In response to the common and valid criticism of An Inconvenient Truth – that it drops a lot of solid, scary facts on you, and then leaves you with only flimsy, seemingly insufficient actions to take – the Stratleade alumni have sparked up a dialogue on what some effective ‘next steps’ could be.
The movie is causing some real change – this article from Saturday’s SF Chronicle shows how congress is showing signs of moving past the counter-productive partisanism and towards policies that foster solutions. But Truth is not explicit in how we can identify what the best steps are, and how we can address greenhouse gas emissions, global warming, and climate change in ways that provide jobs, improves
This needs to be done in a way that moves towards a sustainable society so that the solutions of today do not become tomorrow’s problems. The common example we use is CFCs – refrigerants that replaced toxic chemicals, but were later discovered to destroy the ozone layer. Now in an ad hoc attempt to solve that problem many are moving to HCFCs, which have serious greenhouse gas implications. Given a whole system, sustainability perspective, we know that HFCFs violate Sustainability Principle 2, just as CFCs did – and we need a smarter approach (in this case, Electrolux is taking such an approach, and driving innovation & competitiveness as a result).
With the climate change issue so hot, we run the risk of similar solutions. Nuclear being the most obvious – it is a ‘low carbon’ solution, but not a sustainable solution (it takes very little uranium / plutonium to result in a systematic increase in concentration in the biosphere – thus violating Sustainability Principle 1).
So, the Stratleade crew has thrown the idea of a sequel out there – A Convenient Solution* – that could lay out some possibilities for serious action, based on backcasting from principles for sustainability. We know we have the capabilities, and while “convenient” may be misleading, we can eliminate our sustainability principle 1 violations (and 2 through 4) with a mix of intelligent design for buildings & cities, smart policy moves, ending perverse subsidies, bio-fuels from sustainable agriculture, etc, etc.
Coming to a theater near you…anyone interested? Stay going.
*we're not the first to use the phrase...The Oil Drum uses similar language on the topic, as I'm sure others have...