Six reasons why we are "stuck" when it comes to addressing climate crisis. A briefing from Futurist Chet W. Sisk
This summer gave me the chance to read George Marshall's seminal book "Don't Even Think About It: Why Our Brains Are Wired To Ignore Climate Change". It provides a reference point as to why we are playing the violin while Rome burns ( literally). Even more, his work brought me back to my third book "Think This/Not That: It's Time To Update Your Conventional Wisdom". Both of our books point to some particulars of human behavior that work against us in a time of crisis. But both of our books also point to how we can navigate around these obvious cultural and psychological road blocks. Let me share some things from both books.
Confirmation bias is huge. Don't argue with people on Facebook over climate crisis or anything else for that matter. Contrary to what we may feel, many people are not looking to become more enlightened. They are simply seeking to confirm their already tightly held biases. They see their position as identity, thus, they see someone who attacks their ideas are actually attacking their person. All of us are guilty of this challenge at some point, but some are more militant about their "rightness" than others. Many people seek information that confirms their positions, not expand their capacity. Climate crisis challenges many people's personal world view.
Language. There is a specific reason why I have chosen to use the term climate crisis rather than climate change or global warming. Language must be more precise about what is actually happening. Climate change suggests something as gentle as seasonal change from summer to fall. Global warming sounds like a problem that can be handled by turning up the air conditioning. Climate crisis more accurately describes the fact that we are facing an extinction level event that will affect us NOW, not years in the future. In fact, describing the current crisis as an ELE may be even MORE accurate.
Garbage in. Garbage out. Our societies have embraced a lot of untrue, shoddy, dangerous and malicious conventional wisdom over the years. "Every man for himself". "He who dies with the most toys, wins". "Rugged individualism". These kinds of beliefs have led to bad policy, laws and infrastructure. Those ideas supported the decision to bury the climate crisis research and predictions back in the 1970s -- when we had a chance to get in front of this extinction level event. A foundation of bad beliefs creates a really bad decision making process.
The facts get in the way. I am particularly guilty of this. My belief is that facts are enough to convince the average person the urgency of something. Truth us, when I started sharing my personal stories, people were able to see themselves, emotionally, in the story. Facts are add-ons. Stories that speak to people's emotions are much more effective in helping others see your ideas. We may not all share the facts, but we all share stories of trial, challenge, failure and success. Those human experiences bind us and help us see our common journey.
Bias against the indigenous. There has been a long and intended violent campaign against indigenous cultures and their wisdom. Now, it appears the very things indigenous cultures were ridiculed for --- sustainable living, communal environments, belief systems in harmony with nature --- are now being proposed as ways to deal with climate crisis. The bias against those ancient ways must be reversed immediately. The UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs went as far, just a few years ago, to fund an effort to recover indigenous wisdom.
Climate crisis is an asymmetrical threat. Most of us have grown up with linear threats --- a problem emerges, we send in the right resources, then we resolve the problem and go back to our way of life. Climate crisis has no precedent in our current human existence. It doesn't behave in a linear fashion. It's all over the place, coming at us from everywhere. We haven't developed the skills to manage this kind of threat. It's not that we can't, but if we keep looking at it from a linear perspective, we'll miss the most important point of the crisis --- we have to rethink our human experience to win.
There's so much more to share here, but allow me to suggest this. Yes, we are wired to avoid this kind of crisis, but, the beautiful thing about humanity is that we have the ability to develop new neurons in our brain and re-wire. That is our great challenge and our great opportunity.
Seven things about climate crisis that you probably didn't know, but should. A briefing from Futurist Chet W. Sisk
You've probably heard the news by now, but it needs repeating: last month was the hottest June for the world on record. Period. July is setting up to continue the string of record setting temperatures around the planet. And as the climate scientists keep reminding us...we're just getting started. I didn't share this information to depress you, but to provide you with some additional information about this existential crisis that seems to be picking up in speed and intensity. As a Futurist, my job is to make sure you have the best researched information that exists so that you'll make good informed decisions going forward. To that end, let me provide you with seven pieces of data that you may not have known about this crisis that will affect your entire life.
