The world didn't listen THIRTEEN years ago, why should we expect a different outcome now?
In November of 2006, the FAO organization of the U.N. issued a huge report entitled:
Livestock's Long Shadow,
stating that an estimated 18% of human induced greenhouse gases were caused by the livestock industry - about 40% more than ALL of transportation combined.
The result. International governments, the food industry and the media have collectively taken zero action since 2006, while the production of animal-based foods has continued to soar unabated throughout the world.
Thirteen years later, just last week, the UN's climate change panel (IPCC) issued
its latest report
about how land management and agriculture are contributing to climate change. And guess what? The news on this crucial topic is much worse than it was in 2006...m
aking today's challenge far more difficult.
Exactly why is it a more more difficult challenge now?
Because, since the 2006 U.N. Report was published, the world has added over ONE BILLION new mouths to feed, has suffered the erosion of hundreds of billions of tons of topsoil and has lost over one billion acres of rainforest.
Will this new report lead to urgent action? Not very likely. Why would it and how could it?
Oh sure, it's good to see that the food discussion is finally taking place and to that point, I thought that PBS did a fine job in this 8-minute video that was posted on YouTube last week.
|How our food is grown and consumed is making climate change worse. What can we do?
But, will the new IPPC report make a difference?
Not very likely. Because it relies on individuals to make enough changes in their own lives to counteract the effects of the overall
that all of humanity shares with nature.
What we need is decisive, systemic change. As Dr. W. Edwards Deming would say, individuals cannot effect systemic change. Only those in charge of those systems can develop and implement a vastly improved way of living where only green options exist.
What can we do? I would argue that there IS something that we as individuals can do. We can demand enough "big picture" systemic change necessary to give humanity a chance to survive indefinitely. Basically, we must quickly learn to live in harmony with nature.
As for Dr. Deming, I had a happy moment last week when I uncovered a document he had personalized for me back in 1990. It had gone missing for several years and I was thinking that it was probably lost forever.
Here's a photo of the top part of that highly treasured piece of paper to which he carefully added these powerful eight words,
Keep on learning. Study optimization of a system.
That special moment, memorialized above, happened at George Washington University - just after a lecture that Dr. Deming had delivered at the age of 89.
So when it comes to trying to help save humanity, I took the advice he gave me in 1990 and am now
my background in engineering,
process improvement and senior management to
"imagineer" how we can solve our sustainability crisis as we strive to steadily "optimize" the overall "system" of how we humans interact with nature.
Last week, I emphasized the need for simple
aimed at helping people grasp the "big picture" of how we can lead an enjoyable life while operating within nature's ability to sustain us indefinitely.
Here's a review of that list of visuals from last week that describe an overall system of living where only "green" options exist:
Six from Hicks - Sustainable Living Visuals
1. People need a visual
for illustrating how we can eliminate over 80% of all road vehicles instead of just driving more and more electric cars. Unless we change the "system," the world's fleet of
road vehicles will double
to over two billion by 2040. And no matter how we power them, the vehicles and the billions of miles of roads that come with them, will still be a HUGE problem.
2. People need a visual
for illustrating how we can eliminate most air travel without eliminating travel itself, whether for business or pleasure.
3. People need a visual
for illustrating how an economy might work that answers first to the biosystem instead of one that is based on maximizing the consumption of STUFF in a world of finite resources.
4. People need a visual
for illustrating how a new form of government could reward those who consume less stuff, thereby providing an essential foundation for changing the way we think about associating success with the accumulation of possessions.
5. People need a visual
for illustrating how we can easily feed the world on a fraction of the land now being used - while shifting to a nutritional plan that could eliminate the need for most healthcare spending.
6. People need a visual for illustrating how we can urgently, yet peacefully, bring our global population down to a sustainable level - a far cry from our current practice of adding a net 230,000 new people on our planet every single day.
To summarize: People everywhere need a visual for how all of the above can be accomplished in a completely re-designed lifestyle model that can eventually provide all humans with a comfortable and meaningful way of living - without the excesses associated with the shortsighted, unsustainable economics of today.
Imagine how easy it would be to live sustainability if we lived in a world where ONLY green lifestyle options existed.
A picture is worth a thousand words
The Bottom Line. How do we ever get to the point when the world is ready to fully grasp the fact that our entire civilization must be reinvented?
I continue to say that it begins by:
Starting an earnest global conversation about why and how our civilization can be re-invented
(XR) and others are working to
foster that global conversation, one with which I would like to be a part.
Earlier today, I watched a new, 90-minute video of one of the XR founders, Roger Hallam, talking to a group in the UK about some of the cold hard facts of exactly what it will take to drive sufficient change to make enough of a difference to save our civilization.
The XR logo shown above has a circle representing the planet with an hourglass in the middle, reminding us that time is running out.
As for their work, I believe that the "visuals" I have provided could help them in conveying to the world, the sheer magnitude of lifestyle change that will be necessary.
Here's how they are describing themselves now:
Extinction Rebellion is an international, apolitical network using non-violent direct action to persuade governments to act on the climate and ecological emergency.
In closing, I applaud the XR efforts and even reached out to their local chapter (Brattleboro, Vermont) last week to open the door for future collaboration relative to our common values.
|Image at homepage of Brattleboro Common Sense Website
I am pleased to report that, just today, I had an uplifting, 90-minute discussion with one of their members, Kurt Daims, who is also the executive director of a local activist organization called
Brattleboro Common Sense.