Sustainability in 2022: Now for the really difficult bit
Happy New Year!
I’ve just looked back at my equivalent blog post for 2021 and I was extremely gung-ho about 2021 being the Year of Sustainability. This year, I’m slightly more circumspect about progress. Not because I think we’re headed to failure, far from it, but because now we have to translate all the high faultin’ talk of COP26 etc into action. And change is hard.
I remember seeing George Marshall of Climate Outreach speak many years ago about engaging people in Sustainability. I remember clearly the quoted some market research showing that most people wanted something done about climate change, but when the interviewees were asked about what they were going to do, they got defensive, aggressive in some cases. I can well believe this as, last summer, when I criticised the Guardian’s list of 10 things you could do to tackle climate change for not having any personal behavioural change, I came under a deluge of fire for “blaming” individuals for climate change. The idea that we can tackle climate change without changing our lifestyles is utterly, utterly delusional.
So 2022 is the year where I predict that ‘climate cakeism’ – the fantasy that we can go net zero and continue with our high carbon lifestyles – is going to hit hard, cold reality big time. We’ve already seen this with Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) where the necessary and (in my opinion) desirable need to break with car dependency has led to death threats being levelled at those trying to do what needs to be done. I have a LTN going in imminently in the area I represent politically and I have my tin hat ready! But my mantra is that in 16+ years as a Councillor I have never been asked to reopen a road which has previously been closed to motor traffic – I inherited about a dozen of these and have overseen another few closures in my time. When people get used to the change and adapt their lifestyle to accommodate it, they generally like it, it’s the transition which causes the distress.
And transition must be the big theme of 2022 if we’re going to make climate change history. If you want to learn how we manage change with our clients, then please join us for our annual taster webinar 12½ Kick Ass Sustainability Ideas for 2022 on 19th January. It’s always popular and fun!