If Climate Change was a shark, water would be its teeth – once we’ve said that, what happens? Not much. Still, 70% of Climate Change’s consequences will be felt through water. Isn’t it time to better prepare for Climate Change Adaptation? Let’s explore:
with 🎙️ Lauren Enright – Founder of Axiom Climate LLC
with 🎙️ Michael Stanley Gallisdorfer – Water Sustainability Strategist
💧 Lauren, Michael, and Indrani Pal will lead a Session Day at the upcoming American Geophysical Union Meeting in Chicago: “Adapting to Climate Change: Innovative Solutions for Building Water Resilience to Long-term Meteorological & Hydrological Change.”
What we covered:
🌊 How if Climate Change is felt through water, you have to build water resilience in the new realm of climate change adaptation
♻️ How climate change adaptation could benefit from innovation and new technologies and why it hasn’t leveraged them so far
🎤 How the key is to engage with stakeholders on the emotional level, and how to actually do that
2️⃣ Two examples of concrete roll-outs of climate change adaptation approaches and what we can learn from them
🤝 How there’s a strong link between tech, finance and stakeholders and how to further strengthen it
🟢 How climate change adaptation is a process and what needs to happen in which sequence
🌱 How success in climate change adaptation will be measured and what we all have to win in the process
🔨 Understanding Business and Finance to better work with it, getting mavericks together, breaking the silo’s walls, flood management, New Orleans, AIDA… and much more!
🔥 … and of course, we concluded with the 𝙧𝙖𝙥𝙞𝙙 𝙛𝙞𝙧𝙚 𝙦𝙪𝙚𝙨𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣𝙨 🔥
🔗 Check the American Geophysical Union’s website
🔗 Send your warmest regards to Michael on LinkedIn
is on Linkedin ➡️
Teaser: Climate Change Adaptation
Table of contents
- What we covered:
- Teaser: Climate Change Adaptation
- What is the American Geophysical Union?
- Full Transcript:
- Introducing: Lauren Enright, Founder of Axiom Climate
- Introducing: Michael Stanley Gallisdorfer – the deepest voice among this podcast’s alumni
- Lauren, Michael, Indrani: Water and Climate Change Mavericks?
- 5 Key Aspects of Climate Change Adaptation
- How to build Water Resilience to Climate Change?
- How to tackle water resilience with a fresh touch?
- How much open-minded is too broad?
- Why does it take new technologies to solve the climate change adaptation challenges?
- Leveraging gamification and psychology
- Concrete Solutions and Roll-Outs to kickstart Climate Change Adaptation
- What is the most pressing challenge to climate change adaptation?
- What’s the link to ESG Finance?
- What happens before and after the AGU?
- What’s the KPI for success in Climate Change Adaptation?
- Rapid fire questions:
- Other Episodes:
What is the American Geophysical Union?
The American Geophysical Union (AGU) is a scientific organization that seeks to promote the discovery and dissemination of knowledge about Earth and space. It was founded in 1919 and is headquartered in Washington, D.C. The AGU is made up of over 60,000 members from 137 countries, who work in a variety of fields including geology, atmospheric science, oceanography, and space science. The AGU publishes a number of journals and organizes conferences, workshops, and other events to promote the exchange of scientific ideas and information.
These are computer-generated, so expect some typos 🙂
Antoine Walter: Hi, Lauren. Hi, Michael. Welcome, Lauren. Welcome back, Michael! I’m really happy to have the two of you together with me today. You’re two-on-one, so please be gentle and kind to me. How are you?
Lauren Enright: I am well, thank you, and thanks for having us.
Michael Stanley Gallisdorfer: I’m fine also.
Antoine Walter: You have a bit of an agenda and the reason for the both of you to be together with me today, it’s that you will be featured in a session at a conference pretty time soon. And we’re gonna go a bit deeper into that in the deep dive. So for now, let me just use that as a teaser.
Introducing: Lauren Enright, Founder of Axiom Climate
Let’s start by getting to discover you a bit. So, Lauren, you’re the founder and CEO of Axiom, and my first question is pretty straightforward. What is Axiom?
Lauren Enright: Axiom is a water and water risk consultancy. We’re motivated by. strategizing, innovative and integrated experiences for the general public to really understand water-related climate issues and technologies firsthand.
Antoine Walter: that is the pitch. Now, if I go a bit more in-depth on your website, I’ve seen the picture of a kayak. What has that to do with the strategizing?
Lauren Enright: in essence, I really believe that tangible experiences create memories whether positive or negative in the brain. And these moments and experiences actually translate and create receptivity for actually a unique understanding. And I basically translate that understanding into an unrelatable subject like climate, like water, and technologies.
And in this case, the three of us are really extremely passionate about climate and water. And that’s what essentially I’m trying to do with my startup is linking water and an ice based actually experiences to climate and water technologies.
What’s Axiom’s founder story?
Antoine Walter: And how did you come to that? What’s your founder story?
Lauren Enright: it’s been a long road probably ever since I was like five years old, but I can jump a little bit into what happened in my twenties and I got my master’s in maritime trade and maritime security which led me to studying climate change and fresh water related issues in the Arctic and really from a macro point of view as well as drilling down into more micro issues.
And from there I then converged my love of the outdoor, specifically mountaineering and watershed issues into forming this startup that is where I am today.
Antoine Walter: Indrani, who is your third person in that conference works with you at Axiom. I’m right.
Lauren Enright: Yeah, Indrani’s worked with me part-time for the last. like a year and a half. We met through sort of serendipitous events and then as I’ve gotten contracts in the last say, 18 months, I’ve like, I’ve pulled her in.
