This article is the third in the series of exploring what it means to ‘co-create the Future We Want‘ from a climate change and sustainability perspective. The first article ‘Reality check-in‘ introduced the issues and causes of climate change, the second article ‘Our Future Our Choice‘ provided more information about the consequences of past and present choices, and the actions that we can take, individually and together, to help prevent a four degrees warmer world.
This article provides further information about the kind of future that we are co-creating if we do not take those actions soon and consistently, and how to start Climate Conversations to build resilience at a community level.
Where are we heading?
This recent documentary series from Executive Producers James Cameron, Jerry Weintraub and Arnold Schwarzenegger puts into clear perspective that we are currently on a dangerous trajectory. If we continue business as usual we are sure to create a very different future from the Future We Want.
A world in which warming reaches 4°C above pre-industrial levels will bring unprecedented heat waves, severe drought, and major floods in many regions, with serious impacts on human systems, ecosystems, and associated services. These future scenarios are based on scientific research and scientific facts.
If you add to this that food demand is predicted to increase with 70% by 2050, due to increase in population size and predicted increase in economic development for 2 billion people, it becomes clear that transformational change for sustainability is urgent.
The Future We Want
Most people want a healthy and peaceful future. Yet this is not the kind of future that we are currently creating for our children and future generations. To shift our current trajectory drastic changes are required in every aspect of society. These changes are difficult to initiate in political and economic systems that centre around short-term narrow economic interests and fail to account for and protect our Natural Capital.
Currently much of the news sharing about our ecological crisis and Climate Change disasters are reinforcing a pessimistic view of the future. Although it is important to become aware of the scientific facts about the impacts of our actions for current and future generations, pessimism does not inspire change. Unless we feel there is hope and space for our contributions to a different kind of future, people will not move into action. Instead people may become even more conservative in their actions by securing their possession and retreating in self-preservation. The irony today is that if the motivation is self-preservation we actually need to collaborate with others!! Unless we preserve the eco-systems that sustain us, nobody will be able to preserve their life or their children’s life in isolation.
To inspire change for sustainability it is essential that we focus on how we can create positive impact. It is easier to find the motivation for these changes if we have a clear view of the Future We Want. In 2012 ELIA facilitated over 20 dialogues for the co-creation of a sustainable future in Mauritius for about 1000 people from all the different sectors. Click here to read the Future We Want Dialogue Report that was created to feed into the Rio+20 UN Conference that took place June 2012.
It is our conclusion that most people want a sustainable and flourishing future. These dialogues also showed that one of the most powerful ways to catalyse positive change is via storytelling and sharing. The next article on The Power of Storytelling will explore this in more depth.
Dialogues and conversations for our future and our climate is something that we can all start, and this begins at home. Start conversations about the Future You Want, and what you believe is necessary to accomplish this. Share also your concerns about the future outcomes that we have already committed to, like a 2 degrees rise in temperature. Focus on the positive changes that you can make with others, especially where this concerns empowering responses to changes that are needed for a better future and society.
Starting conversations that matter are powerful processes for igniting change and catalyzing positive actions. The videos above, and in the other blog articles, can be used as resources to start those conversations. At ELIA ‘Climate Conversations’ are part of our Education for Sustainability programme and our corporate sustainability services when training our clients on key sustainability issues.
Climate Conversations is also something that we share with our friends and in our community based on the growing interest and requests from people to learn more about what is happening and how they can help. Talking about our climate and most importantly our future can open many valuable doorways for sharing our feelings, dreams, hopes, fears and concerns. Climate Conversations are beautiful simple ways to help build resilience at a community level to prepare and sustain the ground for sustainability actions.
Copyright © Anneloes Smitsman – first published on ELIA-Ecological Living In Action blog 17 May 2014.