1. There is a 1 billion dollar climate denial industry . Books, movies, papers, lecturers, think tanks....a lot of money is being invested into denying climate change is actually a thing. Most of this money comes from sources that have a lot of money tied up in the fossil fuel industry.
2. We may be wired to avoid climate crisis. In his book "Don't Even Think About It" Environmentalist George Marshall points to research that indicates our brains can't wrap itself around the enormity of a threat to our existence, so we do nothing. I would challenge his conclusions only by saying we end up doing nothing because the climate denial industry has muddied the waters, thus, we end up saying "I don't know who to believe". Then , we end up doing nothing.
3. The effects of climate crisis seem to be happening a lot faster than what the experts expected. This is especially true for the oceans. They seem to be warming quite a bit faster than anyone expected. We're also seeing more extremes play out to climate crisis related-disaster at the rate of at least once a week in the world.
4. We need to move the conversation from climate crisis mitigation to climate crisis adaptation. There is a growing consensus from the scientific community that we're past the point of being able to reduce our carbon emissions and should now start putting our money and investments ALSO into creating adaptive cities, communities and other ways to ensure human survival and quality of life in a dramatically hostile world.
5. Our silos are literally killing us. There are so many causes that have champions. It's not that those causes aren't important, but our failure to tie them into climate crisis is mind-boggling. Yes, it's possible that we can save the honey bees through our non-profit focused on creating honey bee sanctuaries. But if we don't adapt to climate crisis, saving the bees won't matter.
6. Carbon capture technology is still a long way out. Even more, it lacks political will. By the time it can get some, we'll be way past the point of being able to make a meaningful dent in the process.
7. Communities hold the key. While our governments are sidelined, it will take communities to help us prepare for a dramatically different world.
There is hope. Climate crisis provides us with the greatest opportunity to push the reset button on the ideas that brought us to this point in the first place. Let's take advantage of that opportunity.
Are you becoming economically irrelevant? Take the quiz and find out….A briefing from Futurist Chet W. Sisk
I know, I know….you’ve got enough threats on your plate to last a few life times, but our ability to be more precise about what’s going on gives us the power and tools to do something about it. Maybe even transform it from threat to ally.
For the past 10 years, I’ve been saying that the technological evolution (now combine that with the biotech evolution alongside machine learning) is not a bunch of robots coming to take your job. We’re talking about artificial intelligence designed to take away the concept of job. That’s dramatically different than the former. This new way of how the world works says for the past few hundred years, you needed organized mass labor to do things in the world.
Now, you don’t.
The new artificial intelligence provides a way you can get even more done and more efficiently with new tools. Thus, you don’t need to hire a bunch of people for jobs anymore. This only means masses of people who used to be crucial to the current economic system are expendable….irrelevant. You are no longer needed in this economic process. Here is a five question quiz to see if you may be among the economically irrelevant over the next 3-5 years:
If you answered yes to 3 or more of these question, chances are good you are becoming economically irrelevant in the current economic system. If you answered no to three or more, you may be in a field that is economically flexible. Economic irrelevance is not an indictment against your character. On the contrary. It says tons about your struggling in a system that feels ”rigged”. You know economic irrelevance is happening when....
1. Your country is experiencing almost full employment, yet most families in that country are struggling paycheck to paycheck, and….
2. …many of the current jobs being created are not high paying (ie: retail, hospitality, etc), and….
3. …many organizations and companies are rapidly rushing toward increased automation and...
4. …life expectancy in that country is trending down because people are not happy, and…
5. …there are no plans on the table to manage the coming job losses due to automation and...
6. …there are no plans on the table for a post-job world.
HOW TO BECOME ECONMICALLY RELEVANT
There are those who would like you to believe that you’re lucky to here, and should be grateful. I say you are an on-purpose human being and are supposed to be right here, right now. My job is to help you explore that truth.
Chet W. Sisk is an author and one of the world's leading Social Futurists. He is also expert on the current world paradigm shift. Find out more about him and the LEAD Global Team at www.leadtheshift.com or you can write him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org