Tuesday, 22 March 2011

The People's Liberation Front of Judea or Climate Week Launch

The Life of Brian - the movie - is packed with great scenes. One of the most searing is when the People's Liberation Front of Judea confronts the Judean People's Front. A scuffle breaks out and someone shouts, "Stop! - we must focus on the real enemy". Everyone stops and realises their mistake and with a simultaneous dawning they spontaneously combine to rally against Liberation Front for Judean People. "No, no, no" "The Romans, the Romans are the enemy".

We don't have the luxury of time for infighting. Climate change is real and now.

During Climate Week thousands of events are being held reaching out to supermarket shoppers, to breakfast cereal eaters, to schools and offices across the country. We'll only make meaningful progress when the majority are on board and we are nowhere near that goal yet.

Maybe Climate Week could have chosen more appropriate sponsors but I don't suppose there was much choice of funding offers available to them. The work that Kevin Steele and his team have started is essential and overdue. I applaud their work.

Doing what's best for the future is going to mean some very tough decisions and forming some unpalatable relationships. It has to be a Big Tent and we all have to squeeze in and offer what we can.

Friday, 18 March 2011

The Great Delusion

We’ve got Libya/Bahrain/Yemen on the one hand and the terrible Japanese earthquake on the other. The middle East situation might well have us fundamentally questioning our dependency on oil and the deteriorating condition of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant might make us wonder about the sanity of depending on nuclear.

Those of us in the renewable energy business are assuming that now everyone will recognise that what we’ve been banging on about for two decades makes sense. That the wide range of clean and reliable sources of renewable energy available will go some significant way to meeting our energy needs - if not all of our wants.

But seems we’re deluding ourselves.

Watching BBC Question Time last night and hearing the wide ranging justification for nuclear and entrenched opposition to renewables sent me to bed feeling miserable.

But I woke up curious. What is it that makes us all kid ourselves that we, and only we, are right? That’s the gap we have to bridge. How do we reach out to those “idiots” to ensure meaningful debate ensues?

In the renewable energy business we anticipate many exciting new job opportunities, economic prosperity and a fairer society being derived from inspired engineering and elegant design solutions that enable a transition to a clean and healthier future. We can’t get our heads round why people wouldn’t want that.

Maybe we need to communicate it better. Maybe the solutions to the energy crisis hurtling towards us aren’t all about engineering but are also about building relationships. Relationships with people we may find difficult. It’s time to get over it. And put the safety of our children ahead of our need to feel right at any cost.

Someone once asked me: would you rather be right? Or dead right?