HOW TO BATTLE CLIMATE CHANGE WITH TECH DISRUPTION— 10 Questions you want answers to.
Last week I held a fireside chat that was live-streamed to thousands of participants at the European tech conference The Hipther Festival XXI”, on how to battle climate change and the tech contribution to the sustainability needed to save our planet. Moderating was a highly engaged and professional young guy with 10 extremely good questions on the subject. The result is in short presented and elaborated on below.
For the sake of simplicity, all 10 questions are listed below, so you can scroll to the one that you are particularly curious about. If you know who I am (or don’t give a damn :D), then you scroll past the first question. If you are knowledgeabel of what sustainability truly means, you also skip the next one. If you are practical and just want to know more concrete what you can do to contribute, then you jump directly to the last question. While if you are interested in more specific issues such as nuclear power, the covid effect or the contribution of developing countries, then scroll to them. Bon appétit.
- Who is Rufus Lidman?
- What is sustainability?
- Is renewable energy the answer?
- Is the resistance to nuclear power still reasonable?
- Should the developing countries bear the responsibility?
- Has covid had any effect on the climate?
- Are you an environmentalist?
- Should the use of fossil fuels immediately stop?
- Are apocalyptic exaggeration of the effect negative?
- What actions can you take as an individual?
1. WHO IS RUFUS LIDMAN?
The first question from the moderator Gáspár was who I am, and “what I do more exactly”? And here we started off with me having a background as researcher with PhD studies of change processes, followed by practical initiatives as digital strategist for hundred companies on 4 continents. But I guess my true self is rather like a serial entrepreneur with half a dozen ventures, 2–3 ok exist, 2 growth awards, site with million visitors, some of the worlds largest apps in their verticals with 15 million downloads etc.
This “true” self became even more true when slowly converting these efforts into social entrepeneurship, where I since my twin boyz where borned 8 years ago founded an NGO for refugee children in the Balkan route all the way to Iraq and Syria.
Since then I have been passionate about using emerging technology (EmTech) for doing good for people and planet. I have in that venue been fortunate enough to acquire a status as social impact influencer, with 50.000 followers in 110 countries, 4 books published, 300 lectures held, and hundreds of articles published, and I guess it’s in that role I was invited to have this chat.
Regarding what I specifically do within this area today, I have two roles. I am on one hand the founder and board member of the Singapore based tech venture developing EmTech for reinventing learning for the needy in emerging markets. Since covid I have been more in Sweden with my family, where I accepted the challenge as chief disruption officer for the countries’ leading petrol company, responsible for data, disruption and sustainability.
A peculiar challenge for a social entrepreneur becoming social “intrapreneur” at the leading gas station company? Perhaps, but if my scientific research showed anything it is that you change systems from the inside, not outside. This company has set its mind to be fossil free within 8 years — and if we, in the homeland of Greta, would succeed in showing the whole world’s 300,000 petrol stations how you could use digital tools and data to exchange fossil revenue to other sustainable revenue, then it in my book would be a disruption nothing less than the Elon Musk level 😉
2. WHAT IS SUSTAINABILITY?
To set the scene, the second question regarded the actual definition of the word “sustainability”. As half Swedish, I was rather proud that the modern history of the sustainability movement all started by the first global UN agreement on sustainable development in the Stockholm declaration 1972, which 15 years later had the definition established in the Brundtland-report, where sustainability was defined: “development that “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”.
As you know this line has long since been crossed. But this is all coming from politicians, and I really don’t see the politicians as the solution here — if they where we wouldn’t see anything of the $420 billion spent on fossil fuel subsidies that keep the climate crisis alive — four times more than is pledged to mitigate the climate crisis for world’s poor. Instead we would have seen elephant-heavy taxation on CO2-emission and kevlar-strong LCA-regulations on all products and services decades ago.
