If it keeps on rainin’…
If it keeps on rainin’, levee’s gonna break…
So sang Memphis Minnie and Kansas Joe McCoy back in 1929 about the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927, but you may be more familiar with Led Zeppelin’s epic 1971 interpretation with its grinding apocalyptic groove. The words and the nagging sense of impending disaster strike a chord as I write this while trundling across England by train – almost every low lying field is a lake and rivers have burst their banks. I’m on my way to Taunton for a client meeting, but I fear that Somerset may be completely submerged – the train is stopping at Bristol.
Mark my words, the ducks will inherit the earth.
The floods will inevitably, and rightly, lead to calls for more flood defences, compensation and for them to “do something”. And it is clear that, if this is the climatic path we are now locked into, we have got to act. How vulnerable are our homes, offices, warehouses, factories and farms? What damage can unpredictable weather cause to our operations, logistics and communications? What will it cost individuals, organisations and the economy?
Sustainability is not just about trying to do less damage, but about adapting to the new realities – whether it’s resilience to extreme weather or the erosion of the resource base we depend upon. Those are big threats, but of course they are business opportunities too. That might sound cynical, but if enough entrepreneurial business identify and exploit these openings, it will help us all in the long term.
Cryin’ won’t help you, prayin’ won’t do you no good,
When the levee breaks, mama, you got to move.