I was in conversation with a product designer today. He works hard on sustainability issues.
He starts, with a new client, by designing exactly what the client wants exactly the way the client wants it. Once he's worked with a client for a while, and has gained the client's trust, he can begin to suggest sustainable methods for the client.
On top of the fact that this is a slow process, often, no one is really sure what is the more sustainable process. They try one thing, thinking it is more sustainable, get information, and find themselves in the position to try the next thing. This is iterative change--in both business and technological practice.
The problem is, we don't have time for iterative change. James Hanson, the United States' top climate scientist, says that the entire planet has to stop burning coal within ten years to avert the worst effects of the climate crisis.
Natural change often comes iteratively. Baby steps. But we don't have time for baby steps. To be perfectly frank, listening to this product designer talk about iterative steps, I thought my head was going to explode like a rocket off my neck.
[Added: I didn't think my head was going to pop off because of what the designer was saying. I think he's actually doing a great job. What I'm saying here is that our great job, as a culture, is still not good enough. Our best thinkers, like him and me and you, my dear reader, have not come up with an answer that is good enough.]
He's trying. He's doing a good job. But we have ten years!
The big question: How do we wake everyone up to the fact that we are in the midst of a huge planetary emergency?
Keep trying, for one. Keep trying. Keep trying. But what else?
Colin Beavan (that's me!) is now leading a conversation about finding a happy, helpful life at Colinbeavan.com. If you want to know how people are breaking out and and finding authentic, meaningful lives that help our world, check it out the blog here and sign up to join the conversation here.