The Comfort Zone of Doom
I’m reading ‘Lean In’ by Sheryl Sandberg – the Facebook COO’s bright and breezy book on dealing with the disadvantages that women find in the workplace. The main criticism of Sandberg has come from the feminist side – basically accusing her of trivialising the issue and not addressing the deeper sociopolitical issues, as they see them. In other words, she is being slated for cheerfully suggesting simple, practical solutions that work (for her at least), rather than playing the angry victim.
The same debate rumbles on in the sustainability movement. Most commentators are much better at articulating the problem, rather than the solution, and there is a tendency to present any issue as intractable rather than solvable. Most recently we’ve seen Naomi Klein wade into the climate debate, despite the fact she admits she has no solutions, but she’s perfectly happy lecturing the rest of us that we don’t understand how big the problem is.
The best solutions in the world are simple, yet any simple solution to major problems is seen not as a way forward, but, again, a form of trivialising the problem.
This is ridiculous.
Doomsaying is as much a comfort zone as denial of the problem. Both encourage inaction when we need action.
As Ross Perot put it:
“The activist is not the man who says the river is dirty. The activist is the man who cleans up the river.”
Let’s ignore the doomsayers and, like Sandberg, get off our backsides and do something!