My focus has been on how we must create more good, not just less bad (see Create More Good, Not Just Less Bad). My recent experiences, however, indicate some have given up. As we know from Prospect Theory, we are most afraid of losing what we have or our status quo. For that reason, when we are unsure of an outcome, we go for the possibly not lose what we have option. This means we attempt to keep what we have because we are afraid working toward creating an uncertain but better future may risk some of what we have, our status quo. This creates what Kahneman and Tversky suggests are mental illusions because this, risk averse or “perceived” safe path is actually more risky because working to have a better will more likely, at the least, maintain the status quo.
Prospect Theory documented that when there is uncertainty, we are risk averse and we therefore avoid novelty or new possibilities such as attempts to create a possibly better future. This seems to be the situation with the environment, we are working like crazy to hold on to what we have, fossil fuel dependence, or at least what it has helped us create in our world today, even though doing so will likely destroy what we have. I know we are better than this and we can use a better way. Hospice, after all, is appropriate when there is no hope. Hospice provides care for the sick, especially the terminally ill.
There is hope but we must move toward a new but uncertain future. Thomas Friedman, in his March 29, 2017 column, “Trump Is a Chinese Agent: Ignoring Climate Change and the Benefits of Clean Energy only Helps a Rival“, describes that thriving future must be one that integrates and finds more efficient, non-carbon, ways to function better. He explains we must do this rather than just finding ways to maintain what we had or the status quo to have a better tomorrow. Have we given up? Are we providing hospice for earth? Is it over?
After reading Friedman’s March 29 New York Times (NYT) column, Johan Rockstrom’s March 23, 2017 NYT column by , Why the World Economy Has to Be Carbon Free by 2050 and attending the Climate Change and Health Symposium, it confirmed we must take action. The actions described at the Symposium I attended, however, in contrast to the NYT editorials, left me very depressed and confused. It seems we must find a better way than to start a hospice like protocol to meet the challenge of climate change. From my perspective, a better way must focus on the benefits we can realize by taking action. Despite knowing for sure what will happen, uncertainty and its debilitating effect, we must take action. Action on Climate Change is a wager we must make (see Today’s Pascal’s Wager, One We Must Make!)
The symposium keynote presenter George Luber, PhD, Chief, Climate and Health Program, Division of Environmental Hazards and Health Effects, National Center for Environmental Health, CDC, was exceptionally knowledgeable and informed about the damage being caused and how we must react. His presentation, like he said was an effect his presentation had on a 3rd grader, left me in tears. It left me feeling helpless and hopeless thinking all that we can now do is figure out how to deal with and attempt to adapt to related problems.
Experts in the field suggest we must do more than react if we want a better tomorrow. While reacting may be necessary, it is insufficient, but insufficent. We must work to make things better, not just less worse. (see Prevention Can’t Work and Problems are Irrelevant!, and Fixing Problems is Inefficient, Ineffective & Insufficient)
In listening to Dr. Luber’s presentation, it was almost as if he did not listen to what he said at the start of his presentation. He started by explaining that we used to believe we must stay under 2°C rise in temperature to avoid irreparable harm and that now research indicates we cannot go over 1.5℃ rise to avoid significant problems. He also pointed out that we have already had a .74℃ rise that is expected be a 3℃ rise by the end of the century. Wouldn’t that mea game over for humans?
Based on that beginning at the Climate Change and Health Symposium, I was expecting to hear how we can stop and hopefully reverse what has been documented to be caused from human actions, as they also documented in presentations. It was explained much of the damage is from the burning of fossil fuels. However, it was as if nobody listened to what was presented because the symposium then shifted to how we must prepare to meet and then care for all the problems that will result from these changes. Did I miss something? Is that the wisest course of action? Doesn’t it suggest we must take action to not just be sustainable but to also fix what we have done in sustainably restorative ways, as being done by Ray Anderson and Interface (see We Must Make It Better – Saving the Planet not Enough!), if we want to continue to enjoy life on earth?
After learning Dr. Luber’s job was to adapt to and meet the needs of climate change, his presentation made more sense. Tunnel vision was resulting because he was doing what his job directs him to do. As Upton Sinclair (author of “The Jungle“) observed a century ago,
“It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”
From a societal perspective however, that is not in the best interest of us being able to live well in this age of relative climate stability, the Holocene period.
Overall, I have some confusion. Earth is going to be fine, at least for our lifetimes. According to the Scientific American article The Sun Will Eventually Engulf Earth–Maybe, indicates earth will be ok until the sun expands and overtakes the earth in a few billion years or so. It has been suggested, and seems correct, that the earth is a living organism with the capacity to care of itself if it is used as intended. If there was an owner manual, all living things, but one, on earth are following its guidelines. We, homo-sapiens, on the other hand, are not following that manual and are not very accommodating or caring. This is another mental illusion, for us to live the best we can we need to live in a way that makes it best for all other living things.
All living creatures are guests on earth. Mother Natures evolution has multiple on-going experiments of living organisms. If organisms make life more livable for all and facilitate a better way of living, it grows more complex and it stays and keeps evolving. If a species is not agreeable, it disappears and reappears in another form. This is not survival of the fittest, but of the most adaptable to the situations and all other living creatures. This requirement is necessary way to make earth the best environment for all its members, which is everyone and everything on earth. It has to be this way because everyone and everything on earth is interconnected and interdependent. Humans, We are Just Talking Apes, however, rather than being and becoming part of a giving and providing system, we are damaging the system by making it less rather than more livable.
W Edwards Deming demonstrated this concept in systems appreciation where he could show that one bad department could damage the whole system. Using Mother Nature’s rather than mechanistic ways works so well, Thomas Friedman suggests a new political party should Mimic Mother Nature to Create a New Political Party. Remember, the earth will be fine, probably better without homo-sapiens. Interestingly, as I posted previously, George Carlin understood this, see George Carlin Genius:
So what should we do? We must find a better way. I have offered many thoughts on this and is what I have been writing about. We need to create all good or practice paneugenesis. To practice Paneugenesis means to generate all good by creating pervasive reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits. That is how Mother Nature works, it is time to use biomimicry as described by Jane Benyus to make things better for everyone and everything. It is in our best interest to do this, it is selfish, selfless, synergy.
See Thomas Friedman, in his March 29, 2017 column, “Trump Is a Chinese Agent: Ignoring Climate Change and the Benefits of Clean Energy only Helps a Rival“. For previous posts and ideas see Am I in Bizarro World? Lets Make 2017 Great!, Create More Good, Not Just Less Bad, Biological and Evolutionary Basis for Selfish, Selfless, Synergy, We Can Get Better with Practice, Serendipity? Don’t “Have” a Nice Day – Make it So!, Its not about Paying More – It is about Creating Better!, Capacity Enables Creativity and Crisis Mitigation and many more posts.
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