Great Read: Climate of Hope by Bloomberg & Pope

Climate of Hope: How Cities, Businesses and Citizens can save the planet is a great read.  It was written by former New York City mayor and business man extraordinaire Michael Bloomberg and former Sierra Club president Carl Pope.  It was very interesting because it gave a perspective from 2 very different people.  As they wrote on page 5, “In 2004, one us coauthored a book attacking George W. Bush for his environmental policies; the other voted for him.”

This book was great and gave specific direction on what to do and the benefits we can realize now, even though it is not the planet we will save, but humans ability to live on this planet.  The planet will be fine until it gets engulfed by the sun in billions of years. The approach in this book is what I wish they had taken at the recent climate symposium I attended (see Did we give up? Hospice for Earth? We Need Better!)

Most of the book was about how to do better and make more money by promoting economic growth in ways that rebuild our environment, instead of talking about sacrifices we have to make to improve our climate.  The book emphasized that we should take action and not wait for the federal government.  Throughout the book, besides specific action to take now, policy is suggested for the federal government to use to accelerate the positive changes being made by cities, businesses and individuals.

As is made clear, climate change is not one problem but something that needs a multi-pronged solution in many areas to make society healthier and stronger.  They explain that scaring does not work, it creates a barrier to change and gives people reasons to be skeptical.  Scaring they also suggest give people permission to not  make an effort because it may be hopeless. Using previous successes, they emphasize benefits from action and how this approach motivated and galvanized people into action.

As they explain, previous environmental actions had to be about stopping bad things such as pollution, clear cutting and overfishing. They suggest that was good then but suggest the only way to stop those things now, because they were filling a need, is by showing better ways to accomplish goals while also improving the environment.  They explain that the 20th century had to stop the bad things we were doing and clean up the messes we made. Now, however, to live and be better in the 21st century, we have to replace those methods with a better ways .  This book outlined better ways that available now!

Surprisingly they explain that cities are greener than living in rural areas. There is a smaller per person environmental footprint made by people in cities even though cities emit more Greenhouse Gas (GHG). Upon review, because of my lens, I could see how Mayor Bloomberg used the Paneugenesis Process to make New York City(NYC) better.

The aim of paneugenesis is to generate comprehensive improvements by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits. Michael Bloomberg appeared to use this process . Below is how I saw Bloomberg use the 4 step Paneugenesis Processt in NYC:

1. Operationalize an Idealized Outcome – dream big of what it can be.  In NYC, in its early days, its 1800’s vision, used the Idealized Outcome of a great, large city, so it built its water system, subways, and parks for bigger future than seemed possible.  Then, as mayor, Bloomberg dreamed big to Operationalize his Idealized Outcome.  He wanted to accommodate an expected 1 million new residents a better quality of life while producing less negative consequences than currently. He made it clear, operationalized, he wants NYC to be better place to live, work and play while reducing GHG emissions.

2. Discover Precursors – As an example, he Discovered clean air was vital to having a higher quality of life.  He also learned that buildings were the biggest source (70%) of GHG emissions along with traffic congestion. He also discovered, by visiting California and talking with then Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, that despite growth, their GHG emissions were 25% below 1990 levels.  This means  buildings that clean rather pollute the air and either less traffic or cleaner transportation could provide NYC with cleaner air and a higher quality of life.

3. Optimize the Process – to create the necessary precursors of clean places to live work and play, NYC implemented Green Building Standards to make buildings better and clean the air while also saving money from energy efficiency.  To improve the issue with traffic, and make NYC. a better place to live, work and play, pedestrian plaza’s were created with the expected by-product of a smaller carbon footprint.

4. Plot Progress – To determine if they were on the right path they had to plot progress. After implementing green building standards and Empire State building renovated, for $20 million, it resulted in $4 million in savings/ year. After building pedestrian plaza’s,  traffic flow improved by 7% as determined by cab GPS systems, there 35% less accidents  and more space was provided to pedestrians.  These plaza’s also increased retail space which led to the creation of many more pedestrian plazas around NYC, >50 built.  Progress was noted because pedestrian plaza’s increased retail business, safer for pedestrians, and cleaner air for all.

This story is also successful implementation of the 7C’s (see New Article Published about Using Teaching Philosophy).  With these successes, NYC can build on these positive consequences to create an even better future.  I encourage you to read Climate of Hope. Below is how I see they used the 7C’s.

  • Accepted the Challenge of rebuilding a more harmonious environment
  • Used Courage to implement new ways and challenge the status quo
  • Developed Competence by learning how to do improve environment as make life, work and play better
  • Had a Commitment to work through difficulties, which were many including road blocks put up by the status quo and science deniers
  • Created Connections with business owners, citizens, and organizations who were needed to implement changes and also benefited from action
  • Made by-product Contributions from previous C’s for others to benefit from cleaner world and methods to follow so we can be part of the change.
  • Building on the Consequences created in NYC with continuous and never ending improvement and by sharing results in this book I am encouraging you to read.
There is so much more in this book so I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this book and how you will implement some of these changes and benefits to your city and I will update you on any changes I am able to help facilitate in my city.  By doing so you will be generating comprehensive improvements by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits.

Choose to Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

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