The Climate Economy is education for change.
Earth’s climate is changing unnaturally fast because of human activities, mainly the burning of fossil fuels, causing increased global temperatures and altering life-sustaining ecosystems. The actions we take now will determine the severity of change in the future, and whether we will thrive as a species or be overcome by unwanted change. The changes that we can make to reduce the severity will be good not only for the climate, but also for the economy and humanity, so there is no good reason not to make these changes.
Change can be good, and people can change with the proper motivation. The change we focus on will work to make things better for everyone/everything/everywhere/for future generations, paying special attention to:
- those who are most oppressed by our current systems,
- those who are already experiencing hardships because of climate change, and
- those who will lose jobs because of the transition.
The Climate Economy’s educational activities will attempt to bridge the gaps between the many issues relating to a better future for all that intersect with climate change. For example, it’s usually the poor, minorities and women who are hurt most both by fossil fuel pollution and things like more extreme weather or rising seas caused by climate change.
We don’t start from now, we start from the future we envision.
We envision the future that works. We work backwards to get back to today. This way we disentangle the future from our current systems causing the problems, and also prepare for “surprises.” A. Gayle Hudgens, PhD, is an author who wrote about the solutions we need in 2002 when she wrote “Collaborative Spunk: The Feisty Guide for Reviving People and Our Planet.” She explains the process of “backcasting:”
If we want to see the future more as an extension of the present—that is, business-as-usual, government-as-usual, violence-as usual—we will choose the forecasting technique. Rather than proactively co-creating the future we really want, we often wait for forecasts to become self-fulfilling prophecies of current trends with all the present’s inherent baggage, unexamined assumptions, and unsustainable myths….forecasting reflects the existing worldview that brought us to our current tight squeeze reality. You can see, therefore, how forecasting can become a distinct disadvantage in creating a healthy and flourishing future.
Enter scenarios and backcasting, which, though separate techniques, are both carried out from visions, not trend extrapolation. The solution to the surprise event dilemma is to create a nonlinear method of imagining the future. First, you imagine a genuinely sustainable future far removed from the “baggage” of today’s world. Next you define the principles for where you want to be in the future. Moving step-wise back in time from that vision to the present, you then identify the choices and actions that have to be taken at strategic points along the way in order to realize the vision. Based on these steps, you design a program for change…
Closely related to scenario development, the backcasting method addresses the question of how to create desirable futures, rather than passively waiting on trend extrapolation or other linear techniques to see what futures will occur. In backcasting, one “leaps” forward in the imagination to envision a future endpoint…
Next, work backward to the present to find out what actions will have to take place to assure such a future. During the process decision points emerge that reveal critical action steps essential in the short and medium term for realizing the longer-term endpoint.
We will refer back to Gayle’s writings frequently at The Climate Economy.
We envision a world where people can thrive authentically in a world with a changing climate by reconnecting to nature, our personal passions and our fellow humans.
That’s our motivation. Areas of study important to this vision include:
- Understanding climate change and how it affects our lives
- Reducing our impact
- Protecting animals, plants and ecosystems
- Scenarios and backcasting
- Exnovation of harmful legacy systems and building the new
- Clean energy
- Low-carbon industry and productivity
- Circular economy (design out waste)
- Carbon drawdown and sequestration
- New measures for wealth, value and happiness
- Lifecycle impact analysis along all criteria (climate/economy/humanity)
- Inclusion of externalities, unpaid labor/identifying “free riders,” value of nature’s production or destruction, etc.
- Collaboration and transparency
- Human rights
- Lifelong personalized learning
- Community resilience
- Relationships and families
- Personal wholeness and happiness
- Celebration of culture
- Helping if you can help
For every community, group, individual or venture, we look at
- the possible future scenarios and backcasting
- prioritize actions with the help of a Climate SWOT analysis, and
- put plans in place with the help of the Climate Venture Map to get there.
It’s a process of tearing down, rebuilding, re-imagining and experimentation to get us where we want to be. Everyone can and should play a role in this exciting transition. It’s our time for change.
Roles in The Climate Economy
We are training individuals to play important roles in the development of their own lives and communities:
- As Youth Leaders: Youth Climate Economy Ventures is teaching the leaders of tomorrow how to create lifestyles, communities and business models that are good for the climate, economy and humanity.
- As Youth Mentors: Individuals with expertise can work with student-led groups to bring forward Climate Economy ventures.
- As Community Catalysts: Each community is unique and will require unique Climate Economy strategies. Individuals can train to lead Climate Economy efforts in their communities.
- Verifiers: An entirely new system of value, finance and accounting is needed that properly values climate-, economic- and humanity-related factors.