The West Coast wildfires, spreading across California, Washington, and Oregon, are undoubtedly pointing to the effects of climate change. Since mid-August, fires have been raging, growing into 25 major wildfires in California alone, 940,000 acres burned in Oregon, and more than 600,000 acres in Washington. They estimate that the fires’ total damage is more massive than the state of New Jersey.
The West Coast is no stranger to wildfires, but it is no surprise that recent years have had devastating outcomes with 2020 in the lead. More expansive fires lasting for a longer duration have increased damages and the negative impact on wildlife.
Rachel Cleetus, policy director for the climate and energy program at The Union of Concerned Scientists, said, “The fingerprints of climate change are all over what we see right now in California, Oregon, and Washington,” in an interview with CNBC.
Science has shown a clear link between climate change and increasingly severe fire seasons – and if changes aren’t made, it isn’t expected to die down any time soon. 2019 was the second-hottest year ever recorded, with the last decade being the hottest ever. These hotter temperatures are more likely to dry out the environment, making it more susceptible to the damage and rapid spread of wildfires.
But it isn’t just the surrounding communities and families feeling the impacts of more severe fires. It essential for all to do their part in mitigating the effects of climate change, and businesses need to be at the forefront. It is estimated that 100 companies are the cause of 71% of emissions. Companies can implement policies or small changes that could go a long way. Eliminating printing documents and keeping things digital is an easy step that most businesses can take.
Businesses feel the impact of natural disasters, too. With apparent losses, like property damage or workers being displaced, it may indirectly impact them. If a restaurant purchases fruits or vegetables from an affected farm, that restaurant will no longer have access to their produce. If the fires did not damage their corporate headquarters, but many of their employees’ homes were harmed, it was a monumental loss. The 2018 Camp Fire was estimated to have cost over $8.5 billion.
The cost of natural disasters goes beyond the obvious – think of the loss in revenue that a restaurant or gift shop may experience due to a limited tourist season.
Responsible use of energy is another vital step to take in the fight for a healthier planet. Updating a company’s old lighting to LED lights can save mass amounts of energy and money in the long run. Some major companies are shifting toward green practices. McDonald’s switched from foam coffee cups to recyclable paper containers. They switched to energy-efficient appliances, cutting down energy by 25%. Google has financially supported sustainability projects and has bought and installed many solar panels and windmills. Within five years, the Bank of America has cut its need for paper by 32%. Starbucks implemented the bean-to-cup approach.
Businesses need to consider their energy use and their carbon footprint. Limiting a business’s emissions is good for the planet, but it is also directly beneficial to the company and its employees.
EōS services include Energy Efficiency solutions (Lighting, Building Control/Portfolio Management, etc.), Energy Generation and Storage (solar + battery), and Finance Solutions. EōS works best with Commercial and Industrial Portfolio owners like REITs to implement or enhance a green portfolio, Fortune 1000 corporations looking to become a more sustainable organization, Utilities to generate utility-scale renewable power, and Municipalities to utilize a select finance vehicle to achieve sustainable community goals otherwise impossible to reach within conventional methods.