Hear Ye, Hear Ye!

By: John A. Lanier

Our foundational question is simple – what climate solutions have the greatest potential to reverse global warming right here in our state?

It’s been a number of years since I read Paul Hawken’s 2007 book Blessed Unrest, but it’s one of those books that often echoes in my thoughts. As Paul usually does, he saw something before others noticed and then wrote a book about it. In Blessed Unrest, the something he saw was a growing worldwide movement around social and environmental justice and activism.

What I found most interesting about Paul’s observation was how this movement was simultaneously local and global. The vast majority of organizations and initiatives that were arising to address social and environmental challenges were doing so with a community-scale focus. The result was that most work was being done in local contexts. Yet when viewed with the perspective that Blessed Unrest offers, you can’t help but see how a leaderless global movement has formed, with many commonalities shared across geographies and issue types. The movement has become a compelling mosaic.

This observation is what echoed in my mind when I was recently reflecting on the challenge of climate change (something I do a lot these days). The connective tissue between the global and the local is of critical importance to this particular challenge. We see it in the problem itself – excessive greenhouse gases are being emitted in individual places all around the globe, and the result is a distortion in the climate that we all share. Flipping that coin over, the solution lies at the same intersection between the micro and macro. Climate solutions only scale where they are, but if they scale far enough, fast enough, and widely enough, our planet’s climate will stabilize. Few issues represent what Blessed Unrest described as well as this one.

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