At JAI, we have incredibly lofty and ambitious goals about what non profits should be doing in these times.
Record breaking heat waves in California and storms in Texas and Bangladesh this past weekend are yet another reminder of the need for immediate action to stabilize carbon emissions, and create a more sustainable world.
The science has been clear for many decades: carbon emissions need to be reduced, and societies need to adopt alternative forms of energy and economic systems in order to ward off the worst effects of climate change and global warming.
So if the science is so clear, why is it so hard to get people to adjust to these realities?
The problem may be a simple one of messaging.
Telling people they have to give up something triggers loss aversion, and people hate to give up something they've already gained, even if they received it for free or by luck.
Current messages on climate change are just that -- that people are going to have to give up their big cars, their cheap gas, and all the luxuries that come with a carbon-emitting lifestyle. No wonder it's tough to get people to change.
In contrast, maybe the message should be that the crisis of climate change presents a remarkable opportunity to build a world with more happiness and freedoms -- a Golden Age.
Imagine a world where renewable energy is so abundant that it is practically free, helping power basic needs to everyone all over the world.
Imagine a world where forests, coral reefs, and other important ecosystems are rebuilt and strengthened, halting the Anthropocene Extinction and repopulating the earth with thousands of species that are now at or near extinction-level events.
Imagine a world where governments have been so successful at cooperating with one each other in managing the climate crisis, that it inspires new levels of trust and innovation between countries and different peoples. Conflicts are settled peacefully, refugee crises become a thing of the past, and humanity is inspired to cooperate together to take to the stars and use the same technologies that are managing our ecosystem to create human-friendly ecosystems elsewhere.
This is a world that is eminently possible. No new technologies are needed to create such a world -- just a shift in world view, and the push by committed individuals to build such a planet.
This is what we're hoping to do at JAI.