Paths To A Better Climate
The following piece was written before the horrific attacks on Paris on 13th November. We offer our deepest sympathy to those whose lives have been disrupted by these senseless and cruel actions. We offer our support and thoughts to the French people at this sad time.
I assume the December Climate Meeting in Paris will go ahead as planned and so offer the following thoughts as originally written.
When a client comes to us looking for a life purpose we apply the knowledge and skills that exist to help them seek and find their goal. Purpose is not simply a target, it is a reason for doing things, a reason for living. Finding a purpose is not easy but it is not that difficult either if you set about it the right way. The hard part comes later – moving towards the goal.
The path to a better climate is somewhat similar. Getting everyone to agree on the need to pay attention to it, and then to set targets to move towards it, has been tricky – even more difficult than persuading an individual of the need for a life purpose. The world is now broadly in agreement that we are on a path to self-destruction if we do not improve our behaviour towards our planet pretty smartly. Look on that as the relatively easy stage, if you like.
The danger is that the Paris conference in December to discuss and agree action on climate change may lead to a softening of each individuals’ sinews of resolution. “The Government is in charge; they have it all under control.” That would be a very foolish attitude because what is needed is the opposite. When we are all singing from the same hymn sheet it still requires good vocal effort from each individual in the congregation if we are to be heard.
The hard part of putting planet protection to work is the tussle between spending to keep economies buoyant – and employment well supported – and not spending so as to conserve resources and avoid waste. Capitalism is a successful economic concept but it is not perfect and it does depend on some unnecessary extravagance to make it work properly. Now it has to be made to work with, rather than against, the planet protection we are all about to agree, notwithstanding John Kerry’s uncalled-for observation that it will not be legally binding.
It would be helpful if three resolutions were passed at the Paris meeting, and subsequently implemented. The first is the education of each individual, starting from the earliest possible age, in the ways in which they can conserve the planet without much personal deprivation. Most of these are common sense but they need teaching as a ‘common effort’ to succeed.
The second is a broad agreement to tax the resource-diminishing goods and services in the world more heavily than the renewables. To some extent this already happens but not nearly as widely as it should. We do not have – and we do not yet want – Federal Union but we do need to keep our actions for planet preservation reasonably consistent between countries. We are already starting to do this in our responses to terrorism. We can do so for the planet.
Third, and perhaps most important, we need to initiate practical and realistic studies into how capitalism can be modified to suit the needs of both the planet and the individuals living on it. The fact that it has served us well does not mean that it cannot be improved to accommodate a bigger world population and a more demanding schedule of conservation.
Is it too much to hope that we will start down these three paths towards a better climate?