Introducing: Michael Stanley Gallisdorfer – the deepest voice among this podcast’s alumni
Antoine Walter: Well, we’re gonna go a bit deeper into what you do with Axiom, probably because that’s linked to your conference. But right before, I have to welcome you back, Michael. you’ve been. The kind of voice where I’m jealous as a host because you have more a radio voice than I have a radio voice. So, welcome back.
You were with us by season two, episode 17, and for the ones which have missed that one, which is a pity because it’s one of these episodes, which I keep referring to regularly because we covered nature-based solutions. We covered how to be close to a river and how that refreshes the mind, which is very close to the topic I guess we’ll be discussing today.
But for the people who would’ve missed you, and honestly, that’s pretty hard, if you’ve ever crossed LinkedIn, what would be your elevator pitch to yourself?
Michael Stanley Gallisdorfer: thank you again for having me back on the show Anton, and let’s just recap season two, episode 17. Briefly, what’s the pitch? Well, I talk water for business and I talk water for business and government in such a way that regular people can understand what it’s worth, its value and importance.
Understanding the Business Mindset to connect it to the Water Challenges the right way
And what does that boil down to in real everyday terms? Well, investing in nature-based solutions, engineering, science, business, sustainability, ESG, et cetera, they have real value. And we know they have real value because of how we measure return on investment. So when you invest in nature-based solutions and invest in resilient water infrastructure, you know ways to work with water effectively in cities, you get about four to one return on investment.
That’s $4 for every $1 spent. We know that from data from the usa, from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. So what does that mean for the bigger picture? Well, you know, if it works for the public sector, it probably works for the private sector too. And that’s really what I do. You know, I like to help connect water solution providers to water problems and solve them to add value to people’s lives and to the
Developing the technology companies that deliver the right solutions in the realm of climate change adaptation
Antoine Walter: I’ve seen that you’re working with Desalytics, which got me curious because that sounds like the beginning of a new track for you. I don’t want you to spoil everything because I know that you’ve gave me some behind the scenes and I don’t want to share the behind the scenes. That wouldn’t be very nice from me.
But is there something you can reveal?
Michael Stanley Gallisdorfer: Not so much. I mean,
Antoine Walter: I can absolutely live with a no. No problem!
Michael Stanley Gallisdorfer: I mean, I could say briefly that, you know, Walid Khoury may understand water from a broad scale and kind of operating independently as just an affiliate. I think about ways to solve water, because just like Lauren was talking about, the way to solve climate is inextricably linked to water, and that’s really what brought us all together because we care about this.
This is something that matters and it’s something that also has value, and not just personal value, but economic value. So I call it a triple win. You know, we’ve got value for the world, we’ve got personal value, and we also have business value. So we’re at the verge of a new world of water-based values.
Lauren, Michael, Indrani: Water and Climate Change Mavericks?
Antoine Walter: Well, actually, you’re offering me the perfect transition because I was wonder. I’ve met you physically, Lauren, I’ve met you digitally. Michael, I don’t know what brought the two of you together. Apparently it’s linked to the value of water, but maybe you can explain me a bit more.
Lauren Enright: Michael, do you wanna start?
Michael Stanley Gallisdorfer: Lauren I’ll just start briefly and say, I think one day you said, let’s talk, and so we talked , and then we went from there.
Lauren Enright: I had a pressing question that I knew. Needed actually Michael’s expertise. And this was probably about two years ago, maybe even two and a half years ago, where I called you and I’m just like, Michael, and you just spout out the most like, intricate though succinct information for me to jot down, okay, this would be my next step.
And I took it to heart. Even though, you know, you’re like, do you want to go on a next step? And I’m like, no, let’s hang there for a second. But you wowed me by how you articulated information so succinctly and we’ve sort of followed each other ever since. And. I consider almost like Michael, Indrani and I all mavericks in the field, like we’re all coming from very varied ways and point of views.
So we’re not just like, Hey, we’re jumping in it, we have this one specific approach to it, which I very much valued in Michael and Indrani. But Michael, tell me what you think of Indrani and I
How to “tame” the impetuous MSG
Michael Stanley Gallisdorfer: I think you’re great. I’m very grateful that you put up with me because I’m okay. I can be a difficult person to deal with. As long as I have a clear focus and a very clear objective, which you gave me, you said, I gotta get this thing done. How do we. Then I’m hyper-focused like an animal, like a hound.
I know what I’m doing, but , if I don’t have constant reminders to stay on track and I’m left to my own devices I need handling like just to protect me from the world and the world from me, and to keep me in line with whatever the world needs me to be in, aligned with. So what do I think about our collaboration?
I think that we bring a real lot of unique value to the water sector because we’re not trying to solve problems in the way that people traditionally would solve them. We’re not sitting down and saying, well, this is what we have. Let’s use this to get this thing done. Let’s solve this problem with these known things.
We’re just imagining how we could solve it. And then we’re starting with the end essentially, and then looking to fill in the gaps so we know that we want to get this thing done. Like we wanna make sure that this vineyard has enough water or something. We imagine the kinds of technologies and people that will need to be in place and what the principal or owner or client or whoever needs.
And then we see what exists and then we try to fill it in what doesn’t exist? Well, maybe we can build it or find someone to develop it, or maybe someone’s out there. So that’s what’s unique about how we approach these problems. Like I , I do what they tell me to do and I get it done. And we use our creativity in combination with our analytical ability and the ability to communicate the message, to solve the problem at a reasonable price, and then communicate the value of that solution to the client and to the world.
And that’s kind of how I’ve been thinking of our work for the American Geophysical Union Conference coming up.
5 Key Aspects of Climate Change Adaptation
- Climate change adaptation is not the same thing as climate change mitigation, which refers to actions taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prevent further warming of the planet. Instead, adaptation focuses on preparing for and responding to the impacts of climate change that are already happening or are expected to happen.
