Six big questions for our times

and some ways to explore answers

Have you ever had the experience of wandering, lost in the mist, and emerging to find you’re at a vantage point where you can see at least broadly where you are, and where you want to go? That’s the place I’ve reached recently, and I’m sharing my perspectives in the hope that they give you useful insights or provoke you to set me right!  

Over the years I’ve found ways of progressing through confusion that have helped me here. Although human nature dislikes living with uncertainty, I’ve learned to bear with that discomfort, and wander while holding a question in mind. This leads to useful insights coming to me: a ‘chance’ meeting, a newspaper feature, a dream, a wild new idea. 

The six big questions below have been slowly brewing and taking shape for several months, and I especially thank the many contacts whose views have helped this process. As you’ll see, there is some connection between these questions. An underlying inspiration is Jem Bendell’s work on Deep Adaptation. If that’s new to you, see my overview blog here 

1. How can business be a positive force in climate change adaption?  

Did you know that 2019 is forecast to be the highest year ever for CO2 emissions? Isn’t that worrying, given all the good things going on to reduce pollution?  

Business is not the only reason for the continuing rise, but I believe that UK and global emissions won’t start dropping unless businesses change radically. I’ve been researching this issue for six months: although there are several good initiatives underway, there are also many companies in denial about climate change, and many who don’t recognise the scale of the change needed. Hence this is the main focus of my work over the coming year. For more on this question, see leading through storms. 

2. How can we improve food security in the UK? 

This is a massive issue worldwide: I’m focussing this question in the UK because it’s where I live, and there are issues particular to our climate and our current cheap food market. I’ve begun to imagine how food growing could be reshaped to cope with climate change and the probability of shortages of imported food. This may require consumers to invest ahead of market prices. See more in the blog about this

3. What role can local communities play in deep adaptation?  

Potentially a big one: this might include community food growing, and an equally big issue could be food distribution. If there are shortages, how do we ensure that people who have less mobility or less money get a fair share? I recently held an open meeting in my home town to start exploring this.

4. Does the overall financial system need reforming, and how on earth could this happen?  

Increasingly, I feel that this question is the biggest elephant in the room. Currently the system seemingly necessitates the exhaustion and pollution of natural resources, and extreme inequalities of wealth. The power of the vested interests defending the system is stupendous. I’m having an increasing number of conversations that confirm the scale of the issue, I’m reading and researching about ‘solutions’ and have found nothing convincing yet. If you have ideas or would like to share in my exploration, please contact me.

5. Who’s hurting most? Redress and regeneration 

The impacts of climate change in the UK are likely to include major disruption and economic impacts. It’s likely that many people in the UK and other wealthier countries will be preoccupied with their own needs. I’m carrying a painful awareness that globally, those who did least to create the crisis are already suffering the most and will continue to do so. See my blog for some initial thoughts on what I or we could do on one aspect of this.

6. How can more people raise their spiritual resilience?  

I still believe that most problems offer a gift, and the climate crisis could be a massive invitation for all of us to deepen into faith, prayer, and belief in something bigger than ourselves. If people could stop confusing a personal spiritual path with dogmatic religion, there’s great scope for transforming resilience levels without any financial or environmental impact! See more in the blogs and resources on my website