The pandemic has revealed our fractured and vulnerable financial model that has long been centred around short-term “wins” at the cost of our society & environment. The economy is now set to contract sharply, by at least 5.2% in 2020 according to the World Bank, accelerating the need to create real change.
In front of us is undoubtedly our greatest innovation challenge to date. How do we halve global emissions to stay under 1.5c and create an equitable world for future generations, all within a decade (2030)? To achieve this crucial target set by climate scientists, our countries, industries and communities need to come together to transform towards ‘net-zero’ as the minimum.
With the ‘climate tech’ solutions out there and many more being conceptualised; we ask the question, how can each of us our play our role?
At Keystone Legacy, an international agroecology initiative, we recognise the importance of building back greener through sustainable, regenerative precision practices. However, what seems more apparent than ever is the absence of a coordinated approach between all actors. Governments, although fundamental in setting policies for climate action, have to this point proven to be behind the curve and self-serving.
The opportunity now lies in the business community and the public sphere. Here, purpose-driven partnerships can be forged that demonstrate to our politicians where our interests and priorities are. In particular, the onus is on us, the younger generation. We need to raise awareness around climate change and implement the world’s mission. In short, it’s an anthropogenic crisis; humans have caused it, we can reverse it. And it all starts in the mind.
Man-made climate change is a symptom of our superpower. Our ability to believe in shared, imagined realities – nations, media & corporations – has led us to the top of the food chain and given us unparalleled influence over our planet. Like all superpowers though, they can fall into the wrong hands and threaten our very existence. Today, we live in a world built on stories and beliefs of the past that are failing us.
Social media, long heralded for optimising biological connection across the world, is showing its true face. We, the people, are products sold to the highest bidder, advertisers, many with a nefarious agenda of populism and disinformation. Why do we have climate change deniers? It seems that as homo sapiens, we are ill-equipped to face this wall of carefully programmed Artificial Intelligence (AI) praying on our weakness, with high rates of addiction, alienation and extremism among its ‘users.’
Understanding this, presents each one of us with a heroic duty. How can we harness our shared superpower to save the planet, other species and ultimately, ourselves? More than ever before, we need to enter into a new, enlightened collective consciousness. One that rejects speciesism and recognises that we are all part of the same biosphere that is contingent on the health of all species and ecosystems to function.
Once we’ve reached this paradigm shift in our minds, the narratives that have long served fictitious entities which sever our ties with nature, can be replaced by belief systems that actually do serve the people. And the answers are in front of us. If we respect nature, we can better understand its principles and the functioning of its ecosystem. As David Attenborough expresses in his latest call to arms, ‘A Life on Our Planet’ documentary: “We need to rediscover how to be sustainable, to move from being apart from nature to being a part of nature once again.”
Tribal communities are our testament that we can co-exist with nature again. Yet, it is deeply concerning that today, we live in a time where a tree is more valuable dead than alive. Even more alarming is the latest PNAS report, which shows that only 4% of mammals are ‘wild’, with humans and our livestock accounting for 36% and 60% respectively. We have pushed wildlife to the brink of extinction, and humans are not far behind.
This pandemic has created a social, political & economic vacuum. We, as citizens and businesses have a real chance to reimagine our stories and realign our values. Social media can be reengineered to demonstrate truth. In doing so, we can broadcast a counter-narrative, one that is climate positive and compassionate with a long-term, sustainable impact.
Our time for collaboration and co-creation is ripe: we can all be conscious consumers and demand responsible value chains from our businesses. Likewise, businesses can deliver purpose and substitute shareholder, for stakeholder capitalism. We have already witnessed the psychological and material benefits from localising food systems and stewarding biodiversity during what the fortunate few call “The Great Pause.” These lessons now exist in our social network. With the right collective will, they can guide us towards permanent, positive change.
Edward Pycraft, Keystone Legacy