Thursday, August 28, 2014

We Need a Shift in Context

Climate Change – A Matter of Context
by Laughlin Artz

What will get us out of this mess is the same thing that got us into it – action.  Not just any action, but a new kind of action, an entirely different order of action that comes from a new kind of thinking.  As Einstein said:      

             “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of
              thinking we used when we created them.” 

We need action that isn’t just more, better and different versions of what we’ve done before, but action that is bold, radical and produces results not possible in the current landscape.

The current climate situation is the direct result of actions taken and not taken.  And our success or failure in effectively mitigating that situation will also be a direct result of actions taken and not taken.

To effectively get at the whole matter of action, we need to examine what determines action.  Not what explains it or justifies it, but what actually determines it. 

What determines action?  Facts?  No.  Otherwise when 20 people are presented with the same facts, you would get 20 people taking the same actions.  Knowledge?  No.  It is common knowledge that to lose weight, one needs to eat less and exercise more.  Yet that knowledge does not predictably translate into the actions of eating less and exercising.  In fact, when you test out much of what is believed, assumed or theorized to be what determines action, it doesn’t hold up in the real time moments of “what is happening” when people are taking action.

Consider that what determines action is not the “situation” itself (the facts, the “what is happening” in the moment), but rather “how the situation is there, how it shows itself).  And if you alter how the situation is “there” for someone, his or her actions alter accordingly. 

For example, when the situation of Climate Change is “there” for someone as “a hoax” the actions that person takes will be completely correlated to that “how it is there for them,” which will be the action of taking no action.    

Given that what will make the difference in the matter of Climate Change is ensuring that the right actions are taken at the right times to produce the right results and that action is correlated to how the situation called climate change is “there” for people, then the question becomes: 
“How do we get Climate Change to “be there” for people such that the correlated actions of that “how it’s there for them” are the actions that mitigate the situation?”

What determines how a situation is “there” for people, and correspondingly the actions they take or don’t take, is not the facts but rather the context in which the facts exist.

Context gives/shapes the way the situation “is there” for people, and therefore is the key determining factor in the matter of people’s actions.  People’s actions are determined not by the situation itself, but by how the situation “is there” for them.  And what determines how it’s there for them is context.  Calling people to effective action is the power of context.

We need a Shift in Context.  If we as a global community are to be successful in mitigating the predictably catastrophic future of Climate Change, a shift in context is requiredNot just important, but required.  

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