Monday, October 15, 2007

A matter of objective

The impact of human activity on the environment and consequences on the habitability of the planet is a central topic of concern today. So much so that today is a "Blog Action Day", that is a day during which blogs around the globe are to publish content, contributions, views and perhaps (I hope) a few questions about durable development and global warming. My contributions will mainly be with questions since there seem to be quite a few factual aspects to sort out for any action to be meaningful.

In the recent years the importance of "greenhouse effect gases" in the atmosphere has been central in media coverage of global warming and because modern communication requires simplification (excessive somtimes?), everybody seems to be focusing on carbon dioxyde. The claim goes that we should curb emissions to avoid catastrophy (for Mankind "only", should it be reminded).

But is this not somehow focusing on means instead of focusing on meaningful objectives? At the end of the day, what good will it do us to live in a world with (irrealistically) lower CO2 emissions, but still plagued with ignorance, malnutrition, lack of democracy, untolerable exclusion of developing world farmers from world trade as a result of subsidies in developed countries and so on?

My professional experience in business has taught me that formulating a worthwhile objective is central to mustering an organization's resources to execute in the right direction, so perhaps the big discussion about global warming is actually the very best opportunity in human history to agree on a long-term objective. What world do we want in a century? What can we do now to move towards that? Is it merely focusing on cutting carbon emissions?

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