THE CHINESE WORD FOR CRISIS – OPPORTUNITY OUT OF ADVERSITY

The extraordinary situation now in the UK and EU  makes clear the critical need for ‘systems thinking’ and our need to create opportunity out of adversity. We stand at the gates of a low carbon future but do not have the key to unlock them, critical thinking skills. We have not educated ourselves to understand that  our ‘quality of life’ depends on the quality of the goods and services we produce and consume, and the ‘loss to society’ created in the process.

We fail to comprehend that the One Planet Equation governs and overshadows our future possibilities, ultimately fixing the ratio of our consumption and its ‘resource intensity’ Frozen in the headlights of financial disaster, we are sleep-walking into the most massive ‘external failure’ of quality we will have experienced, our failure to ‘keep ahead of the oil curve’ and the resulting symptom of burning fossil fuels, Climate Change.

The possibility of satisfying the One Planet Equation at levels of consumption the developed western economies currently enjoy is remote. Our only course of action is to identify those goods and services not ‘essential’ to our quality of life and reduce their ‘resource intensity to zero i.e. eliminate them; then work to continually reduce the resource intensity of those that remain, in conventional terms ‘improve their ‘quality’.  From a system perspective, quality is that which ‘maximises the ‘value to society’ resulting from the creation, use and disposal of products and services’, whilst working to continually reduce the ‘loss to society’ they create.’

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