Suffer the Little Children

We were living in Oslo when Barack Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, and turned out to wish him well at the balcony of The Grand Hotel along with the rest of the crowds on Stortingata. At that time he’d written a hopeful book and won and election and he was clearly one of the good guys we could get behind. But Nobel Peace Prize? That always seemed premature; a triumph of audacity over reality.

I feel the same seeing Greta Thunberg being nominated for that same prize, and lauded for all the hullabaloo behind the global series of school strikes for climate change. As a “grown-up” it’s good to see the younger generation getting passionate about a real issue, though I can’t help feeling some of the enthusiasm might be better spent getting educated about what it is and about the consequences of actions and solutions. Setting-up the rest of us – and yes, fossil fuels and plastics – as the bad guys and turning it into a crisis, is setting themselves up as populist fodder a la Pol Pot. Careful what you wish for.

When it comes to climate change, I feel I’ve been there for decades along with plenty of other adults, so it’s good to get some “support” for the efforts that custodianship of Planet A will take to get right. I’m more Bjorn Lomborg and Hans Rosling (RIP) (and Nassim Taleb and Anders Sandberg) than say “Extinction Rebellion” or “Mr Compost”. Good for sound bites and populist support, but not for any sound plan for humanity and the planet. In my case, knowledge & understanding of decision-making & leadership in complex situations are my personal focus. That’s my main contribution to the jig-saw, but the puzzle is much more complex that two dimensions on a single time-scale, so we’ll need many other contributions, leadership being one of them.

I tweeted my negative opinion of Thunberg’s Nobel Peace Prize nomination a la Obama a couple of days ago, and it got a lot of approval – which was slightly scary. It shows how the social climate is profoundly negative, so easy to support disapproval – of anthropogenic climate change. Down with this sort of thing, etc. It’s the inevitable memetic effect, that disapproval of bad stuff is dead easy, creative solutions are much harder. What we need are collaborative real world behaviours.

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