The Elephant

…in the Climate Change room;

Let’s talk about it. The fact that hundreds of thousands of people, human beings, go to work every day to do what we now call ‘dirty jobs’ that are destroying our planet. They do not (most of them) wake up every day and say ‘hmm, let me see how much I can mess things up today.’ They go to work, presumably to do the best job they can, doing the work that for decades we told them was perfectly legitimate work, and which, incidentally, we all support still today through our consumption habits. Just telling those people that they are terrible is not going to fix anything. We need to offer them alternative green jobs and we need to train them starting NOW to move into those alternative roles.

We know what we need to do but we are doing a very poor job of implementing it because too many people cannot see their place in our new ‘Green City’ of the future. These are not ‘bad people’, these are ‘scared people’. All they can see is that you want to take their livelihood away, with no alternative offered. If it’s true that we only have 10 years to implement these changes then why aren’t we at the project planning stage yet? Why isn’t a Microsoft or other project plan opened up working backwards from 2030 with all the milestones we need to hit identified? Seems that we are lacking that granularity.

Let’s face it, not everyone in the future sustainable city is going to be able to, or even want to, dig in wormy dirt, compost at home, and grow their own food in their backyard (if they own a home or a backyard). That is a bunch of kumbaya nonsense. I am by no means saying that composting and growing food locally and regeneratively are bad ideas. I’m just saying that realistically, pragmatically, for the majority of humankind, it will have to be collected and managed at the municipal and industrial level. We need to imagine and illustrate for everyone clearly, how all these people are going to survive and EAT.

How are individual restaurants going to be competitive investing in reusable tableware and cutlery when their neighboring restaurant is allowed to use ‘cheap’ (in purchase dollars only) disposables? That simply won’t work. And all the people in plastics factories making billions of plastic bags and single use containers (THE ONES THAT WE ALL USE EVERY DAY), how are they supposed to provide honestly for their families in this new ‘green future’?

All of this is going to require *que horreur!* government support and oversight. Government grants and investment to ensure that the green option is always the preferred option. Good intentions are not a strategy. We need to imagine better…and with much more granularity to understand how the majority of humanity are going to fit into this new future. Not just the minority of people who have the interest, time and space to compost their own scraps. It is something we can do if we face up to it honestly with the blinders off. I mean, let’s get real and serious here people.