Listening to a webinar with Mark Carney, former Governor of the Bank of England, currently UN special envoy for climate action and finance, I was reminded of how outdated expectations of simple plans are in today’s world.
The call for vision, heard all over, asking for big changes to address the climate crisis is contrasted with a critique of details not handled as expected. It’s making it hard to see the work being done. Even more so as it is work that addresses the future and needs to be triggered through regulatory guidance.
With his vision, US President John F. Kennedy succeeded to give hope and confidence to a nation and impress the world. He achieved this by suggesting that the US would bring astronauts to the moon within 10 years.
It was a very tangible vision. One building on one large institution, the NASA. And asking to give it enough funds to work out a very specific project. No doubt that it was very complicated and a program that still makes us dream. The infinite space being since then explored for us by numerous starships like the “U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701” and its eternal Captain James T. Kirk tells this story.
Compared to the work being done nowadays regarding the climate crisis, flying to the moon needs to be called a simple project. Assessing what is being done requires a different metric.
Interestingly, the project itself follows the same path we’ll often take with our own projects. Our advantage is that we don’t need to align as many governments as possible. We can do the work for ourselves and involve only as many people as we want.
Addressing the climate crisis requires setting up a common hierarchy of values. What are the most important things to do? How do we determine the priorities of the values to be addressed and the ones people see now? How does this work considering all the cultures involved?
Just like individual values, collective values are necessary to determine the objectives of the climate crisis project. They need to become objectives all can join and contribute to. These objectives have to be defined, agreed upon, and aligned across all the involved governments. That’s what allows us to all pull on the same strand.
It’s only then, that policies can be written and given to the different actors. That is the individual governments who then transform them into national objectives and policies. The policies being there to guide the different markets.
Once this is starting to happen, we can see the economy develop its implementations and reactions. It’s for example what is happening right now with the finance industry taking up ESG related policies. They reshape their work as well as their offering.
Reaching this stage, two things have happened. One is that the work done has reached the individuals and customers. The other is the feedback loop that has become accessible.
The feedback governments use to develop new metrics becoming necessary to assess the progress happening. And feedback used to adjust objectives and policies to the new reality as it has been shaped.
It’s the same cycle we’ll use with individual projects.
Once values are cleared, objectives set, and the main lines of the project implemented, it is building on them and learning from the experience we create that is at stake. It’s a constant virtuous cycle we use to reach everyone in our audience.
The climate crisis has at stake, that the audience is the world’s population. The defined policies need to bring a movement engaging every individual on earth. And one helping everyone see where and how they can contribute.
It’s an impressive scale and task.