If you are thinking and you looking for creative solutions to a long-term problem, it can make sense to map out existing approaches, like these below:
You can ignore easily all those areas. After all, you are looking for new, non-obvious ideas, aren’t you? Experts have chewed and explored all ideas and solutions out there. One will not find any fresh approaches anywhere. You can just leave them out. Or you can actually use them as a base to escape current, taken-for-granted thinking.
However, the latter requires an accurate and profound but comprehensive, concise description of the approaches till now, the taken-for-granted approaches.
Start with a rudimentary, first list of existing approaches to mitigating global warming. Could you identify assumptions?
Then escape them by designing alternative approaches.
Be aware, it will always be in hindsight, after you made the thinking effort.
Our efforts – Taken for Granted Approaches
Basic approaches and attitudes about climate change and sustainability might be:
Climate denial. Dismissal, or unwarranted doubt that contradicts the scientific consensus on climate change, including the extent to which it is caused by humans, its effects on nature and human society, or the potential of adaptation to global warming by human actions.
Climate Science. A scientific approach and modeling principally focused to forecast and convince people.
Political gain and personal career ambitions. Climate ambitions as vehicles for a promising political career in politics and international organizations.
Technology. The belief and hope that sped up technology development and innovation will solve the problem of climate warming.
Economic opportunity. Mitigating the effects of global warming will provide for economic growth and welfare.
Al Gore-ism. The current scientific consensus is that: Earth’s climate has warmed significantly since the late 1800s. Human activities (primarily greenhouse gas emissions) are the primary cause. Continuing emissions will increase the likelihood and severity of global effects.
The Gaia hypothesis. That all organisms on a life-giving planet regulate the biosphere in such a way as to promote its habitability. The Earth’s biosphere effectively acts as if it is a self-organizing system that works in such a way as to keep its systems in some kind of equilibrium that is conducive to life.
Dramatic Calls for Action. Climate activists around the world, such as Greta Thunberg, Jamie Margolin, and Leah Namugerwa, are focusing on actions, now.
Setting Targets. F. i. posing sustainable development goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement.
Religious Beliefs. Views that global warming is a serious last warning from God like Noah’s Deluge and the Christian idea of stewardship of nature. God created the universe and all that is within it, so they must take care of creation and look after it. Creation includes animals and the environment.
Skepticism. An attitude of doubt or a disposition to incredulity toward causes, remedies, size, speed, consequences, scientific proof, and validation of models of global warming. Skepticism is a necessary prerequisite for the practice of science.
Emission Trading. A market-based approach to controlling pollution by providing economic incentives for reducing the emissions of pollutants. A central authority (usually a governmental body) allocates or sells a few permits that allow a discharge of a specific quantity of a specific pollutant over a set time period. Companies can trade rights for pollution.
Behavioral Change. Moral calls for taking up personal responsibility and accordingly behavior.
Subsidies and Taxes. Financial levies or surcharges to influence the desired behavior of companies and citizens.
Trade Agreements. Inclusion of requirements regarding. sustainable production, packaging, and transport in trade agreements like the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), a proposed trade agreement between the European Union and the United States, to promote trade and multilateral economic growth.
Laws. The legal prohibition or regulation of economic activities.
Geo-engineering. The deliberate and large-scale intervention in the Earth’s climate system regarding solar radiation management and carbon dioxide removal.
Emergent escape possibilities
Having summarized existing approaches, could we escape from those and find fresh approaches to increase sustainability and mitigate or even counteract the effects of climate change?
Try to come up with at least three ¨escapes¨: alternative approaches to mitigate the consequences of global warming.
Do not strive for accuracy or completeness. Only show a rough direction in which you expect we might find alternative approaches.
How to hack assumptions. An assumption is (a willingness) to accept something as true without question or proof. This definition assumes that the thinker is aware of his assumption, but he accepts it for practical reasons, as a working hypothesis. That is totally acceptable. However, mostly a thinker is not at all aware of the assumptions he takes with him.
Creative thinking. Escaping from assumptions can be learnt. How? By using thinking tools. There are many tools for creative thinking, examples can be found in countless books. The basic concepts or principles underlying those creative thinking techniques are attention, escape, movement, and focus.
Boring ideas. On the surface, ideas sometimes seem new but are in reality utterly boring. They are regularly discussed and seen before, nothing new, not inventive.
Key Performance (Mis-) Indicators. Key Performance Indicators are designed to keep an organization on track. By measuring the performance over time, you can look at deviations and take measures. However, Key Performance Indicators can also lead to perverse incentives and unintended consequences because of employees working to the specific measurements at the expense of the actual quality or value of their work.
Creative thinking. It is a misunderstanding to think that the purpose of a creative thinking session is to come up with new ideas or innovative concepts. Nor is it the mere application of a creative thinking technique, however exotic it may be. The purpose is to escape from dominant thinking patterns. It is to look for (temporary) IM-possibilities.