Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Daring to lift our gaze from our "smaller worlds"

It is easy to get on our daily treadmill and focus our attention on our smaller world of work, family, and friends. Surely, we can all do this and our plates will feel full. Our time and attention could be spent here easily. However, there is a bigger picture at play that is affecting all of our smaller worlds, and I urge you to continue to lift your gaze and shift your attention out to the broader space of the ecology of our planet, and the system of systems that enable our smaller worlds to be either stable or not so stable.
This article by Bill McKibben from the Guardian on April 3 points the finger strongly at Exxon Mobile - labeling them consummately arrogant. I won't judge the people of Exxon Mobile in that way, or even necessarily the entity, because I believe their behavior is a reflection (still) of their market. And who is their market? WE ARE. We buy the fuel that comes out of the ground, that transports our goods, that fuels the tractors that till the land to produce crops we eat, or that feed the animals that become protein on our dining room tables, or in the fast food lane. "They" are "us".
It is hard to imagine a world without fossil fuels. It is also hard to imagine a world where fossil fuel consumption has changed where we can live, what we can eat, and what wildlife remains to support us.
We can make choices now that will create a better, more stable future. Or we can stay on autopilot, and hope that others make the right decisions on our behalf. Or we can be in denial - and believe that none of this will ever impact us or our children's children.
And if you are in the climate change denier camp - and it seems that many still are - based on this April Fool's folly documented so well by Joel Makower at GreenBiz "Climate change is good for you! Wait: It's April 1st. Or is it?". He writes of a new "study" from the "Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change" published by the right-wing Heartland Institute, claiming that the small amount of climate change that might be caused by humans is beneficial to plants and animals.
So climate change deniers, and climate change "undecideds" - what if climate change isn't real or isn't impacted by human behaviour? What if we "clean up our act" and switch to cleaner fuels, cleaner manufacturing processes, sustainable building processes, and live more in harmony with nature - only to find out we didn't really need to? Would that be so very bad? I don't think so... And imagine the innovation that will be unleashed in the process. Imagine a company workforce being revitalized because they are challenged to rethink everything! Imagine graduating from an engineering program, or a marketing program - with an awareness of ecological design and sustainability principles - and helping to reinvent and revitalize your profession!
You know, we can do this. Not all alone. But collectively. So lift your gaze, and imagine the possibilities...