“The year 2013 may offer our last chance to take on the climate crisis. If we fail to take action that is up to the challenge, we may be like the passengers of the Titanic, arguing over entertainment choices while the real threat looms. With climate disasters mounting, 2013 must be the year we commit ourselves to action at the scale needed to—literally—save our world.” Sarah van Gelder in YES! Magazine: 9 Stories That Will Change Your World in 2013
On this HOPE site I have tried to point out hopeful things that are happening in the world today to shift our focus in a new direction. This gives us hope but does it help us to understand that we as individuals have a huge role to play in creating this change. It has been pointed out that we are all to easily prone to adapting to small changes like the famous frog in the boiling water that doesn’t realize he should jump out until it is too late.
We can also get caught into the “Inevitability Trap” which perpetuates an attitude that there is nothing we can do about this, which again keeps us adapting without changing the structures and systems that are creating the problems. The other stance is thinking that I can’t do anything but someone else can: the politicians, the Chinese, the engineers, the problem solvers, the scientists, the oil companies! You name it. But the big change that really needs to happen is that individuals find ways to act that really make a difference – not alone but by joining together and spreading the word. We can see how the huge outcry about guns has caught the politicians attention. That is the only way something will happen. There will be resistance – but the ball is at least rolling!
So it seems important to move into an action mode and make myself and others aware of where we can step in to contribute to the changes that need to happen. This brings up the whole issue of what kind of change is needed. Do we need BETTER systems and structures or do we need NEW systems and structures? It seems to me that we need a transformational change which includes new beliefs, new worldviews and consequently new systems and structures. Those of us who believe this can find places to support such changes and become part of the drive for transformation.
So become a hero! Here are three things you can do NOW!
1. TreeSisters: This week an initiative by woman caught my attention. It is called TreeSisters – a call to all women to work together to become a force for planting trees for carbon capture. This initiative is a registered charity that is run like a business. It sends out a call to all women to unite to help the planet. “TreeSisters is an audacious campaign fueled by the love and creativity of every-day women. We are building a global network to help reforest the tropics within 10 years.” Since we travel a lot, this is a perfect organization to support to offset our carbon footprint. It has come to me through friends and has a solid foundation based on values that appeal to me. It is easy to support through monthly donations or a one time contribution. You can join them on Facebook and spread the word through your networks. Let’s do it!
2. Innovative Investing: Invest in projects that move us into the right direction. Here is one such project – investing in Clean Energy via a new company called Mosaic that connects investors to high quality solar projects. “Our mission is to open up clean energy investing and fundamentally change the way energy is financed…by democratizing the way energy is produced and financed.” This approach is connected to the idea of crowdsourcing. Van Jones recently wrote about this on the CNNs website: “Instead of earning close to nothing on your money at a bank, you can directly invest in things that offer solid returns and create real or lasting value. Together, consumers can start rebuilding the economy from the community up. Together, we can crowdsource investments in American infrastructure and create 21st-century energy jobs all by ourselves.” This article gives other ideas where working creatively together can actually get new job markets initiated.
3. Design Thinking for Business Innovation: Here is a step-by-step manual to help make innovation in business more in tune with the big needs of today’s world. This looks to me to be a really handy tool kit for small businesses that don’t have the money to hire consultants to help them think through new potentials. You can download the book for free via Facebook! The question for each of us to ask is: What innovation can my company make that will contribute to a more sustainable planet? I like the approach of this book, the credentials of the authors, the use of examples from Brazilian companies and the apparent interest in helping without a big consultancy price tag.
I must admit that I can’t vouch personally for these three ideas – yet offer them as a start to imagining that individuals who work together can begin to shift the tide. But I can tell you that yesterday I was at a workshop hosted by Karen O’Brien, one of my friends who works with climate change and human security at the University in Oslo. She said that the scientists she knows are now saying we may be looking at global temperature rises as high as 6 degrees!! Karen points out that this would make our most of our planet uninhabitable. So the time is now. And the heroes are us.
Remember the Beauty of the Ocean