The New Climate Reality

For most people, climate change is an abstract, distant threat – they don’t realize that it’s already in their backyards, impacting the things they care about most.  The issue of environmental sustainability is no longer an issue that can wait on the sidelines until it receives financial support from the government or well-meaning corporations.  Instead, the issue of environmental sustainability requires a paradigm shift in the way we all think about our own role within the broader global community.  Business leaders no longer need to make the decision to either do what’s right by the environment or do what’s right by the bottom line.  In fact, business leaders can do both.

Dr. Diane M. Phillips has been writing, speaking, and doing research on sustainability for more than 20 years.  An associate professor of marketing at Saint Joseph’s University for the past 17 years, Dr. Phillips is also a guest professor at the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland.  Each semester, she teaches several classes on the topic of sustainability at the graduate and undergraduate levels.  She also speaks at national and international conferences on the topic. 

In July 2013, Dr. Phillips attended a 3-day training session with The Climate Reality Project, a non-profit organization that was founded by Al Gore and a small group of climate scientists and grass-roots organizers.  An elite group of 1,250 thought leaders from all 50 states and 70 countries attended the 3 days of training in order to learn about the science of global climate change and how to communicate effectively with important stakeholders about taking action to slow down some of the effects that our planet is already starting to experience, such as stronger storms, droughts, and rising sea levels. 

As a result of this experience, Dr. Phillips has now started to deliver The New Climate Reality presentation.  This one hour engaging presentation provides a wealth of new scientific information on climate change and its impact on humankind.  She has delivered the presentation to a variety local audiences, including West Chester University, The Main Line Unitarian Church, The Camphill School at Kimberton Village, and The Hankin Branch of the Chester County Library System.  On November 14, Dr. Phillips had her biggest audience yet when she presented to over 200 faculty, staff, students, and alumni at Saint Joseph’s University.  The message was clear – the consequences of waiting for someone else to take action on climate change are too great.  Instead, Dr. Phillips exhorted the audience to spread the word, demand change from our elected officials, and pressure business leaders to move their organizations more towards sustainable operations.  For the HSB students in the audience, Dr. Phillips urged them to become more knowledgeable on the issues so that they could someday be a force for positive change when they became business decision makers. 

In the end, Dr. Phillips made it clear that climate change is a national security issue as well as a competitive issue for businesses.  If American businesses don’t step up and make real changes they will be left behind in the hyper-competitive global marketplace. Dr. Phillips ends the presentation by saying, “It simply makes sense.  We can do this!” 

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