Fifth National Climate Assessment

Last week the Fifth National Climate Assessment was released (more and more and more). There is focused attention to supply chains. The chapters on complex systems and economics are especially relevant to Supply Chain Resilience. For example, the concept map below is excerpted from the complex systems chapter.

I need more time with the report. I am struggling some to translate the evidence, arguments, and claims into Supply Chain Resilience parlance, issues, and strategies. Climate-related threats are obvious. But the Assessment’s treatment of supply chain vulnerabilities — and opportunities — is more derivative than well-defined (which is not necessarily a criticism).

Whatever my conclusions, you should reach your own. This sort of document — this sort of challenge — requires rigorous meaning-making by each person. This will be the foundation of those shared choices (and non-choosing) that will frame and initiate individual and collaborative action (or not). Every day each one of us is experiencing this story. How do we discern its meaning — including for supply chains?

The Assessment opens with a poem (please find the poem below the concept map). The poet reminds us, “If you sit by the riverside, you see a culmination of all things upstream.” Much later in the Assessment we read, “Upstream portions of supply chains encompass the range of activities needed to produce the product or service, while downstream portions encompass the range of activities needed to get the product or service to its final consumer.”

Supply Chain Resilience watches this river. More important, we work this river. We have long known that the river changes constantly (here). From deep experience we also know it is far beyond our ability to control the river. But we can anticipate, adapt, and in the process shape the river’s flows. Given the reality of constant change, how and when and where do we want these flows to go?

Interacting Climate Responses and Knowledges Across Scales


by Ada Limón, 24th Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry at the Library of Congress

It is a forgotten pleasure, the pleasure
of the unexpected blue-bellied lizard

skittering off his sun spot rock, the flicker
of an unknown bird by the bus stop.

To think, perhaps, we are not distinguishable
and therefore no loneliness can exist here.

Species to species in the same blue air, smoke—
wing flutter buzzing, a car horn coming.

So many unknown languages, to think we have
only honored this strange human tongue.

If you sit by the riverside, you see a culmination
of all things upstream. We know now,

we were never at the circle’s center, instead
all around us something is living or trying to live.

The world says, What we are becoming, we are
becoming together.

The world says, One type of dream has ended
and another has just begun.

The world says, Once we were separate,
and now we must move in unison.

A poem written for the Fifth National Climate Assessment.