country’s farmers. Just a few weeks ago Storm Babet ravaged the country’s farms, meaning millions of pounds worth of unharvested vegetables were lost bang in the middle of a cost of living crisis.
Some countries have a far greater carbon footprint than others, for example, the UK accounts for 1.03% of the world’s carbon emissions, in comparison to China’s considerable 29.18%. Why? Because China relies heavily on coal, largely considered the dirtiest fossil fuel of them all. It is also the world’s largest manufacturing country, accounting for 28.7% of the global output. Fossil fuels quite literally fuel their economic growth.
However, in 2016, China along with 175 other countries (including the top contributors: United States of America, India and Russia) officially signed the Paris Climate Agreement, a landmark international treaty on climate change in which members are committed to hold “the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels” and pursue efforts “to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.”
The UK has legally committed to being Net Zero by 2050, however the initial plans were deemed too unrealistic and hard-hitting on working-class families, so plans were redrawn that continued to honour international commitments but reduce the costs for British families.
Under revised plans, the Government will:
We know what you’re thinking, why would a company that supplies temporary staff to events care about climate change?
The answer is simple: we believe every business, big and small, must step up to take climate action. As a people business, we know there’s lots of potential to inspire others to create more change. As a service business, we don’t have a big carbon footprint but that doesn’t mean we can’t play our part.
Our Impact Strategy focuses on the three biggest issues currently threatening the hospitality industry: Social Inequalities, Barriers to Employment, and Climate Crisis. Each of them represents an impact pillar and sets out comprehensive goals that will help us move towards a sustainable future.
Through our Climate Action pillar, we aim to educate Arc people on the climate crisis and engage 5,000 to take climate action. To start, we will measure our own greenhouse gas emissions to understand our greatest climate impacts and create a reduction strategy to reach net-zero emissions by 2025.
One of the most impactful measures was our switch from electricity generated from fossil fuels to a renewable electricity provider. Some other examples of what we have done so far on our Net-Zero journey include:
You can reduce your carbon footprint in so many ways, from buying second hand to switching to public transport. Here are some of our ideas:
Reduce Your Waste
Eat Planet-Friendly Foods
Travel in Eco-Friendly Style
You can find all of our suggestions when you make your Climate Action Pledge and start your journey to lowering your carbon footprint!
*Information is correct at the time of publishing