- Adaptation can take many forms, including building sea walls to protect against sea level rise, developing drought-resistant crops, and creating early warning systems for extreme weather events.
- While adaptation is necessary to help communities and ecosystems cope with the effects of climate change, it is not a substitute for mitigation. In other words, we still need to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions in order to prevent the worst impacts of climate change from occurring.
- Adaptation can be costly, and not all communities have the resources they need to adapt to the changing climate. As a result, some groups, such as low-income communities and indigenous peoples, are at greater risk of being impacted by climate change.
- Adaptation can also have unintended consequences, such as when measures are taken to protect one area or species inadvertently harm another. For example, building a sea wall to protect a coastal city from flooding could disrupt the natural habitat of nearby marine life. As a result, adaptation efforts must be carefully planned and evaluated to ensure that they are effective and do not cause additional harm.
How to build Water Resilience to Climate Change?
Antoine Walter: So you mentioned the American Geo Physical Union Conference. You mentioned Vine Yards, which by extension makes me think of water resilience, and I guess there’s a connection between those two elements. So what is that session that you’ll be holding at the AGU? You, what is it all about? What can people expect from what you’ll be presenting?
Lauren Enright: AGU, as you mentioned stands for the American Geophysical Union. it’s been in, I believe in corporation since 1920. And primarily it’s a nonprofit studying atmospheric ocean space planetary basically issues. And it’s evolving around science, their research, their outcomes. And essentially just this year they’ve opened it up into innovations, which, lucky for us we’re.
Essentially wanting those larger point of views being brought in apart from just the scientists. Even though we extremely value the scientists and we ourselves have backgrounds in science, we then are wanting to pull in, which we are friends and colleagues from the finance, you know, industry, from the psychology sphere from industries.
Bringing the topic in front of 25’000 qualified people
And this essentially is where we’re really wanting to focus in on these innovations and these actually nature-based solutions, hardware, software, across the board and what these outcomes will be. The fun thing about AGU is the amount of people that actually attend. So it’s I believe there’s 130,000 membership across the board internationally and about 25,000 people will attend in Chicago.
So it’s not necessarily just this, 500 person event. But it’s definitely large and we know that. And so we wanted to say, okay, let’s gather our minds and be able to come up with a session . That was accepted months ago. It was probably four or five months ago that then we tackled and we said, let’s start inviting people and people wanted to join.
Antoine Walter: If we go to the bone of the session what’s gonna be inside?
Lauren Enright: So in essence the session’s going to be primarily parsed off in four different panels. The start is gonna be about climate risk resilience, the opener of the day, looking at how we got here and why we got here. We all sort of know that story, but in essence, it’s nice to start and do a little intro on that.
A Climate Change Adaptation AGU session in 4 Steps
We’re gonna bring in topics such as is data analytics taking us in climate risk resiliency? We’re looking at like where are specific companies leading and why they’re slow or why they’re actually fast to adopt those specific solutions.
So we have some, leading name industries that you guys would know or you know, folks in the industry that I’m sure your listeners would know. As well as jumping into the . Second panel is around finance, looking at how the stock market is relating to water risks as well as climate and.
Reinvesting, divesting your own portfolio specific to fossil fuel emissions, specific to water related issues. And this gets into a little bit of a gray area because there’s not as much obviously, research in this area. So it’s a more fun, I guess, like topic to, to dive into within this specific session.
The third session, as I’m remembering is is gamification. So the three of us really believe in obviously these experiences, not just physical like I’ve described, going out in the mountains and learning about stuff, but within the home. So looking at like, how can a family understand their own water efficiencies and own water management within their own home playing a game.
It’s a digital game on the computer that we’re gonna showcase. And then the fourth panel of the day is around nature-based solutions, and those will be tailored towards looking at specific issues. So in sediment rise, in river flow rise in looking at specific tributaries around the United States as well as around the World.
How to tackle water resilience with a fresh touch?
Antoine Walter: So how much of a terrible shortcut would it be if I was to say that you’re trying to tackle water resilience with a fresh angle? A fresh mind, just because the traditional way is on one hand, boring on the other hand, not efficient.
Lauren Enright: Yeah, I think you were spot on.
Michael Stanley Gallisdorfer: Change comes from the outside.
So who else but us three to do the thing that no person in their right mind would do and say, let’s try something new that’s high risk. That has a lot of potential. That would not be something that you might hear in an engineering design discussion. You might not hear this in your standard sort of academic colloquium.
because in those conversations, the same people are always at the table. And what we are doing is we’re bringing together people from different areas who have different perspectives on water. , one of the things we’re also doing is we’re putting together sort of a pre-pa, like a primer that includes a lot of the elements as an introduction to the main session on Friday as a way to help people get into the concepts, to get into the conversation and think about it throughout the week.
One week to get an insight shot in cold but vibrant Chicago
And what this does is it really helps people who are within established disciplines and domains to see how their work fits into this emerging landscape for water like this emerging new world of water where the old solutions just don’t work because change is progressing so rapidly and it gives us a chance to really focus on solutions and not just problems.
and that leads directly into things like the knowledge we gained from data analytics. And that will inform things like deciding where to implement nature-based solutions. Because as we’ve seen recently, you know, river flows are down throughout Europe in parts of the US so that’s playing havoc with our water supply.
How much open-minded is too broad?
Antoine Walter: My devils advocate hats for a second. I love the program. I really love the pitch. I’ve listened to you, I’ve read what you sent me. I’m wondering, isn’t it a bit too broad, what’s the key message if you have right now, to give me like, like three take on messages from the people that will be spending the day with you?
