In the case of climate change, the scientific community overwhelmingly agrees (97%) that the underlying cause is human induced carbon emissions. We have accurate measurements and recordings of global temperatures and atmospheric carbon levels, we understand the effect that one can have on the other, and we’re aware of how mankind’s activities over the years have shifted the two and led to the looming crisis.
However, as crucial as this is, identifying the root of the problem is still just the first step. Now, we need to look at what it will take to treat it…
Embracing change and doing our part
Reducing global carbon emissions is no easy task, and the possible costs (both financial and in terms of human life) if we fail to do so are staggeringly high. As such, it’s important to recognise that for the best hope of success we all need to get involved; simply sitting back, casting blame and waiting for someone else to solve it for us just isn’t going to cut it.
To begin, as hard as it may be, we need to recognise that (with few exceptions) we are all a part of the problem. Carbon emissions are high because generally speaking we as a society pushed them there. Historically, we didn’t know it would be an issue. Now we do though, and we need to acknowledge and embrace that as part of the solution will be changing our own behaviour. This will mean different things for each us of, from addressing how we live, to where we go, and even what we’re willing to pay in order to get there.
Once we’ve taken responsibility however, we can own it. Better yet, we can make it work for us.
For example, today’s world is more interconnected than it’s ever been, and with the tools we have at our disposal what we say and do can have real power. Social media can allow us to connect and engage with not only each other but also emitters and governments, and with enough of us speaking out we become impossible to overlook. When we make it clear that certain actions and activities will no longer simply be accepted, we encourage and actively drive a societal shift away from those behaviours.
Decentralisation also has a part to play. Caught up in the centralised political machine climate change policy has become slow and often ineffectual, but with new technology such as the blockchain it’s possible to bypass this. Rather than relying on a central authority to manage carbon policy for us, we can instead decentralise, supply emitters with a carbon pricing platform ourselves, and enforce a carbon price at a socially responsible level.
Such a platform would still be able to integrate with governmental resources such as emission databases and registries, as well as overlay against any governmental system that was subsequently introduced. Not only that, powered by the blockchain it would be completely unbiased, totally accountable, and scalable to a global level (qualities any one individual governmental system would struggle to match based on inherent issues regarding national interest and jurisdiction). By decentralising, the politics hindering effective climate change policy (which have effectively only remained an issue because we’ve let them) simply disappear.
At the end of the day, our biggest problem isn’t climate change. It’s us.
To address climate change, we need to change ourselves. Rather than keep focusing on what we can do to ‘treat’ the symptoms of climate change, we need to dedicate ourselves to curing the underlying cause, and shifting our own behaviour.
It won’t be easy, and it won’t be painless, but when we stop simply relying on the status quo and instead explore the problem, we find that we actually already have solutions ready and available.
We can stop blaming others for not doing enough, take responsibility, and help lead the change. All that remains is to get on with it.