Reply To: Reflections by Maria on lecture of 9 June

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Sanna Karlsson # Posted on June 10, 2014 at 15:19

Global utmaning – Policy in the age of the climate crises
– Reflection

The discussion seminar with Kristina Persson yesterday was about her background and current involvement in reducing the gas emissions (among other factors causing climate change). She has started the organisation ”Global Utmaning” which is an ”independent think-tank analysing systemic risks and challenges, in order to find ways and means to meet them in time”. Although the organisation by itself cannot undertake the great work needed for global change in climate change, it can serve as one means to address the problem. The think-tank includes important people on the topic of climate change, among them researches and professors.

Global Utmaning works in three areas of sustainability: social, economical and ecological. Their approach is that the ecological (limits of resources) should be the dominant factor to consider when secondly working with social aspects and thirdly, economical aspects of sustainability. This means that the decisions made on social and economical areas must follow the limits of nature´s resources. If we pass these limits, they will inevitably mean negative consequences for the other two. Usually it is economics which direct our decisions made in sustainability (and many other decisions in the business world). I believe the time to redirect this focus of the dominant factor from economical to ecological can be difficult, and will undoubtedly require time. Persson suggested that more proactive movements are necessary to make this global change. She also stated:
It is difficult to get the political ministers to really listen and adress the issues. The Governement Cabinet is structured in the same way as in the 60´s, the same with the Parliament. It´s a leadership problem. It´s about being active, on the expense of being long-term. They are reactive instead of proactive.”

Persson has worked a lot with the financial part of sustainability and trying to get the political ministers to understand the importance of planning long-term. Somehow the shift of direction must also be political and not simply found in organizations of various kinds. This is however not easy. As a citizen not much involved in the politics, or sustainable organizations for that matter, I found these issues almost too overwhelming. Can we do anything about it? I fluctuate between this sense of feeling overwhelmed and completely hopeless, and the sense of encouragement that we indvidually can do what we believe will help, even so on a small scale. Persson said that more crises might make the governing parties wake up, however to be informed and be prepared if a crisis comes, is definitely a better alternative:

“Even if we would not succeed, we would be more prepared if a crisis come. The quality of the politics have gone down the last decades. The ones who are passionated and ambitious are working on a society level, not a political one. We have no global governance.”

Perhaps we need a global governance. Yet one that is well-informed and ambitious about climate change, can inspire the ones who are not, and take proactive actions and long-term decisions concerning this. But, is this feasible? Can the whole world possibly cooperate, when thinking very differently on sustainable issues?