Forty years ago, I was one of a group of futurists who tried to alert the business community about changes that were coming to the workplace. We warned about how automation, robotics, etc., would drastically change the world of work, threaten their companies’ survival and worker’s jobs. We spoke a lot about factory relocation and job migration.
I eventually abandoned the effort because in spite of our endeavors, no one really wanted to hear us. Workers weren’t open to changing and business were blinded by their commitment – financial and psychological – to what they had been doing successfully for years. It amazed me how resistant business leaders and individual workers could be to accepting change that, from my point of view, was just over the horizon. Organizational change, it seems, rarely comes through transformation but rather by the old dinosaurs dying off and being replaced by the outsiders with new ideas.
In just the last few years corporate giants like Eastman Kodak – the dominant force in the photo business and actually the inventor of digital photography – is today only a shadow of its former self! IBM ruled the world of business computers and the IBM Selectric was the dominant typewriter of the business world. Microsoft and Dell used to control the personal computer business. Blockbuster dominated home entertainment and you probably grew up riding a Schwinn bicycle. Lehman Brothers was the fourth largest investment bank in the country and remember Reader’s Digest? You’ll probably remember some of these names too: Xerox, Nokia, Polaroid, Circuit City, Compaq, Hummer, Sears, Sony, Toys-R-Us and Yahoo, to name just a very, very few.
The organizations I write about had been doing a good job for years but their commitment to their kind of success was about to obsolete them! They were so wedded to what they had been doing that they were unable to adapt to the changes swirling about their respective industries. To be fair, they had huge financial investments in the old technologies and in many cases the new ideas seemed like clumsy and unworkable pipe dreams, but it’s not that they didn’t have warning! Futurists and other consultants had been telling them, warning them (and their unions), about what was going to happen, and they couldn’t, wouldn’t, hear it. The power of rationalization is so strong that these organizations were brought to their knees because their leaders could not, would not, accept the changes that others could see.
And corporate people are not the only ones who are reluctant to make changes. Today we face an enormous challenge regarding global warming, and we need to make some changes in the way we live! And again, although there are all kinds of red flags and warnings around us, no one it seems, really wants to acknowledge what is happening! We’re already being clobbered by increasingly severe storms and heat waves, farmers are suffering terribly, the oceans are dying, the poles and glaciers are melting which will dispossess as many as a billion people living at sea level, causing a human tidal wave that will affect the entire planet! Species extinction is occurring at an unprecedented pace, deforestation is occurring at a terrible rate and it feels like, before the public and the politicians wake up to the danger, it will be way too late!
We are into a Presidential election cycle, and even while confronted with the most dire predictions by climate scientists, few politicians have been willing to acknowledge or accept the inevitability that will soon confront us all. They fuss about term limits while the very building they debate in is about to be swamped by rising sea levels! Our shortsightedness is going to cost us and our children very dearly.
Regarding industry itself, the makers of plastics don’t want to deal with recycling, the petroleum and coal industries have huge investments to protect, the fossil fuel industry isn’t likely to just give up fracking, which is poisoning our drinking water. Public transit, at least in the U.S., is a joke, fishermen rape the oceans and ignore whaling treaties, our food supply is poisoned with pesticides, herbicides, processed “food” and GMO’s. We threaten our future by killing the bees with pesticides and herbicides, Trump sells plastic straws for $15.00 . . . . and conservatives in Congress ridicule the Green New Deal.
Where will it end? Do we care enough to turn things around before it is too late? Or, is it already too late? I wonder – Is this how it felt before the great flood of Noah?
There are some things you can do:
- Eat less meat. We eat way too much meat anyway. Meat production is a huge consumer of green resources and a significant contributor to global warming.
- Put up a laundry line – clothes dryers consume a great deal of energy.
- Switch to biodegradable laundry detergent. It is sooo much better for the planet. You can make your own too and it’s much cheaper! (recipe below).
- Shop at your local farmer’s market. It is healthier, reduces your carbon footprint and keeps your money local.
- Put solar panels on your house. You’ll save money today and in the future. Trump’s resistance to green energy will soon come to an end.
- Convert some of your lawn into a vegetable garden. Unfortunately the vegetables you buy at the store have little nutritional value. Having a garden reduces your carbon footprint dramatically and is much healthier for your family! It may seem like a lot of work, but the benefits are manyfold, especially in an uncertain future!
- Support political candidates who are committed to doing something about global warming!
For other ideas, suggestions, recipes, etc. see: http://www.rossbishop.com/what-you-can-do-about-global-warming/
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