Find the people who are sitting on the fence

20/06/2021

Who wants to hear some really good news about the battle to save the environment? 

Actually, who doesn’t want to hear some? We all know there are some daft laddies and lassies who really have no interest or understanding about the scale and urgency of the challenge, but I have some advice about how to deal with them and it comes from reinterpreting one of the principles of permaculture. Don’t waste your time trying to convince people who have no interest or who hold deeply contradictory views to your own. Find the people who are sitting on the fence. They just need a gentle tug to bring them onto the side that’s trying to do something positive. The other lot need to be dragged over the fence, kicking and screaming about their rights to remain uninformed. Leave them to it. The grown ups have work to do.

Of course, there are plenty of good news stories amongst the unrelenting stream of bad news about glaciers melting, oceans acidification, biodiversity loss and the rest. Some species of whale have been re-classified as merely “at risk” rather than “endangered”. A baby panda was born behind bars somewhere. Salmon, albeit some random hybrid of wild and farmed species have returned to some river. 100 million trees have been planted. These are all, usually, welcome stories but I feel they miss the point. 

The good news is that we don’t have to save the planet. We just have to stop breaking it. It’s a subtle but very important difference. It acknowledges a couple of things. The first is that not breaking something in the first place is a lot easier than fixing it once you’ve actually broken it. It’s much easier to not damage your kidneys than it is to recover from kidney damage. The second is that, in truth, the environment is really far too complex for us to “fix” and we’re just not smart enough to understand all the interactions. We can do some restoration work and hope that nature does the rest, but that’s about the limit of it.

So, how do we stop breaking the environment? Happily, this is a lot more straightforward than it sounds. And what’s more is that it makes for a very compelling business case. You just understand all the ways you can break something and don’t do them. You can do whatever you want, as long as you don’t do those things. This requires innovation, thought, imagination and determination. Which is a lot more entertaining and enjoyable than re-running old patterns, thoughtlessness, lack of imagination and apathy. 

The Planetary Boundaries, Natural Step and The Future Fit Frameworks that we use to rate our eco-vendors at Green Grow Club show us how to run a business without breaking the environment. The material to learn about them is contained in the Plaza learning hub. It’s there for all to use. This is our agenda at Green Grow Club. 

You can work your way through the open source material in the Plaza -make sure to sign up- at a pace that suits yourself. It helps you to identify options that you might want to take...when the time is right for you to do it. We understand the financial and time constraints that so many of us are under. 

But there’s no other choice. A major study published by the World Meteorological Organisation says by 2025 there's a 40% chance of at least one year being 1.5C hotter than the pre-industrial level. That’s twice as likely as they thought just a few years ago.

So, we’re here to share what we know and support those companies who are trying to reframe their business to be part of the solution. 

If you are one of those companies, join us. If you can be a customer of one of those companies, support them. 

Iain Findlay. -Sustainability geek in work. Outside of work, I like to enjoy the Munros and play music in the company of others. Sometimes I manage both at the same time.-

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