Cooperation, Community and Climate Change

The failure of the world’s governments to agree on firm commitments to adequately address the dire threat posed by climate change means that a major rethink is necessary, and it may require basic changes to the way we live – including in unexpected areas of our lives.

In a new paper Robert Salter argues that better relationships are the key to successful action on climate change. As whole societies, we cannot respond adequately to the enormous challenge the climate change threat poses until we achieve greater internal cohesion, and until we focus less on being wealthier and more on being happier.
He contends that progress toward both goals requires us to build richer, more effective relationships in all areas of our lives.

This is not a case of pie-in-the-sky pontificating. The author outlines a range of practical measures that would allow us to simultaneously work towards these goals while also taking the technical steps necessary to achieve a low-carbon future. They entail moving toward societies in which there is:

  • greater equality
  • stronger communities with more self-reliant local economies
  • more satisfying workplaces, with staff having a greater share in decision-making and ownership
  • more effective efforts to include the currently marginalised as fully participating members of society
  • new approaches to education, town-planning, transport policy and the role of local organisations that enhance community and cooperation.

The proposals are bold, but Robert Salter argues that anything less risks a more-of-the-same response to the massive threat we face.