Lauren Enright: I’ll jump in. By nature, we knew it was broad, but we also know that climate and climate, tech and water involving is a huge industry and is a huge issue across the board. We actually got authors from all different sort of industries and we had to turn, sadly, people sort of away and down, unfortunately, just because they weren’t really fitting in with our topic.
So we are trying to really narrow in on a very large topic in essence, but that’s also something that we’re wanting to glean and honestly understand. Where are these gaps? Where are these places where the conventional industries or the corporations or the engineers, are actually missing out and not to their demise or their detriment, but we’re actually wanting to aid and help them.
Focusing innovation and new approaches to the places where traditional approaches failed
Because I think, like you said, Antoine, , Things have been going around the same as before and it’s sort of the same discussion over and over, which is honestly why Indrani, Michael and I are much more about action than we are about. The talking and let’s keep talking about it and we’re sort of like, where’s the physical action on the ground?
The less talking, the lex writing about, research. Whereas we wanna actually see that action. And I think we all know that action comes from more the general public. Really understanding what these climate issues are in relation to water, in just essence of saying, oh my gosh, there’s, there’s larger amount of rainfall that’s gonna, affect the polar vortex let’s actually spell those things out to the public so then they can actually really attach themselves and physically be able to say, oh my gosh, I will need a specific device or this technology.
And to be able to hold that and own that, rather than say like a utility, take it into their own hands.
The 3-step Approach to close the awareness gap between a broader audience and water specialists
Michael Stanley Gallisdorfer: It’s the big challenge that we’re facing in presenting a topic like this that’s so important and so big is being able to communicate it effectively with all sorts of people. And we know that in the water sector right now, there’s just this huge communications problem. There’s a huge gap between people’s awareness and understanding of water and that of the professional sector.
People just don’t see water, they don’t know what’s there. So what this session does is it helps all sorts of people gain access to it. So think of it as the big picture of water, not quite water 1 0 1, but more like a big picture water practicum. As Lauren said, we’re gonna do something about this. So one message is, here’s the problem, here’s where the holes are.
Two, this is how we can solve the problem. And three, these are the tools, techniques, and cultural innovations that we need to develop if we’re going to effectively address the problem in real time. Because we can’t wait. You know, we can’t wait for utilities, which are gonna operate on a slower model, and we can’t necessarily wait for government, which could take forever.
We need to give people choices now, like Lauren said, to solve their own problems. And this is a way to do that, to start the process.
Why does it take new technologies to solve the climate change adaptation challenges?
Antoine Walter: If I take you very well, articulated three steps. The problem is something we’ve discussed quite regularly on that microphone in the sense that fighting climate change has a clear message. It’s zero carbon. If you go to zero carbon fight climate change.
If you go into climate change adaptation, climate change, mitigation, saying any ways it’s gonna happen in a certain fashion, we can limit how much it happens. But we have to adapt to the consequences of that. Then we’ve talked about that as well. It has a lot to do with water because there is this quite empty sentence, but which sums it up still, which is if climate change is a shark, water is its teeth.
Once we’ve said that, we don’t have said much. But still it explains a bit the problem. But I think you’re fully right in the sense that awareness of the problem is not yet at the level where we could just say. Let’s skip that because everybody knows it. No, everybody doesn’t know it. So it’s really reassuring that you get the people from there.
That’s the part I fully get. Then you’re presenting the solution and the technologies, and here again, I’m playing the devil’s advocate today. That’s my role. How much do we need to come with new solutions and how much is it just about enforcing? The ones we do know are working today, but nobody dares to do it?.
It’s not so much about technology than it is about deployment and execution
Lauren Enright: And I think that’s part of it. I think we’ve noticed that there is that lack of deployment and whether it’s a marketing issue, whether it’s a barrier to, financing or getting, shall I say, a sales force behind every single climate, related technology out there. We all know why electric vehicles, we all know why solar and wind are taking off.
They’re meteor type of investments. And I think the return on investments specifically to get into the finance side of it is just very tangible. And I think it all sort of circulates around and around going, what is this value of water when, you know, we need it for our survival, we need it for practically everything, we do and come into contact in the day.
So it’s essentially like our lowest common denominator among our human race that we’re not ironically able to value it. And I think that’s sort of the trick and that’s part of where I’m interested in, I think where Michael and Indrani and I are trying to go, where do we fit into trying to understand.
Where these technologies and where our behaviors are lacking in trying to come up with better solutions. Because right now we’re sort of just seeing again like I said prior in the podcast, just it’s over and over. The sort of the same thing. And I don’t mean to say we wanna like shock an audience or shock the public, I think it’s actually really disseminating information through ways , that the public is actually used to.
Applying Copywriter’s AIDA to connect climate change adaptation with a broader audience
Michael Stanley Gallisdorfer: it’s a way to help the public connect on a action-based level on a very emotional level. what comes to mind is a line from David Mez, Glen Gary, Glen Ross, which is, AIDA. Attention, interest, decision. Action. So we’re calling attention to this. We’re saying pay attention.
This is interest. , you can decide to use these technologies and these systems. And when I think about gamification, you know, you can change your behaviors by having fun. Fun is a positive reinforcement, and that leads to action. You know, it leads to real action that you could take in your life.
And think of it like this. if a child is playing a game, that child’s behavior will lead to influences on the family’s behavior. Because we all know how persistent children are. I’ve got three kids myself, and Christmas is coming up and they want presence. So specifically touching on gamification, it is a very strong way to create behavioral change with respect to water, and also to create awareness.
Because the concept and focus of the game is water awareness. In some cases, saving water, being aware of water in your environment by directing attention. So looping this back around. Yeah, we’re not trying to like shock an awe. We’re just saying it’s here. . And when it comes to solutions, yes there are extant solutions.
