Climate change solutions desperately need bipartisan political will and the input from the right collaborative experts, led by highly competent project managers – in order to deliver the outcomes needed in a specific time frame.
A multi disciplinary systems thinking approach is needed
This will require an adaptive management method and a multi-disciplinary approach, just as that applied by Gene Krantz from NASA when his astronauts’ lives were threatened by mishaps, during the Apollo missions – Apollo 13 being the most dramatic.
‘Space ship earth’ needs people who are going to apply systems thinking to a total system overview.
If we are to advance as a society and solve the real problems facing mankind as a whole, over simplifying the problems, seen practiced by non-technical politicians and large industry players – and often supported by the media, needs to stop in the near future.
Nobody is going to win by this proliferated ‘business as usual’ approach or the continual attempted implementation of ‘silver bullet solutions’. There is no silver bullet. It is a complex issue and needs total systems thinking.
Over consumption and materialism
Apart from the diabolical carbon and other greenhouse gas issue, the year 2050 represents a collision course with nature. The graph below, supplied by David Baggs of ‘Ecospecifier’, clearly illustrates the declining eco systems and the rising demands of humans through population growth and increasing materialism.
Apart from the scale of development and the destruction of natural habitats, the rate of consumption of materials on planet earth is way beyond the capacity of the earth now to continue supply resources to satisfy the need – or should we say ‘greed.’
The quantity of materials consumed is now totally unsustainable and with the dramatic growth of China and India it does not require a PhD qualification to understand the problems and the role of the built environment in the contribution to the Climate Change problem.
The following graph clearly shows that 60-70% of all materials consumed go to the building industry.
Indigenous people (homo sapiens) basically lived in harmony with nature for 100,000 years and this over-consumption never became a issue with low populations hunting and gathering what was available. They lived within the limits of what was available and total populations never exceeded 5 million on the entire planet.
The world population was just over 3 billion when President JF Kennedy was assassinated and now it is nearing 7 billion. There could be growth to 9 -12 billion if world population growth is not addressed. What is the workable limit to population based on ecological health of the planet? We need to know!
To fully understand the most desirable population levels in each region of the planet, a good starting point would be fully understanding the culture and philosophical position of the world’s indigenous peoples before modern economies started to evolve. I believe there could be a modern day lesson for those who think there is no other way than the modern economic existence of unbridled consumption.
Many experts consider that there is a way of having quality without the quantity and the terrible waste prevalent in the modern world as exploded in the 20th century.
Researchers, sociologists, and economists could do well to explore this avenue and research and develop new ways inspired by our ancient pasts. New patterns of living and making maximum use of resources will contribute greatly to achieving true sustainability on planet earth. Sustainability based economics should be based on human values rather than money for power and overt destruction consumption.
The definitive book on this subject, one which examines solutions to global economic problems to the level we all need, has not been written yet. I am sure renewable energy technologies will be an integral part of the eventual workable solutions. This is a challenge for all disciplines and for a new breed of AuSES mentors and mentees. It also will open the door for AuSES to be involved in more multi-disciplinary research and development and widen the net for enlisting new young members of the society.
This graph shows the climb in consumption and industry sectors involved. There has been exponential growth since 1995 as there has been no attempt by any economy to curtail consumption, fearing depressed economy.
It is obvious the economic paradigm the world has been employing of the last 100 years has started to fail.
As Einstein once said, “One cannot employ the same thinking to solve the problem, that caused the problem in the first place.”
A commentary by Garry Baverstock AM , CEO of solar-e.com and
Western Australian President of the Australian Solar Energy Society
Valuable solar-e links:
Ecological Sustainable Development Effects of Climate and Culture Variations on Passive Solar Design