Time to up our game!
The International Energy Agency (IEA) is fast becoming the scariest organisation in the world – almost every press release contains extraordinarily bad news – that peak oil probably occurred back in 2006, that the price of oil is going to undermine any global economic recovery and, now, that 2010 saw record carbon emissions making hitting the 2°C target almost impossible. While there’s a strong temptation to hide our head in the sand in the face of such a stark warning, the only sane response is to up our game.
Here’s a mini-manifesto for progress:
1. Stop finger pointing: sustainability is everybody’s responsibility – Governments, business, the media, civil society and individual citizens. Playing the blame game just slows us down, waiting for others to act will get us nowhere, sitting on a high horse is for pompous fools;
2. Be practical: let’s bin the political ideology, sacred cows and conspiracy theories that clog both sides of the environmental debate and do what works;
3. Be ambitious: for all the posturing, most environmental improvements are merely incremental. Let’s stretch ourselves and use ingenuity, determination and vision to get us out of the hole we’re digging for ourselves;
4. Be prepared to pull the plug. Face up to the fact we’re going to have to stop doing some stuff – sustainability is not just about starting to do good stuff, but phasing out bad stuff;
5. Relish the challenge and enjoy the ride. If others see you enjoying making your household, your neighbourhood, your organisation or the whole world a better place, they’re far more likely to join in.
This isn’t going to be easy, but as the great philosopher Billy Ocean once sang, when the going gets tough, the tough get going.