It’s just the market requires education. You know, market facilitation education is critical to the business case for emerging water technologies. Ways to share clear, coherent, plain language value propositions that make people feel comfortable with their choices. And that will lead to the kind of change that helps us all.
That triple win once again, for environment, for the individual and for society
Leveraging gamification and psychology
Antoine Walter: There’s this element of gamification in psychology, which comes regularly in, in what you’ve shared so far. And that was also something which caughts my attention in your, I repeat excellent pitch to the conference. , you are calling to climate psychologist and that’s the first time ever I saw that concept or or even occupation or job.
I don’t know exactly. What is a climate psychologist?
Lauren Enright: I’ll jump in. I would say a climate psychologist is a professional who can actually attribute people’s grief of the planet to their own personal life, which might be extremely intuitive on a human’s sort of internal sensories.
But it’s probably twofold at where psychology lies. Within looking at climate and these environmental challenges, I think the general public , is definitely getting more and more stressed as there’s like an uptick in water related issues. We can name out fire hurricane, just like th those kind of Washington post media, like, ah, things are going on crazy and it’s.
but when that happens, things sort of neutralize. So, oh, it’s another hurricane. Oh, it’s another, I don’t want to say the other side of it from what’s been on recently in the news that’s not climate related, but the general public becomes very neutralized toward the situation at hand. It’s sort of by our human nature to feel that sense of just normalcy in our minds.
And I think where people are leaning towards is becoming actually more stressed in their own specific community at what’s going on, or them being pressured to feel like they need to purchase a specific device, specific vehicle, you know, in essence, because they’re being pressured financially or obviously from health related reasons.
So I feel like nature has a lot to teach us at the end of the day. And if we can slow down and learn from it. But I mean, that’s sort of a long-winded answer as to why a climate psychologist is actually really, you know, necessary at this point in our lives.
Connecting with people on an emotional level
Antoine Walter: I think Michael, you mentioned AIDA as a framework, which is a framework which is appealing to our psychology as well.
Michael Stanley Gallisdorfer: It’s like Lauren said people are starting to feel the emotional effects of whatever they perceive climate change to be. And that’s because there’s this constant alert signaling in the media because people respond to alerts and that’s what a lot of headlines about climate are.
You know, rivers are running dry fields are withering. These are scary things and facts are hard. And these are facts. So we have scary things backed up by hard facts and people are getting anxious and that’s not good. And they’re getting anxious. Let’s think about, you know, what just happened for the past few years.
They’re getting anxious on top of covid anxiety. So what does a climate psychologist do, and how does it connect to the AIDA model, the A I D A model of adoption? It gives people a way to make choices and take actions because when people can make choices and take actions, they’re self-actualized and they feel good doing this and this is a way to mitigate stress
it basically gets them to chill out when they can take actions because they now have choices that can lead to change in their lives that help them to deal with these big problems that they felt disempowered towards before, like climate and water is the way to.
Concrete Solutions and Roll-Outs to kickstart Climate Change Adaptation
Antoine Walter: we covered the psychology, we covered the awareness. We covered a bit, your different approach to it, something which. Sounds interesting in your approach to me as well, is that you want to go and lead with real word examples and real case studies. I know you will probably not want to spoil the entire session right now, but if you had to tease me with one of these real life examples, can you share me?
Maybe one each.
Lauren Enright: Sure, I’ll jump in. So one example I can give is a weather monitoring sort of like it’s around weather monitoring and looking at the uptick in water related disasters, specifically over the uk. And this is actually in regards to security, so looking at it from a national security level. And we have a featured speaker, I won’t reveal her name, but
she was the assistant general at the un and she’s extremely delighted to speak about this specific technology. So we’ve had numerous discussions at how it would be deployed and why it would be deployed and what are sort of the necessary steps that it would take. If that’s sort of along the line, of your question, I can give other examples, but let me know if I’ve answered that one correctly.
Antoine Walter: that’s a good example. If you have more, I’m happy to take.
Lauren Enright: Michael, do you want to jump in or I can keep going.
The example of flood management
Michael Stanley Gallisdorfer: I’ll jump in on the other side. And when I say the other side, what do I mean? I mean, once we know what kind of water-related disasters we are experiencing in with higher and higher frequency, we can deploy solutions effectively in a targeted fashion. We can optimize our decision-making to solve the problems.
And the specific real world example I bring up is we have a real world renowned gentleman who pretty much. Is the originator of nature-based solutions for river design. And when we think about how rivers are affected by changes in water availability related to climate change, we’re not just thinking about how to restore rivers or help them come back to life.
We’re thinking about how to keep them alive. So nature-based solutions to potential, you know, river flooding or drought could allow rivers to maintain certain areas of key habitat and protect critical infrastructure. And even if we restore floodplains, increase river aquifer storage, which increases local water availability, what does that mean in real terms?
If you design. Rivers in line with natural principles using natural materials like logs, trees intact floodplains. You can say, here is where we’ve had problems with river flooding or drought in the past. We’re gonna target our natural design to either increase water availability by improving riparian zone function in areas of drought, or creating more stable banks that reflects a natural accumulations of wood where there’s more flooding.
And it allows us to deploy that solution effectively with knowledge to start because we can’t make the right choices if we don’t know where the problems are and how bad they are first. And this helps us save money because we don’t have tons of money to waste. So using nature-based solutions for river design in flood and drought prone areas based upon our awareness, which Lauren mentioned earlier, this awareness of water related climate disaster.
What is the most pressing challenge to climate change adaptation?
Antoine Walter: You mentioning how we have to understand the problem first. Let me try to get that one right. What is the number one key topic problem? Is it that we have to fight climate change, or is it that we have to fight our slowness to adapt to climate change?
