These are the changemaking skills of empathy, innovation, new teamwork and new leadership. As STEM skills help us learn the latest technologies—changemaking skills can help us flourish in a society transitioning from hierarchical to flat, fast moving networks.
Each of the changemaking skills is key, but I’ll focus on the most important one—empathy.
In our increasingly interconnected world, one’s actions have a bigger impact on others and can create tremendous positive or negative outcomes in record time. From the Arab Spring, Occupy Wall Street, ISIS, the Ice Bucket Challenge, and the increasing rate at which new companies and industries are forming and collapsing—change that traditionally took decades is now happening in months.
Hierarchical systems of authority are increasingly struggling to keep up. The systemic solution is to help everyone develop the new skills needed to get along with others in a flat, fast-moving world.
We have already seen the power of empathetic and decisive people successfully leading and navigating in this new world.
Droughts appear to be intensifying over much of the West and Southwest as a result of global warming. Over the past decade, droughts in some regions have rivaled the epic dry spells of the 1930s and 1950s. About 37 percent of the contiguous United States was in at least a moderate drought as of March 31, 2015. Things have been particularly bad in California, which has just imposed its first mandatory water restrictions, the latest in a series of drastic measures to reduce water consumption. California farmers, without water from reservoirs in the Central Valley, are left to choose which of their crops to water. Parts of Texas, Oklahoma and surrounding states are also suffering from drought conditions. The relationship between the climate and droughts is complicated. Parts of the country are becoming wetter: East of the Mississippi, rainfall has been rising. But global warming also appears to be causing moisture to evaporate faster in places that were already dry. Researchers believe drought conditions in these places are likely to intensify in coming years. There has been little relief for some places since the summer of 2012. At the recent peak last May, about 40 percent of the country was abnormally dry or in at least a moderate drought. The patterns above come from the Drought Monitor, which has data going back to 2000. A different measure, the Palmer Index, goes back more than a hundred years. It does lag the Drought Monitor data by more than a month, so it’s less useful for measuring what’s happening right now. But the Palmer Index shows how unusual the current period is. A 10-year average of Palmer values has been increasing for most of the last 20 years, which is to say that the country is in the midst of one of its most sustained periods of increasing drought on record.
Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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