Now, if the politicians in all countries truly would live up to what they promised it is true that we would reach 1,8 degrees, but when looking at the share actually being implemented (laws v/s pledges), despite COP26 and all other political deeds the most trustworthy prediction from CAT last week shows us all today be heading towards 2,4 degrees — i.e. an extremely dangerous scenario that mother earth would not really be able to handle.
But from my perspective the big words from the politicians isn’t what matters the most for mother earth in the end, as the true power in the world today totally has been conquered by the companies, and — as companies are dependent on people — the true power lies in us ordinary people too. And thus it is interesting to also assess the companies’ view on sustainability. And that view is based on adding a third P to the environmentalists People and Planet, i.e. the Profit.
From an idealistic point of view, talking about a devastatingly crucial agenda of how to save mother earth and the future of our children, we might not think it a super “nice” contribution to add “profit” to people and planet.
Still, looking at it from the other more pragmatic side, knowing the corporate world that used to only (!) have profit as its objective (the single boottom line, mer function for shareholders), with Mammon being there a companys’ God, adding people and planet (the triple bottom line, broad function for stakeholders) could never be a bad thing (and, like seen in the video from professor Rockström and Mr Sukhdev, all the SDG17 from the UN can actually be seen as encompassing these three P:s).
Rather, due to the companies’ hegemony on earth today — apart from extreme cases of greenwashing — having companies motivated to decarbonize might perhaps be the most crucial thing we can do for our planet and our children’s future, and then it is not stupid to listen to their definitions either.
3. IS RENEWABLE ENERGY THE ANSWER?
The third question was if renewable energy truly is the key to a climate-smart world. And I would love to answer yes on that question, I think we’ve seen an absolutely amazing development within the growth of cheap solar, wind and even wave power, as well as increasingly efficient solutions for battery storage.
But we’ve also experienced new insights and the spread of agriculture and land management to improve carbon sequestration, DAC (direct air capture), fossil free steel, a technological revolution with even cheaper EV:s with longer ranges, and all other cleantech innovations getting more and more ready for true disruption of these industries.
Some I would put in brackets here, one around biofuel that don’t come with a true LCA-analysis, where we’ve seen examples of deforesting Indonesia for palm oil shipped to Europe for us to get locally good CO2-tracking, something an economist would call a typical sub-optimization, in this case with super bad result for mother earth. Also, CCS and CCU are theoretically amazingly interesting techniquse but empirically not yet solidly tested and requiring huge investments, so also needing more research and testing.
But all these are child diseases and whill all be solved with data, like LCA with cradle to grave data showing true effect of renewable fuels or other cleantech innovations for mother earth.
Still, this is not what makes the most optimistic. For the one who didn’t forget his Adam Smith, all these are effect related to supply, trying to push the market in a certain direction. And personally I believe the most positive trend we’re seeing right now is the demand, the prerequisite for any market disruption whatever area.
And here I think we are experiencing a true tipping point as we speak. It is now nearly a decade since we got 97% of the scientists aligned regarding the global warming and us being the cause of it: “It is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land. Widespread and rapid changes in the atmosphere, ocean, cryosphere and biosphere have occurred”.
Still we have not until recent years seen any true broader awakening. But in the biggest study on climate change this year nearly 2/3 of the global population finally see climate change as a global emergency — i.e., on the demand side we don’t any more only have the early adopters that are demonstrating at the streets, but finally we have the late majority coming in and becoming aware. And that’s (!) when things truly have a chance to actually happen.
But for these two forces, the creativity of the tech community pushing, and the global population awakening pulling, the missing link for true disruption to actually happen is the single biggest leverage of them all, and that is tracking.
What is not measured, does notexist.
So, when this late majority finally steps in, what if everything you did, consumed and bought, was CO2-tracked? And what if we made it the coolest thing on earth to become the climate heroes contributing the most to the wellbeing of mother earth — not as a structurally enforced PCA, but as a parameter everyone want to have as default on Insta, as well as Tinder and Linkedin CV:s?
And what if all this actually would be the single most important factor for us all to succeed in the 7.6% reduction/year needed for the planet to stay at increase from todays’ leve (1,2 degrees) to the 1.5 global warming that is the highest limit without horror consequences for the planet and the people?