Michael Stanley Gallisdorfer: Oh, I could say, Lauren, may I feel this one first.
Lauren Enright: Step in. Please do.
Michael Stanley Gallisdorfer: O okay. I would say that what we’re looking at here is we’ve gotta fight apathy and we’ve gotta fight fear and anxiety. So we can’t fight climate change. What we can do is we can work with it and the way that we work with it is by overcoming our barriers to action. So the big point is take action. You can.
Fight, the fear of the unknown, because to solve this problem, we can’t do it theoretically or analytically. We have to just take risks and see what happens and see what works and what doesn’t.
Antoine Walter: By taking risk in that field. Usually goes with the right incentives. Do we have the right setup of incentives in place so that we would dare to take the.
Michael Stanley Gallisdorfer: I think so, and I’m gonna refer back to, I guess sort of water intelligence systems, you know, water sensing systems like any sort of predictive systems or descriptive systems that allow us to understand when we are, why and how water-related disasters could occur. What that does for us is because, you know, let’s think about a more practical example, a floodplain mapping.
So floodplain mapping maps were made maybe using data that’s, I don’t know how old now, maybe 20, 50 years old, who knows how old it is, but it no longer works with better intelligence. We can say don’t build here, the incentive for the private sector, for the insurance and reinsurance industry is, look here, we can tell you we’re not to ensure houses are in or businesses, and that will shape the investment landscape.
And it has value because it protects companies from risk in the public sector. It helps the government create policies that are effective, that allow for the private sector to invest safely, thus creating a stronger economy. So those are all kind of high level perspectives on where the value comes from and why the risk is worth it, but it’s there.
The example of flood risk insurance
Antoine Walter: Let me tell you on your example, which is a very good example, I guess with the flood plane. What I’m trying to understand is that on that microphone some weeks ago had a discussion with Nick Shufro from the Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration, and he was sharing how only 9 million insurance policies are taking the US for flood.
So everybody sees the news, everybody sees that extreme climate s are gonna happen with an increased Repetition and increased risk of happening every year. And still it sounds like the incentive is not strong enough for people to move. So how do you move people and how can you succeed in moving people here when apparently federal programs struggled?
Michael Stanley Gallisdorfer: Okay.
Let’s start out with the basics. People avoid pain and move towards pleasure or ease. If we know that an area that was previously safe from floods in a city or wherever is now highly prone to floods because of shifting rainfall patterns more extreme river flows, you know, very sharp hydrographs, you know, big peaks and flood flows, insurance companies won’t insure them.
One, which means that their house won’t get rebuilt or fixed after a flood. And two, you know, banks won’t lend for new builds. So those are two sources of, pain negative affect. And so people will move away from. Towards areas that work. You know, his historical case would be looking at the old city of New Orleans in the usa and Louisiana.
New Orleans History: the perfect illustration
The old city was built in areas that were not subjected to flooding. And only after the core of engineers catalyzed and controlled the Mississippi River did we start to see all this development in the low parishes. And that’s what led to the problems that we experienced with Hurricane Katrina. All that flooding, you know, those levees weren’t guaranteed for that kind of storm.
that’s how we see change. You know, we see behavioral change through creating incentives for people to move, build your house here, or create high density residential buildings here and pain. You can’t get insurance and the government will protect you. And so people will make their choices based upon those two, two poles of human affect,
What’s the link to ESG Finance?
Antoine Walter: If I take the headlines of your conference you’re aiming at the ESG investors, so they could be the indirect incentive I was referring to because if they only finance and promote the project which go in the right direction, then indirectly you have your kind of incentive given by the market this time.
So what is the key take on message that you’re preparing and casting for those ESG finance people?
Michael Stanley Gallisdorfer: Lauren, do you wish to begin this one? I have a thought that comes right to mind right now.
Lauren Enright: Sure. Yeah. You can jump in. I have, I can follow up as.
Get your Climate Change Adaptation right and avoid to have stranded assets
Michael Stanley Gallisdorfer: with respect to ESG investors sustainable funds, , what do these changes in human behavior do with respect to water? Well, it makes your investments more reliable because the last thing that you want to deal with as a fund manager is the risk of stranded assets. And that’s one thing that we encounter when people try to get into these crazy high growth funds that you know, there’s, they’re high risk and they’re high risk for a reason and they’re becoming more risky as water becomes more and more uncertain.
So what’s the take home message for sustainable investments? ESG investors, ESG staff at corporations. You want to put your money where water will be in the right amount, at the right time, and won’t be at the wrong times, places where it’s not gonna flood. Places where you do have reliable multiple sources of water, atmospheric ground, and surface water because it means that your portfolios are stabilized and you can provide a more reliable return for your investors.
And business runs on reliability, and that’s better for all of us.
Antoine Walter: Lauren?
The differentiated approach to ESG between Europe and the US
Lauren Enright: Yeah. And ju and just to jump in, I think e s g by nature’s become a nuanced term because by nature a lot of people have thrown it under the bus or said it’s greenwashing. And yeah it could be, myriad or , somewhere in between because of articles, you know, specifically saying the economist written about it a few months ago.
But without in hand, the metrics around E S G the environmental, the social, the governance, like the scoring specifically here in the US as well as in Europe. They are very much attributed to specific water metrics. And I think that’s something actually to where I have worked in the past with a few companies, specifically ESG rating companies.
And to give you an idea, there’s about, say 150 ESG rated companies out there that. Aren’t corporations, but that are actually the ESG where the analysts sit and people from a higher level set of views go and look at specific corporations and look at, you know, all the different metrics from biodiversity to waste management and their sits in the e the water where we’re extremely obviously interested.
