Climate change is considered by many to be the greatest challenge to humanity. It is a “perfect storm” that will lead to unprecedented social and ecological impacts, unless urgent measures are taken to both reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to changes that are now considered inevitable. There is a growing recognition that traditional approaches and “business-as-usual” are insufficient to address the complex challenges of climate change. In fact, there have been many calls for new modes of thinking about multiple interacting processes, policies, and programs, and both scientific and policy discourses increasingly emphasize the need for deliberate transformation to address climate change.
Transformation to a low-carbon, well-adapted global society presents both opportunities and risks, and raises some important questions: What do we actually mean by transformation? What do we know from historical experience in a diverse field how to make it happen? Where are the gaps in our knowledge base to inform concrete strategies and actions for deliberate, ethical and sustainable transformation at the rate and scale that a global existential threat calls for? Can we innovate rapidly enough, and with sufficient intelligence, to transform systems along pathways towards global justice, gender equity, and long-term social and ecological resilience? Can we do this in a participative manner, without resorting to fear, force or folly?
Karen O'Brien's insight:
"Transformation in a Changing Climate", 19 - 21 June 2013, Oslo, Norway
The aim of this conference is to bring together diverse perspectives on transformation, and to generate cutting-edge discussions on deliberate, ethical and sustainable transformation in response to the complex global challenges associated with climate change.
# Good argument for new paradigm concepts and a vision of "awareness-based, love-infused, presence-centered, evolutionary leadership” (but beyond green meme concepts :-)) drawing on Steiner, Campbell, Kegan, Torbert, Wilber, etc. The article gives a solid overview over qualities, concepts and practices that are emerging and gives a taste on what a new paradigm of leadership and development "in relationship to nature, community and meaning" could actually look like embodied, and, most importantly, scaled up. AC
Current approaches regularly see conservation scientists and practitioners acting as ‘fix-it’ mechanics whom tend to analyse a problem which has usually been defined by fellow scientists and then finding a solution. The alternative approach is to adopt the role of becoming more of a coach or ‘midwife’ in using tools to allow new learning and knowledge to emerge (or be born) and thus facilitate a better all-round and lasting understanding of the system – which includes one’s own understanding and that of all participants.
A conference where speed presentations and fishbowl dialogues replace tedious monologues? Where an artist gets as much time to talk as a researcher? Where the public have a platform to have their say? Yes, to change society we must also change academia, say the organizers.
Karen O'Brien's insight:
this will not be an ordinary conference. Stay tuned.
Come to the Extreme Dialogue on Climate Extremes, June 18, 2013 at the University of Oslo (www.uio.no/extreme-dialogue). This Extreme Dialogue seeks to alert the media and mobilize key decision-makers and the public at large to take action in response to changes in climate variability and extreme events. Building upon some of the key messages presented in the IPCC Special Report on “Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation” (SREX), the dialogue aims to develop an untapped potential to make better connections across communities, sectors, and generations. The Extreme Dialogue will use facilitated dialogue and diverse media including film, art, and theatre to communicate climate change as a compelling story about extreme weather that emphasizes the capacities of humans to better manage risk.
End Africa’s dependence on Aid through Complementary Currencies. Help eradicate poverty and keep six people from seven years in prison.
Karen O'Brien's insight:
this is great; the complementary currency adapts to the actual life conditions of people and is enabeling more interaction closer to the needs of people. It also is not just linear but provides a complex social back up system. Good!
This will be an important talk. As Paul Hawken wrote in his book "Blessed Unrest: How the Largest Social Movement in History is Restoring Grace, Justice, and Beauty to the World," "The term 'solving for pattern' was coined by Wendell Berry, and refers to a solution that addresses multiple problems instead of one. Solving for patterns arises naturally when one perceives problems as symptoms of systemic failure, rather than as random errors requiring anodynes." Is carbon the problem, or are we?
Future Earth is a new 10-year international research initiative that will develop the knowledge for responding effectively to the risks and opportunities of global environmental change and for supporting transformation towards global sustainability in the coming decades. Future Earth will mobilize thousands of scientists while strengthening partnerships with policy-makers and other stakeholders to provide sustainability options and solutions in the wake of Rio+20.
http://vimeo.com/57209293 Future Earth will be a global platform to deliver:Solution-orientated research for sustainability, linking environmental change and development challenges to satisfy human needs for food, water, energy, health;Effective interdisciplinary collaboration across natural and social sciences, humanities, economics, and technology development, to find the best scientific solutions to multi-faceted problems;Timely information for policy-makers by generating the knowledge that will support existing and new global and regional integrated assessments;
The Courage to Change "It is one thing to look objectively at change or to study it at a distance, in an attempt to both understand and shape it. Yet it is another thing to look at how we ourselves approach change – i.e. do we embrace change, or do we resist it? Is it exciting, or is it frightening? While the blind spots and limitations of others are often directly visible to us, it is less commonto look at our own assumptions and beliefs, our areas of discomfort and anxiety, and our fears, including the shadows that cover emotions that we would prefer to hide. This can make one feel quite vulnerable, and most people will find good reasons, consciously or unconsciously, to avoid this at all costs.” From “The Courage to Change: Adaptation from the Inside-Out” by Karen O’Brien – coming soon in Moser and Boykoff’s new book, “Successful Adaptation to Climate Change: Linking Science to Policy in a Rapidly Changing World”.http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9780415525008/ ;
In many countries we work in, individual resistances and collective shadows that show up during transformative processes are generally a matter of life and death and will be touched or triggered (Syria, South Africa, Egypt, ...
"There is invisible writing on the back of the diploma you will receive, and in case you didn't bring lemon juice to decode it, I can tell you what it says: You are Brilliant, and the Earth is Hiring. The earth couldn't afford to send recruiters or limos to your school. It sent you rain, sunsets, ripe cherries, night blooming jasmine, and that unbelievably cute person you are dating. Take the hint.
And here's the deal: Forget that this task of planet-saving is not possible in the time required. Don't be put off by people who know what is not possible. Do what needs to be done, and check to see if it was impossible only after you are done."
Folks who do systems analysis have a great belief in "leverage points." These are places within a complex system (a corporation, an economy, a living body, a city, an ecosystem) where a small shift in one thing can produce big changes in everything.
The systems community has a lot of lore about leverage points. Those of us who were trained by the great Jay Forrester at MIT have absorbed one of his favorite stories. "People know intuitively where leverage points are. Time after time I've done an analysis of a company, and I've figured out a leverage point. Then I've gone to the company and discovered that everyone is pushing it in the wrong direction!"
Often when faced with the task of getting from point “A” (Munchkinland) to point “B” (Kansas) where “B” – or the path to “B” – is unclear, unknown or hasn’t been tested before, we automatically assess our options, define our path and create the action needed to get there – simple right?