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.
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.
Human beings only change when we learn something new – and this is a teachable moment. When the Covid-19 crisis has passed, can we build on this moment? Could a virus teach us about the true relationship between people, the economy and our environment… and how life really works?
Our primitive need to see good triumph over evil may be satisfied by watching Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg’s head roll but it keeps us blind to our systemic reality. What’s broken is not individuals or even individual organisations but our entire industrial system.
In the age of climate collapse, what do we say to our children? The problems facing us seem too big to solve. And we seem too small. Doing too little, too late. As students take to the streets all over the world, demanding urgent action, this letter responds to one young man’s despair. And suggests where he – and we – may find inspiration and hope.
Now and then we observe the world through the lens of living systems and our CultureWork perspective.
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