I was in the supermarket last weekend and noticed they were selling Greta Thunberg's green agenda book ...
In it, amongst many quotable paragraphs, she says, "When it comes to climate change we need hope, but instead of looking for hope, look for action. Once we start to act, hope is everywhere."
Now, I'm not one to take to sitting outside parliament, but it is time to take action. On the other hand, it is past the time when I, along with many others, should have taken action. The reality is that we are where we are. And if the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second-best time is still now.
To me, Greta is right in saying that we need action now, however, I would disagree with her when she says we already have the solutions. While the outcome we want is identified, bringing forward the worldwide reduction of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, it is not so obvious that we have a solution on how to achieve that. The key component that has to be factored in is ... human nature.
I'm not sure that, at least in the Western world, people realise it's such a crisis. However, when facing a crisis, humans will react in many different ways. Some are stirred to action while others go into denial or helplessness. Some will form alliances and work together to resolve the issues whereas others will fight or raise the drawbridge and look for the outsiders to blame.
I think we see all these reactions when you listen to, or read, people's thoughts on climate change, pollution, recycling or any other major challenge facing humanity.
A few years ago, I remember going to a presentation about the new technology around the electric car and being shown one. There in the car park was an orange monstrosity that looked pretty much like a throwback to a Soviet-built Lada from the 1970s. While the presenters told us all about the clever technology inside the battery, all I could think was "who the hell is going to buy that?" and getting shouted down.
I have never seen one of those cars on the road since that time! What was needed was to package all that smart technology into a must-have cool, sexed-up swanky car. Was I right? Fast forward to Tesla, and now all car manufacturers are scrambling to catch up.
The reality is that mainstream business, countries and individuals will take action and make choices when being green is seen as an added value rather than being seen as a cost. It happens when businesses not only survive, but thrive by adding a green agenda to their message.
How to make the transition from one to the other is what Churchman, Rittel and Webber called a 'wicked problem'. One that can not be fixed easily, where there is no single solution to the problem. We can do this by working together. When we collaborate and bring many minds together to examine, test decisions, take action and learn from the outcome, we can come up with innovative ways to make the change.
My last thought on writing this blog post is to hope that someone is looking after Greta. While she's a powerful young woman with a really strong message, she is vulnerable to her enemies as well as those who would place her on a pedestal and expect her to lead the way and embrace the fame that has come her way.
Saving the world alone is the stuff for fictional superheroes, not real-life teenagers. So, it needs each of us to be inspired by Greta and simply do our bit for the environment.
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