Internet notebook about my work: deep listening to facilitate positive change


Tuesday 15 May 2007

Simply live simple

When asked about lifestyle, I am told Ghandi said: “simply live simple”. I think of that quote when I read the summary for policy makers of the IPCC report, Mitigation of Climate Change. I look at the graphics and boxes. The quantity of emissions from Europe compared to the Asian countries I am visiting, as always embarrass me. I scan the proposed measures. Many are technical. Then I read: Changes in lifestyle and behaviour patterns can contribute to climate change mitigation across all sectors. Management practices can also have a positive role. It is rated as high agreement, medium evidence. The following examples of change management are given:

• Lifestyles and consumption patterns emphasizing resource conservation can contribute to developing a low-carbon economy that is both equitable and sustainable.
• Education and training programmes can help overcome barriers to the market
acceptance of energy efficiency, particularly in combination with other measures.
• Changes in occupant behaviour, cultural patterns, consumer choice to use
technologies can result in considerable reduction of emissions related to energy
use in buildings.
• Transport Demand Management, which includes urban planning (reducing the
demand for travel) and provision of information and educational techniques (reducing car usage and leading to an efficient driving style).
• In industry, management tools that include staff training, reward systems, regular
feedback, documentation of existing practices can help overcome industrial
organization barriers, reduce energy use, and GHG emissions.

What is it that I can contribute in my own behaviour? I surf to Futuremaker. The link is recently sent to me by Andreas Glanznig. I find a few new tips, but what really appeals to me, is measuring my footprint. Honestly filling in my answers, my feedback is that if everyone has a lifestyle like me, we need 3,5 worlds. When I cheat about my flying, the feedback is better: my footprint allows for one earth. Will positive change towards living more simple, mean the end of international consultants, international meetings? How will creative learning and communication solutions look like? Maybe it all starts with measuring our footprint?


Gillian Martin Mehers said...

Hi Frits, I also think that the footprint calculator is an interesting way to see what kind of individual impact we have. My flying also always puts me way up on the scale. I remember one criticism that an IUCN staffer said after we showed An Inconvenient Truth in the office, she observed that throughout the whole movie Al Gore was shown on airplanes and in his car. If we are trying to reduce that what kind of message does that send. Then our Climate Specialist said that we need to be aggregating our footprints, not just at any point in time, but over time. He said that if Al Gore, by expending all that CO2 in making his movie, got millions of people to reduce their footprints over years, then it would work out to be an overall savings.

I am not sure what that means for those of us who are working in this industry (mainly by flying around). Somehow there is still the congruence issue where actions speak louder than words. Maybe we can do both - just slow down a little?

I read an interesting blog today called Low Carbon Travel: which I thought was interesting, and linked ot the Futerra website. The only thing I minded about it was that is was not very appreciative, I wrote him a comment saying that if we want more people to adopt this, the trips need to sound like much more fun!

Frits Hesselink said...

The argument of your Climate Specialist that we need to be aggregating our footprints, not just at any point in time, but over time. And that our big footprint is an overall saving as we will make millions of people to reduce their footprints over years.

I heard that argument 25 years ago from environmentalists driving their cars to protest meetings. Unless we move away from business as usual in our own behaviour, we will be part of the problem not the solution.

When we understood that, we started in my organization with a mobility policy: free public transport for staffs, very limited parking possibilities at the office, incentives for living close by the office.

In your organization, how many people commute by car? Don't count the interns, who cannot afford one! How many write international trips in their project proposals for meetings, workshops etc. without thinking of other aternatives? What about the housing policy of HRM? There are so many other things that can help.

No, unless those small changes are in place, I have not much faith your climate change colleague and his contributions to positive change.