Al Gore does a great job at making us aware of the devastating consequences we are facing due to climate crisis – he regularly scares us. In this 2008 speech, New Thinking on the Climate Crisis, he ends by saying he is optimistic because we have the capacity to rise to the challenge of the climate crisis. He further tried to inspire action by suggesting that we should see ourselves as the generation that will be celebrated in the future as the generation that laid the basis for a bright and optimistic future.
As I listened to this while biking to work, it left me cold. At first I was unsure why, however upon reflection I realized I was not moved because VP Gore seemed to be asking us to rise to the challenge so we can keep what we have. I thought, if we take action and we are able to maintain our standard of living, how would anyone know we did anything? What excites me is when we not only take actions that have a positive influence on the climate crisis but also benefit our lives today.
Many examples exist as to how we can make it better and help the climate crisis. To me the best is what the late Ray Anderson did to help Interface Global make better carpets, increase productivity, profits, morale, while it also helped solve the climate crisis. They put in place a better way for everyone and everything. As it states on their page,
Founder Ray Anderson challenged us to pursue a bold new vision “Be the first company that, by its deeds, shows the entire world what sustainability is in all its dimensions: people, process, product, place and profits – and in doing so, become restorative through the power of influence” The Interface journey toward sustainability has been a momentous shift in the way we operate our business and see the world.
Sustainability is not enough, we must Redesign Reality and make it better than before. Google, Apple and other organizations are doing the same. I encourage all of us to not only be sustainable but aim to be BETTER than we could have been otherwise. We should seek to create an idealized outcome and work toward making the idealized a reality – it is the only way it has ever been done. Remember we couldn’t run under the 4 minute mile, travel to the moon, or even have a cell phone until somebody dreamed up a new idealized outcome As most have learned, innovating toward environmentally appropriate ways helps everyone and everything benefit – which of course is the selfish, selfless, synergistic Practice of Paneugenesis!