Connect the Dots
Perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of advocating a sustainable society is establishing in the public mind the impacts or knock-on effects various drivers have on the way we live. For instance, in a recent article “Mass migration is no ‘crisis’: it’s the new normal as the climate changes” in The Guardian, Ellie Mae O’Hagan, made the link between the instability caused by global warming and the dramatic increase of migrants seeking to enter Europe.
This is a fairly direct connection since crop failures, high food prices and the resultant social disruption in the Middle East and Africa (and greatly supplemented by numerous long-term wars) are direct drivers of social upheaval, political instability and out-migration. However, many commenters failed to get the connection. Some typical responses were:
“not war, not economics, not freedom to choose how one lives a life but climate change....... really?”
“Yeah Syria is all food shortages and not religious sectarianism!”
Valid responses but they miss the fundamental point that whatever form social decline takes and whatever symptoms it presents, one of the basic drivers is per capita resource decline which can be caused by a range of factors including climate change.
Very often, the symptoms of a problem to not illustrate the mechanism of the core issue. That is why it is critical that we look deeper into the fundamental factors which generate and are sometimes obscured by the problems they create.
Whether described as connecting the dots, following the errors, seeing the big picture or nailing all of the numbers, a comprehensive understanding of the forces at work are needed to enable us to cure the disease rather than just treating the symptoms.