To change we often need to lose an old habit in order to gain a new one. The transition can be difficult, uncomfortable to begin with, risky even as without the belief that we will come through better in the end, its easier to stick with what we know.
Sustainable governance requires a culture that has the ability to choose and sustain short-term sacrifices in order to secure long term gains. Although that cultural mindset may have sustained us in the past, how many of the national governance systems today would be willing to persuade their citizens to make short-term sacrifices for the welfare and benefit of others*, particularly when those others live far away or will inhabit a world we will not see?
Unless we are able to change our outlook to expand our boundaries of concern in time and space, the alternatives we need to adopt which entail a short term cost for a long term benefit, will be considered negatively, even unnecessary. And so it is with addressing climate change. Small changes now in how we get around, what we eat and how we heat our homes can cumulatively build a new way
of living which looks to the future; one which is sustainable.
However, embedded in political, economic and cultural systems today, are many mechanisms that favour the short term over the long term – the frequency of elections, daily stock market reports, investor preference for short payback periods and the brief attention span of the media.*
Bee Orchids at Lydney Industrial Estate
With climate change accelerating, (Greenland and Antarctica are shedding ice six times faster than in the 1990s) the sooner we change our habits, the sooner we can push for the cultural shift needed to leave a habitable planet for our descendents.
*Limits and Beyond (2022)