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ASCM Insights

Droughts, Floods and Heat Waves Continue to Devastate Across the Globe


Even if you’ve enjoyed a break from the latest news while on summer vacation, you’ve likely felt the headlines: All around the world, we’re continuing to experience truly cataclysmal weather. It’s hotter, rainier and drier than ever before.

Uruguay is facing its worst drought in 74 years, according to Reuters. The extremely low rainfall has forced authorities to tap a saltier part of the Santa Lucia, a river that supplies most of the country’s drinking water. This has left tap water undrinkable for many people and led to protests in the capital.

India and Japan are experiencing the opposite problem, with intense rainfall causing deadly flash floods and mudslides, CNN reports. New Delhi recorded its wettest July in more than 40 years. And some areas of Japan have been hit with more than 23.6 inches of rain — more than they would typically expect for the whole month of July.

Also in India, nearly 100 people died last month from heat waves. Likewise, temps here in the United States will climb to 130 degrees this week in parts of the Southwest, with 111 million people under extreme heat advisories, watches and warnings. But beyond the magnitude of the heat — which has been enough to establish scores of new records — temperatures are remarkable for their duration. For example, as I write this, Phoenix has logged 13 consecutive days at or above 110 degrees.

The Washington Post explains, “The warmer the air, the more water it can hold — turning the atmosphere into a thirsty sponge that sucks moisture out of vegetation and soil. This exacerbates droughts and sets the stage for wildfires like those that have ravaged Canada this summer.” This trend also leads to wetter storms, like the kind that have just devastated Vermont. Earlier this week, up to nine inches of rain fell in just two days, displacing thousands of residents and requiring more than 200 rescues.

“Excessive heat kills far more Americans annually than do hurricanes and tornadoes combined and disproportionately affects the elderly, the poor and other systemically vulnerable populations,” The Post article notes. As one reporter put it: “It’s as if every alarm bell on Earth were ringing.”

Don’t hit snooze; act now

Friederike Otto, a climate scientist at the Imperial College London, urges: “This is not the new normal. ... We don’t know what the new normal is. The new normal will be what it is once we stop burning fossil fuels … and we’re nowhere near doing that.” She continues: “What might have been a balmy day without climate change is now a deadly heat wave. What was once a typical summer thunderstorm is now the cause of a catastrophic flood.”

This issue won’t go away without a sense of urgency. That’s why this year’s ASCM CONNECT 2023: North America is prioritizing sustainability, circularity and climate in an information-packed learning track. Understand how to select suppliers who share your circularity goals; reduce carbon emissions and waste; maintain ethical sourcing and fair trade; and tap into the power of wind, solar and other exciting efficiency solutions. Then, take this knowledge back to work and begin meaningfully priming your supply chain to combat the disastrous effects of climate change.

I truly hope to welcome you to Louisville, Kentucky, September 11-14. Today’s the last day to save up to $600 with early registration, so act now!

About the Author

Abe Eshkenazi, CSCP, CPA, CAE CEO, ASCM

Abe Eshkenazi is chief executive officer of the Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM), the largest organization for supply chain and the global pacesetter of organizational transformation, talent development and supply chain innovation. During his tenure, ASCM has significantly expanded its services to corporations, individuals and communities. Its revenue has more than doubled, and the association successfully completed three mergers in response to both heightened industry awareness and the vast and ongoing global impact driven by supply chains. Previously, Eshkenazi was the managing director of the Operations Consulting Group of American Express Tax and Business Services. He may be contacted through

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