And those metrics look at filters such as a water strategy, a water plan where they publish numerical water related analytics and data. They report on water recycling. And I think these specific metrics are extremely valuable in looking at revenue and looking at net sales and looking at where pollutants are.
And so, even in Europe, and we can jump to where ESG looks quantitatively in the US very differently than what it does in Europe. I think in Europe you guys follow the, SF d r where there’s the environmental, the social and the governance and following, like Article eight and Article nine, where you guys are either aligned or not.
But those follow more, I believe, where facilities are. So like where water stressed facilities are and if those sites actually have a specific water score and why they will or won’t be. Built on that specific site from then on. It’s high level, but like Michael’s attributing to, it all runs its course within where we’re trying to lead in this session in our, in actually our specific finance session, looking at how finance and the S M P are all really tied to industry, not necessarily water, but inside of where the E is within industry.
What happens before and after the AGU?
Antoine Walter: I think that makes for a good tour of the content of your session. I like before closing that deep dive , to understand a bit what happens before and after. How is it for the before? Because we are now. Some, as we record, I guess we’re about two weeks before the actual conference. And I’m wondering is it like Nirvana style come as you are or would you expect people to come in prepared with questions having read stuff or how do you want to take them?
Do you take them off guard or prepare it?
Lauren Enright: Within this specific AGU session these attendees are gonna be quite. I would say prepared to attend our session because of the 25,000 people attending, I think they’ve got a tight schedule, so it’s very much of like Tuesday. They’re gonna attend from 10 to 11, this specific session. Ours is Friday, it’s December, I believe, 16th and it’s all day session they gave us, which was nice cuz we had quite a few authors that wanted to speak.
And so we will have a whole day session with sort of a. A preview you know, as, as far as what we’re going to actually entail for the entire day. And then we jump into the actual, , sessions and panels. We have breaks in between. Um, And then obviously at the end of concluding remarks in, you know, what we covered that day.
And then what is to follow regarding, how we’re gonna keep in touch with AGU and what this spring meeting is gonna entail with the three of us. And then specific partnerships , that we’re looking to actually like partner with. So as far as sort of that day goes, general, Michael, I believe is leading this session on Tuesday.
And Michael, remind me of the time, I think it’s 10 to 1130 or.
Michael Stanley Gallisdorfer: The pre-session introduction to the main session is Tuesday, from Tuesday December 13th from 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM and we’re gonna have a number of great guests from around the world to help our expert audience that is very savvy and well prepared to see exactly how their.
Can connect with and benefit from our main session on Friday because the key is that we bring value to the table for anybody who attends. We want you to walk away with something worth it, and we want to continue working with you in the future and keep the conversation going.
What’s the KPI for success in Climate Change Adaptation?
Antoine Walter: what will tell you that you had the intended impact after the session, after the conference, after everybody went home, went through the holiday season and had some time to think of what you’ve shared, what you’ve ignited in them, what you want them to start off fresh in 2023, what? What should drastically change that will tell you you’ve succeed.
Lauren Enright: I think it, it comes with feedback. First of all, I think it comes with action second. But as far as we are wanting our multiple day sessions to go with AGU and who actually attend is to form a larger community around. What we’ve been thinking for the last few years, and it doesn’t have to be, say these drastic changes, but it does have to have a rolling ball effect.
And I think between the three of us Indrani, Michael and I, we’re extremely excited to open the door and be able to gather feedback on where we’ve gone, what we’re, coming up against what other people’s feedback is, and to where we can actually move forward. Because I think that’s sort of one of the main pieces where I see people.
Just in general don’t have as much ability to gather feedback to say let’s have positive change. Let’s have negative change. But I think that’s sort of where in between these sessions is actually where we’re gonna ask for feedback. So it’s very much gonna be a conversational day as opposed to us just speaking to them and having our panelists just speak to them from this sort of hierarchy.
An important metric: people’s engagement
Michael Stanley Gallisdorfer: Yes, exactly, Lauren. That’s exactly how I see it. People are interested and engaged and want to do something. And what could that turn into After the holiday season, and I’m looking forward now, I’m looking towards the future, I could see people, experts in the academic sector and government saying, I see value in solving this problem.
Maybe I will engage in a form of social entrepreneurship with somebody I met at our session. Because as Lauren said, this is not a dictation. This is not from on high, you know, giving a message from the top of the mountain. This is very much on a level playing field saying, how can we work together?
So building the infrastructure for water innovation collaboration as a way to adapt to climate change. I personally wanna see people. executing on their thoughts and developing tools and coming together to solve this problem persistently. So let our session be a beginning, a way to connect and a way to move forward.
See you in Chicago?
Antoine Walter: Well that makes for a perfect round off for that deep dive. So thank both of you for that very interesting perspective. I have to say it’s a pity I won’t be in Chicago, I would’ve. Been happy to to, to see all of that’s rolling out live, if that’s fine for both of your proposals to switch to the rapid f
Michael Stanley Gallisdorfer: Sure.
Lauren Enright: I don’t think you would’ve wanted to come out to Chicago in December. It’s gonna be quite cold.
Antoine Walter: well actually, you know, I’ve been, no let me give you a fully uninteresting behind the scenes. First I’m a big fan of everything, which is cold, and my favorite TV show when I was a kid was emergency room. And I was always very jealous because they always had snow and Chicago seemed to be like the place where there’s always snow.
So to me, Chicago is like the dream city for that
Lauren Enright: I love it. Amazing.
Rapid fire questions:
Antoine Walter: For the rapid, fair question that I proposed to, to, to you is that I will be sending some of them to, to you, Lauren, some of them to Michael, and there’s one where I want to have both of your inputs. I’ll start with you, Lauren. What is the most exciting project you’ve been working on and why?
