In an attempt to really make this stick in your consciousness, we are using the acronym
MAT. As well as being something you do yoga on (even on the motorway or perhaps a rail crossing), it stands for MITIGATION, ADAPTION and TRANSFORMATION.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with these terms, they are being widely
used and normalised by academics, government officials, policy experts, local government, activists and the media, in relation to our existential threats - in practical terms they are:
- Mitigation - The range of actions and measures taken
to reduce or offset greenhouse gas emissions.
- Adaption - The range of methods, processes, tools and
practices used to determine an optimal adaption pathway into the future in the face of risk and opportunity.
- Transformation - Generally describing a completely
different future and the process of getting there.
The problem arises with these terms if they are not well located within a context and more
specifically a place and a deadline for doing something. It’s a bit like saying any of the following if you are stuck on a rail crossing with a loco screaming down the tracks towards you:
- “We could try mitigating the impact by getting partly out of the way”
- "We could buy a teleportation device... oops, bit late for that now"
- “We could just become another accessory on the front of the loco”
- “We could wait for the impact and review if there was a better option”
- "We could blame someone else for putting us in this position"
We are not trying to trivialise all of the excellent work going on in relation to climate change.
Our point is that, for our intent, understanding and ultimately action it to become truly impactful, as opposed to ignored, feared or generalised away, we need to become increasingly specific about what we are doing, by when. And for those of you in influential positions that means, stop talking, start doing today.
It isn't good enough to say we followed the right process, completed a wonderful operation only to
discover the patient died on the table, it's the actual future we are talking about - let's not settle for language that isn't active and reflecting a state of climate emergency.
And we could probably start by getting out from behind the ‘Sustainability’ banner. Looking at the plethora of evidence and the extreme weather events – that door has sadly and firmly closed. While countries and corporations have made a mantra of sustainability programmes…we haven’t even stopped the proverbial ‘oil tanker’ yet.
Sustainability is simply the term our politicians use to
calm the farm, while they hope and pray they can do their stint in power and get out before things really get to the point they have to be courageous and creative.
In many ways the more honest term is ‘transition’, as we
move towards equipping ourselves for a much different world and taking the 'right next steps' to get there. Getting stuck on the MAT is unsafe, please be careful about the words you use and how you use them.
Next week we will provide a more positive frame on