Climate change

November 8, 2008

What do we really have to change to address Climate Change?

Filed under: Climate Change — Josie McLean @ 11:40 am

The short answer is – our vision of the future. Read on…

I work in the sphere of behavioural change, leadership and cultural change within organisations. I bring a different view to Climate Change – a non-technical view. No jargon …. just some thoughts about how we might actually get people to do what we have known we “should do” since The Club of Rome’s 1972 report The Limits to Growth;. In fact, philosophically you could go all the way back to Malthus (1750s from memory) for a prediction of what is occurring now…. but we wont:)

Two weeks ago I attended and also spoke at The Great EnergyDebate in Adelaide. There were many really talented and committed people working devotedly on new technologies and entrepreneurial ideas that will assist us if the economic climate is right to nurture and encourage their growth. So one answer to "what do we really need to do" is definitely for our governments – our elected leaders and representatives – to create the legislation that will supply that incubator for the new.  Of course this is resisted by the “old energy” interests ….. the horse trading continues … But you could express your desires to your representative. Let them know you do care and you are watching.

This is a significant area for change and I fear that our politicians and governments (with the exception of our local governments) will be the last to change. They are currently displaying a management rather than leadership style. Having said this, how did SA come to be the state that now generates 58% of Australia’s renewable energy? There seems to be a quiet revolution happening here -and I would like to hear a lot more about it.

All in all however, our polticians are not delivering what we need our leaders to deliver in a time of radical change  – and that is a vision. A picture of what a sustainable future may be like. What hear about is debate of whether there is an urgent probelm, whether the adminstration can gear up for a 2010 start to the Emissions Trading Scheme, and continued fear mongering about what will happen to us economically if we respond to climate change too rapidly.

What we need is a pitcure of what it could be like if we changed. Who has a picture of what it could be like? The one’s we hear are promulgated by those who fear change. And this all seems to be based upon the assertion or presumption that what we have got now is so great!

Well it may be materially great but for how long? (Now bare with me and keep reading – I am NOT suggesting you need to give up everything!)  We are running our of resources to continue to supply our addiction to buying stuff and consuming stuff. And this attachment to all things material seems to be driving us to work longer and harder. The people work with in organisations are invariably stressed and being pushed by unrealistic targets to deliver far more than is realistically possible Within families…both parents in those few families that still have 2 parents are having to work – not a choice to work – having to in order to meet their expectations of life as we currently expect it. If we look at mental health, 1 in 4 or 5 people in Australia will experience some form of mental health problem.  This is just a brief scan that I could write a book on and support with relevant references. I don’t think many people would read it – it would be way too depressing!

So, I challenge the assumption that what we have now is so great! I reckon if we are honest with ourselves we will admit, that a few changes would be good. And now is the golden opportunity….

A canny politician then would help us start to create a picture of a world where some of these issues were addressed -and because everything is interconnected – you could see that in the paragraphs above couldn’t you? Our economic system drives companies to aim for continuous growth – so they use more resources and market more stuff (emitting more green house gasses etc).  We are consumers, so we buy more stuff, the marketing tells us we will feel happy if buy and consume – so we do…. but buying stuff is just a temporary happiness fix – so we need to earn more so we can afford the next fix…… see the interconnectedness?

So a canny politician would help us create a picture of a new future – maybe one where….. we wake up in the morning feeling relaxed and calm. You look around and see your loved ones rising for a new day too. You put just enough water into your kettle to make coffee (that delivers a fair return to those who grew it and is not full of insecticides that will harm you). The water comes from your tanks. You turn on your kettle that is using renewable energy from a community owned wind farm down the road…or maybe your solar panels outside. Its just the right temperature inside…. the sun is low and warming and coming in through the northern facing windows.  You go to the window and look outisde. What do you see? Who do you share your neighbourhood with? What is the relaitonship between people? Can you hear birds singing? How safe do you and others feel here?

Its time to think about work…. how do you feel about that? Where is it? How do you want to travel there if you need to? How will you feel as you arrive – rushed and harried or relaxed and calm? How did your choice in transport contribute to that? What is it like as you walk into work?

I could go on helping you create a picture of a world you would really like to live in…. and the way you would like your children to live and love in the future.

I can hear the realists yelling at me that this picture is unrelaistic! Why is it unrealistic? I may not know exactly how to create this picture, but just having it helps me stay motivated to move towards it, it helps me make the right decisions when I need to, it inspires me and others to create somthing that is better than what we have now.

When JFK asked the USA to put a man on the moon within ten years – no one knew how it would be done. But using this simple vision – they did it!

So if our politicians are unable to help us generate this kind of picture or reality… who needs to do it? What is your vision – lets start sharing pictures of a better future. I would enjoy hearing your thoughts.

Stay tune for the next exciting episode!!!!



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