By Pooran Desai, Founder OnePlanet 

We can regard this as the most extreme [weather] event in European history’.  These are the words of climatologist Maximiliano Herrera, speaking of the heat wave which hit Europe over the New Year.  Temperatures in parts of Poland on New Year’s Day reached almost 19oC, a full 18oC above average for the time of year.  If that doesn’t fill you with the fear of God, perhaps nothing will!

Climate, economic, social and geopolitical shocks are inevitable – and imminent, if not already hitting us. We need to be preparing for these shocks, not thinking in terms of decades, but in terms of months and single numbers of years.  We are leaving behind a La Nina period, the Pacific oscillation which holds down global temperatures and we must expect temperatures to spike this year or next.  Look what happened last summer across China, Europe and Pakistan even when La Nina was active and helping us (at least in the Northern Hemisphere).  We must prepare for our first truly global climate shock which might hit us as soon as this year. 

Time to prepare

We are living on borrowed time and can consider ourselves lucky if such a global climate shock doesn’t hit us in 2023. These shocks will be felt both as direct impacts (such as flooding, storm damage, deadly heat waves) and indirect ones such as food shortages, economic shocks, social unrest, mass migrations and geopolitical instability.

Now is the time to prepare – to become a ‘Prepper’ –  and to use what time we have to give ourselves the best chance to survive and even thrive as the shocks arrive.  Of course, I use the term ‘Prepper’ slightly tongue-in-cheek. The word has negative connotations – being applied in the USA mostly to the individuals who take to the hills with six months of canned beans, a few firearms and as much ammunition as they can carry.  

Prepare to regenerate our health, our communities and our planet

Prepping now must be an activity in which all sensible people must engage.  But not in the sense of preparing as individuals, but preparing as communities.   A community can pull together, support each other, take on different tasks, share knowledge and pool skills.  This is the spirit which must emerge – to create resilience in the short term but also to ‘prep’ in a way that regenerates our health, the health of our communities and the health of the planet. To do this will mean understanding complex interconnections and working in collaboration – something which OnePlanet technology has been designed to do.

At the end of last year, I dubbed 2023 as ‘The Year of the Great Paradigm Shift’.  We are only a couple of weeks into 2023, yet with the extreme climate events across Europe, USA and Australia,  I am only more convinced. 

So look to your community.  Find others who are like-minded. Build that community. Make it resilient and regenerative.  Give yourself and your loved ones the best chance in a way that gives others the chance to create their own such communities. Connect to Regenerate.

OnePlanet and community action

My team and I at OnePlanet are helping community groups to create their own resource maps – for example working with Transition Town Worthing on their Resource Map to build well-being, community and climate action.  

If you want to explore these issues in more depth, then don’t hesitate to reach out and connect with me, Pooran Desai on Linkedin.  Or come to see us in person at the South East Climate Alliance (SECA) Annual Gathering in Brighton on 21st January, or online on 9th February at the SECA Knowledge Sharing Event.

For London Climate Action Week 2024, we’re looking at connecting health and climate action across the city! Learn more and register below: