This summer while RTE, Ireland’s national broadcaster, was in the grip of a corporate governance scandal that triggered a government inquiry, the resignation of its Director General, the reconstitution of its executive board and the suspension of its highest paid broadcaster, never-before-witnessed heatwaves and floods hammered the living world. To see how these phenomena are part of the same pattern, we have to join-the-dots between personal choices, corporate decision-making and global outcomes.
The IPCC describes its synthesis report as ‘a survival guide for humanity’. This moment is called ‘an emergency’ for a reason. Conventional top-down, linear, incremental strategies are wholly inadequate responses. To change the entire system we need everyone working on everything, everywhere, all at once. Nothing short of a movement for change.
As soaring temperatures and tumbling records bring the flames of climate change uncomfortably close to home, new metrics raise troubling questions about our professional complicity in the destruction of the Earth’s climate and biodiversity and rattle some of the taken-for-granted ideas upon which most organisations and professional lives are built.
System change to rescue ourselves and our planetary system is not someone else’s job. It’s everyone’s job. Most of us think the fate of the living world has nothing to do with us. We couldn’t be more wrong. Our professional work is right at the heart of the ecological crisis.
What are we to do when our formal organisational and political systems are unable to speak the truth or act fast enough to bring about the level of change we urgently need? As Nature is the ultimate boss, the intelligence of living systems is where we’ll find the answers we’re looking for. And our response to Covid-19 is the pilot.
We’re at a cultural crossroads and the road ahead is a choice. We can walk into the future weighed down by the baggage of beliefs and assumptions that have brought us to our knees. Or we can walk away from business as usual and use our work and workplaces, skills and talents to shift the pattern of our entire culture.
Now and then we observe the world through the lens of living systems and our CultureWork perspective.
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