Bristol Climate Change March 2014

Posted by & filed under Climate Change, CSAG blog, Frontpage, Uncategorized.

The email discussion recorded below ensued after a link was shared which spoke about “20 things YOU can do to address the climate crisis“.  Read that article first!

This conversation is a valuable starting point to thinking about what you can do … have more conversations!

[Edited to remove too many personal aspersions, and spell checked!]

[This essay] adds a bit to the recent CSAG blogs [where it was said] … “Truly addressing the crisis will require building people power on a scale that the world has never seen before.” But I really like the first point too. Will do it tomorrow evening on my way home (I’m too tired today) 😉

Its still bugs me that this is largely (except for #18) focused on the “Joseph” approach of influencing government (ie. changing the rules). But to borrow the analogy used in #18, wrt climate change, I actually see us all as slave owners. We are slave owners who go on marches demanding laws against slavery and then come back home and abuse our slaves… bizarre isn’t it.

BTW, what is very interesting to me is to think of what we actually want the government to do? When we protest against climate change we are trying to influence government right? So what specifically do we want them to do? I’m being serious, what do people think Governments should legislate?

Well, I personally do not read these as actions targeting governments (well, maybe apart from #2 and #8). I think most of them are directed towards generating awareness in yourself and in your community of possible consequences, as well as causes of CC. To me, the author calls for re-creating a sense of community and collective responsibility for the environment. He does not call for changing governments, he calls for changing the world. Indeed he could be a bit more blatant about the role of the individual choices made by the reader, but on the other hand how more “in your face” can he be than ” Lay off the policeman, the commodities trader, the real estate agent and the speculator in your head.”

Yes, sorry, my anti-government bashing is getting the better of me… I agree he is largely not advocating influencing government. I guess I’m just struggling to see where all this awareness and sense of responsibility takes us? What does it actually look like when we have collective responsibility for the environment?  My counter to this list is that only two of the twenty (#13 and #18) weakly suggest changing anything about our lifestyles.

Something about all this makes me think of the story of Chicken Little:

It is tempting to think that we can fix things in some way by acting either at the personal scale by sacrifice or lifestyle choices… or at the macro scale by better design or clever leadership. It seems that we face inevitable disappointment in this if the motivation for action is some definition of solving a problem, achieving a resolution, reaching a destination.

The cynical response is it not to try. Perhaps, rather we should try to shift focus to the journey rather than the destination – a cliché but probably of meaning and value. I think we will see collapse in some for or the other and certainly hardship and change. I try to remind myself that this is not really any different to how things have been for most people since forever. The great, uneven, continuous ebb and flow of history.

If we cannot hope to change the more distant future then we should do things that increase our repertoire or increase the repertoire of those around us. A repertoire being the set of responses – emotional and practical that we have at hand to respond to changes in our environment. If we then have an enhanced capacity to respond to change in the environment and thus to influence the very slightly distant future we may become part of an evolution that continuously strives to… not reach some ultimate goal but to continue to respond in like manner.

What will this future look like? I have appreciated the way that David Holmgrem looks at it on in constructing scenarios that offer possible response pathways. Not to say that these are literal but certainly they offer food for thought!

Run, Chicken Little, Run! For the sky is certainly falling on your head just as it always does!

Fantastic reading this. It sounds very much like a description of how adaptation is often framed (at least in my experience) – adapting/changing to the present conditions with an eye on the future (informed by some knowledge of what that might look like).

Well, the discussion is getting rather philosophical and introspective.

To counterbalance:





One Response to “Have more conversations”

  1. Piotr Wolski

    Stickler in me says: “Truly addressing the crisis will require building people power on a scale that the world has never seen before” is actually from the “20 things…” blog, not from earlier CSAG blogs.

    Also, there was an unrecorded “corridor” comment following the last one in the e-mail thread:
    “Two may still be too many”