Lauren Enright: Okay. I’ve been working on a long-term project . For the last actually few months, it’s gonna progress into the next few years. And it’s involving the lessening snow pack around the United States. It’s involving ice climbing and it’s involving innovative climate and water technologies. So to be soon as to the unveiling of what’s gonna happen,
Antoine Walter: Let me mark your calendar here. The day you want to unveil that one, that microphone is open. I’m looking forward. Michael, can you name one thing that you’ve learned the hard way?.
Michael Stanley Gallisdorfer: Which one? Let’s see. One thing I’ve learned the hard way is how to communicate with the business community on the topic of water. Because most times you interact with somebody who’s from the business community proper, you know? And you say, Hey, water matters. Like, why? You know, why does water matter?
Why do I care? You know, it’s everywhere. We’ve got plenty of it. And the trick there is connecting water to what they want, which is typically some sort of profit or gain. So what I’ve learned the hard way is to start with the end. You know, you don’t have three minutes for an elevator pitch. You’ve got 15 seconds.
To get someone interested because nobody wants to waste their time. So I’ve learned not to waste business people’s time when it comes to water.
Antoine Walter: Lauren, is there something you are doing today in your job that you will not be doing in 10 years?
Lauren Enright: Hopefully not wearing as many hats as I do.
Antoine Walter: That’s a good one. Michael, what is the trend to watch out for in the water sector?
Michael Stanley Gallisdorfer: I would look at the water startup sector. I would keep your eyes wide open and attentive to who’s getting funded in what amounts and what kinds of technologies are generating sales, maybe not profits. I would be, I would look at companies that are starting to. Sell what I call a water optimization technologies.
You know, we’re thinking about things like, I’m thinking about things like hydro loop any kind of water recycling system. I would be looking at that for household use. I’d also be looking longer term at industrial water supply systems, especially atmospheric water generation systems because they fill in gaps in water supply that can’t be met with natural water or desalination.
So the water sector is growing as we speak, but in a strangely quiet way, it’s almost as if people don’t see it happening. It’s so big and all around us. So look at water startups and look at them very hard , and keep focused on them because I see tremendous growth in that.
Antoine Walter: for my last rapid for question, that’s the one which is for both of you. So you both have a chance to go at it. Lauren, you just said you want to have less hats still. I’m giving you one more. So next year there’s this big un water conference in New York, the first in 50 years. And there’ve been lots of comments about the agenda and some are amazed, some are pretty pissed at the agenda, but the agenda isn’t fully framed.
So we still have a chance to put topics on the agenda. And I’m wondering if you had to put one your. One on one with Hank oic, the special Envoy, which is writing that agenda, and you get a chance to put that specific topic on the agenda and it’ll stay there. What is that one topic you pick
Lauren Enright: I think waste water reuse.
I think it can tailor it actually into so many pieces in our life from how we, as Michael sort of reiterated the earlier on how we push away pain and how we push away sort of stuff that is unpleasurable, I gotta say wastewater, which I’ve done contracts now in wastewater it’s the bare bone of our systems.
It’s where we’re not physically seeing any of our waste water. We go away and it’s actually where a lot of the most progress is being done, specifically on the West Coast, but across the United States. And I think when we get that into our mind that we’re actually going to be using and reusing our water is gonna be a whole cyclical type of revelation for the everyday consumer, even though it is maybe one of the most disturbing pieces that, that we can sort of hold in ourselves.
It can go into narratives around our background. It can go into groundwater, it can go into. All different types of technologies, but I see wastewater reuse as sort of this topic that’s lingering in the background, but frankly, so many clients across the board have brought that up to me. And it’s the one issue that actually is lagging in terms of the regulation, in terms of the talk, in terms of where we’re gonna place our future in.
Antoine Walter: that’s definitely a topic which I would love to see on the agenda. So, so thank you for adding it. And Michael, same question to you. What would you put on the.
Michael Stanley Gallisdorfer: This one might sound extremely boring, but. I would love to hear more about groundwater and atmospheric water regulation frameworks. Now, why do I want to hear more about that? Because as more and more people are born and more and more people rely on these emerging areas of water supply, we need to know how to regulate and manage them effectively.
So how we craft policy on a global scale towards groundwater and atmospheric water resources will impact how the future of the water technology landscape evolves because we can’t just keep taking as much as we want whenever we want. It has to be in line with how the water cycle shifts and its dynamic nature and good regulation respects that.
Antoine Walter: Sounds like a key topic I’d like to see on the agenda as well. So I would probably vote for you as special envoy as well. So you, both of you got a new job thanks to me,
Michael Stanley Gallisdorfer: Another job.
Antoine Walter: Well, it’s been a pleasure to spend that bit more of an hour with you, I have to say. I’m really looking forward your session. Do you know if there’s gonna be any live streaming or is it really what happens in Chicago stays in Chicago?
Michael Stanley Gallisdorfer: It’s virtual, you know, there’s
Lauren Enright: I believe there’s lives. yeah, exactly.
Antoine Walter: So I will put the links in the show notes so that if some people got teased like me by, by what you shared today, that they would have the pleasure also if they cannot make it to Chicago, to, to join you online. Michael, I think I’ve tried to push you in a corner and the, in the opening of this discussion, but I still mean it if if you have big news to share anytime soon in the future, that microphone is open to you.
I’d be happy to cover that and do like your personal update. Five seasons after your first personal update on that microphone and Lauren I mean it with all my heart today that you want to share about your project, which you teased me when we met physically in which you’re teased again today.
I’m really fully into to get the ins and out about it. So thanks both of you, and I wish you all the best in.
Lauren Enright: We appreciate being on.
Michael Stanley Gallisdorfer: It’s been a pleasure. Once again, thank you.