In this week’s post I would like to continue my reflections on sustainability by asking where we actually stand ourselves in the face of climate change? How are we prepared to accept neccesary restrictions and unavoidable change?
Well, the majority of people still do very little. Yet this should not make them feel guilty because a real change in climate change is not about guilt and expiation. On the contrary, mistakes and errors are natural milestones in the search for new solutions, they show us what we have overlooked and what we could do better and more intelligently.
Individual efforts are surely an important starting-point here. We now have both the technology and the knowledge to make considerable improvements. But even if our everyday lives were to become more sustainable through the use of the latest technologies or the application of natural regulation mechanisms, it is still our individual behaviour and our readiness to adapt that will effect a change. And this does not just mean switching to products that damage the environment less. This is often just a superficial measure. We need to rethink on the cultural plane, because social conventions in each particular cultural context are more important than products as such.
But to do this again needs more than just our personal involvement. Fundamental changes to transport, and to energy and other systems will all require long-term visions, leadership, co-operation, innovation and investment by companies and the authorities at all levels. It is therefore just as important to commit the state as to increase the proportion of our personal efforts.
Given the fact that in coming years the subject of the environment will probably put everything else in the shade, it is important that much-mentioned climate change should at the same time introduce a profound change of awareness.
Here the current discussion circles rightly around efficiency, sufficiency and structural reform, i.e. in the same order, the fact that the same solutions are found while consuming fewer resources, that consumption is restricted and that the way our society meets its needs has to undergo fundamental change. This sounds like saving and going without. The years of plenty are over!
But what really is needed today is not so much rhetoric about minimization and cutting back but a new sense of forward-looking ecological intelligence that successfully learns from nature. Positive guidelines have to be formulated that illustrate vividly what we can achieve. Hope has always been a more successful motivator than fear.