Thank you for being a reader of Transition Edge. Please feel free to forward it to friends who you think might enjoy it too.
I’m Grant Symons. I convene Transition Edge to help us understand how we can transition to a low carbon sustainable world using leading thinking and practices.
***WARNING: You get to 'fire' yourself at the end...in a nice way!***
At the 2020 Convergence for Carbon Transition Conference in New Zealand, one of the key messages Transition-HQ delivered was that 'The great Transition' is not going to be ..."Business as usual...plus a few tweaks" and that we all ought to be considering new approaches that embraced that condition - namely new approaches to Transition.
During the conference and panel discussion the large consulting firms presented and espoused their perspectives of New Zealand's transition and that of its various sectors, and repeated the importance of their road-maps, solutions and case studies. Our message went largely ignored. Their well thought through stories, rehearsed and credible to the untrained
ear (not to Transition engineers) were notably right in line with their existing business models and services. Solutions which both the public and private sector are still lapping up.
BUT, with the fullness of time, that world has become even less business as usual-like and navigating the future has become far more challenging than "a few tweaks". So even though the majority still don't get it, we figure that - being a reader of the Edge - you will expect us to hold our position.
With this in mind, this week's edition provides you with first hand insights that we hope will help you excel in navigating the future as it unfolds:
- The rationale behind our message - (the real world is chaotic)
- Why that matters to you
- Ideas to consider for your journey
Rationale (if you needed convincing)
The idea that business as usual, in any form, can continue becomes increasingly absurd every day. The world and civilization is undeniably in ecological over-shoot and the downward slope of virgin resource availability, at least at the quantities required to feed the systems appetite, is starting to show up in everyday life. Just watch transport and food over the next 12 months!
The affects of climate change, energy shortages, price inflation and social dislocation are being experienced in our towns and on our TV screens every week. Thinking that we can make a few 'tweaks' that will fix this is utterly ridiculous. How many COP summits and IPCC reports have there been while nothing changes?
How impotent is the political and government system to cope with the challenges we face? While current rhetoric around Covid and Russia are visible, recent decisions that will affect our future energy security, while relatively invisible (unless you are interested), indicate a worrying level of incompetence and lack of ownership and accountability. But this shouldn't be a surprise.
We now have a system that cannot be transitioned using the same thinking (and gigantic quantities of resources) we used to create it. BAU is toast! It cannot address the complexity we now face.
Mostly we are blind to this problem, but here are some of the symptoms:
- Organisations breaking things down so they are 'manageable', to the point they are meaningless
- The public service inventing increasingly petty compliance and rules
- Linear, step by step, actions coming unstuck when they meet complexity
Managers looking the other way
- Acceptance of mediocre performance
- Work creation activity and wasteful process (to appear productive)
- Looking good for a while, then hopping on to the next host
Post truth spin and memes, smoothing the way
- Disassociation and avoidance from the real issues
- Public and private leaders and managers surrounding themselves with communications teams
- Watering down the tough decisions to be generally acceptable by the population, but accelerating ecological overshoot
Why this matters?
Real Transition is happening and will continue to happen, irrespective of if we like it or not.
Through the disrupted decade we will have choices - doing nothing is choice number one. Beyond this choice the options for how we navigate the future are largely within our own control, providing we are able to develop the appropriate mindset, outlook and habits.
If we ignore the reality that the Transition is massive and that the world is far more complex than we as individuals can cope with - then we are likely to be setting ourselves up for a more difficult journey.
At some point the ways that worked in the past 'normal world' will be irrelevant. (We are very interested in how big government and consulting firms might deal with this in future)