Under Pressure

Two weeks ago today, the IPCC released its sixth report best summarised as putting the planet on “code red.” As headlines, it had a half-life of twenty-four hours and was quickly eclipsed by other much less momentous, short term, attention-grabbing material to attract attention to advertising.

This morning, I listened to the news as the CEO of London City Airport enthused that they were committing to further growth based on feedback from the City of London and Canary Wharf. 

I think it asks a serious question of us. How do we address the most critical thing in the world when the problem isn’t carbon; it’s us?

How do we move away from the polarities of established corporate culture on the one hand and combative protest on the other? 

How do we address the challenge that Thomas Kuhn identified over fifty years ago, that ‘Novelty emerges only with difficulty, manifested by … lifelong resistance’ from those ‘whose productive careers have committed them to an older tradition?”

Perhaps the answer is not to go to where the power is because that power is “committed to an older tradition of perpetual growth. ” Perhaps the answer is to go where the people who are affected are – that would be us, and people like us, because power has become easier to gain but harder to control or keep (Moisés Naím), and that power has moved from top of hierarchies to the centre of networks.

So maybe we need to avoid the drug of sensationalist media focused on dragging our attention to advertising and talk to those around us who matter because it is more important to make a difference than to make a point.

I found this two minute video in Alan Moore’s wonderful newsletter, which I think expresses it beautifully.

If we wait for those at the top of hierarchies to address what feeds them and keeps them on sightseeing trips to space, we will wait a very long wait.

We will do better having conversations with each other.

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