This report by Claire Haigh investigates ways in which our approach to tackling the climate crisis needs to change.
Building on consultations with more than 700 local leaders, businesses, academics, environmental and user groups, Greener Vision: The Art of Seeing contends that we won’t solve our most intractable problems with the same thinking that created them.
Climate change is a global intergenerational problem requiring unprecedented levels of cooperation. We need to embrace more holistic thinking and an approach that creates unity rather than division. Climate policy should be informed by five ‘Pillars of Unity’:
- ‘A sacred unity of the biosphere’ – We need a radical realignment of how we perceive ourselves in relation to others and the environment on which we depend. This will require the creation of fairer and more equitable economic systems that allow both humans and the environment to thrive.
- See the whole picture – we need greater honesty and transparency in decision-making, and to become more self-aware. Climate change exposes our tendency to see only what we want to see. Are the assumptions underpinning climate policies fit for purpose? What are we not seeing, or choosing not to see?
- Integrate heart and mind – we need to engage our emotional brains in climate change. Rational scientific data loses out against a compelling emotional story that speaks to people’s values. The tendency to separate thoughts and feelings causes confusion and does not lead to good decision making.
- Heal the whole system – we need to address the root causes of climate change: our addiction to fossil fuels. Too much attention is given to treating symptoms and not enough to the system. We need a whole systems transition to net zero. Pricing properly for carbon is a fundamental building block
- Citizens of One World – we need to connect with our natural empathy and respect for each other and all living species. Climate change is a global intergenerational problem requiring unprecedented levels of cooperation. We must internalise the new zero-sum: either we all win, or we all lose.