The Time is Now: Association Resilience and Adaptation and the Anthropocene Climate Disruption


Sustainability has become a hot topic for the association industry, as association executives realize that climate change is not just a moral imperative, it’s a business imperative. 

Climate change is going to affect every aspect of human life and interaction, of which associations are certainly a part. As important as recycling your cans in the break room and composting food scraps at your next annual conference are, the crisis is bigger than that.

Obviously, the association industry cannot solve the problem of climate change alone. But we do have a part to play. 

Associations are perfect social laboratories to hold conversations and develop change agendas to help the industries and professions we serve take simple steps toward creating a better world for all of us. We’re accustomed to tailoring our communications to groups with different levels of knowledge and information. We already freely and generously share solutions and good practices within the association industry itself. We regularly mobilize our members and the public to encourage group action. We have thousands of lobbyists and government relations professionals at our disposal who are skilled at influencing policy and policymakers.

In The Time is Now: Association Resilience and Adaptation and the Anthropocene Climate Disruption, Shelly Alcorn and Elizabeth Engel provide a brief overview of data on climate change, address the psychological barriers to action humans face, and bring to bear the concepts of resilience (preparing to bounce back from challenges) and adaptation (learning how to live and work differently) on the specific effects the climate crisis will have on associations’ internal operations, member-facing programs, products and services, and on the professions and industries we exist to serve.

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