3. IS THE RESISTANCE TO NUCLEAR POWER STILL REASONABLE?
The third question was that, given the data on sustainability and lower risk, is resistance to nuclear power still reasonable?
And wow, is this a delicate topic, not seldom infected by emotions, sometimes on both sides. But from a tech point of view I would still call nuclear power a WIP. In Harrisburg they identified the components to be the problem, and then it was fixed. Then in Chernobyl it was instead the human factor that was problem, so it got fixed. Then in Fukushima the earthquake was the problem, and then that got fixed.
Conspiration helping a lot here? All being done un purpose with certain people getting something out of it? Not much. Instead this is all what we in the tech sector would call an agile process with unpredictable events causing unintended consequences.
And Gáspár (or anyone else listening in the same generation), you are probably too young to have heard about Thalidomide? This was the sleeping pill fed to pregnant mothers in 40 countries, leading to 10.000 embryos pathological, with 40% dying and the rest born with limb, eye and heart problems. Was this being done un purpose? Did the conspiration theory help us to any understanding here? No, it was unpredicted events with unintended consequences.
But, still, the point being this: as soon as we play with more complex interventions on mother earth like nuclear power, GMO or genetic engineering etc, I listen less to the formel 1 driver and more to the scientists using precautionary principle so to speak. But this goes for all (!) complex tech playing with fire, and is not a specific nuclear thing.
So still in the choices ahead it is the pragmatism that finds the answer, where we should keep on researching all alternatives, the most risky ones like sandboxed WIP, and not use emotional arguments or conspiration theory of “them” advocating nuclear wanting to earn money or not wanting to change behavior.
Instead, from a pragmatic point of view, everything is relative. Between solar+wind and nuclear power, mother earth would probably not choose nuclear. But if mother earth would have the choice between nuclear and fossil, there is no question about it — Anything else would be like having a heart attack and cut back on meat instead of quitting your drug addiction. QED.
4. SHOULD THE DEVELOPING COUNTRIES BEAR THE RESPONSIBILITY?
Next we came to acknowledgement of sustainability being an expensive endeavour, and the question whether developing countries really should bear the responsibility or that the developed countries should take the lead?
This is of course a very good question, and a hot and crucial topic both from a humanistic, biospheric and economical perspective. But let’s first set the stage her, so to speak, and make clear that the world largest and third largest CO2-emitters/year, China (31%) and India (7%), even though they, together with rich oil countries like Saudi-Arabia, claim to be part of “the liked-minded developing countries, they are in fact no “developing countries” anymore, but NIC:s (newly industrialized countries).
The second biggest CO2-emitter/year, US (14%), is historically the biggest villain, and per capita still is. From an ethical perspective one might then think that if US exploited mother earth for so long, it is nothing but fair that the NIC:s now also should be able do that. That not only could, but would, be a highly justified point — China 35 years ago had 64% of their population living under $1/day, while that same figure today is 10%.
Should the populations of the NIC:s say no thanx to such development, just because the developed countries destroyed mother earth so much, as to not making room for so much more?
Well, first it is regionally not true for any other continent than Africa (who by far contain the majority of the least developed countries) — where you when looking at the cumulative CO2-emssions since 1750 has an equal level between Asia, Americas and Europe. But more importantly, when combining an ethical and pragmatic point of view (what I have called ethical pragmantism) here we first need to understand that the CO2-emission is one thing, the trend is another. While US broke their negative trend forty years ago (-33% CO2/capita since 2000, while still increasing GDP by +24%), and now announced increased targets for even more, China and India have continued to move aggressively upwards (+180%, and +90% only this millennium).
Together these 3 of the worlds’ 195 countries today actually account for more than 50% of all the CO2-emissions in the world (EU only 7%, Africa 4%, rest mostly Asia), and if China + India wouldn’t do like US and stop the increase, all of our worlds’ children would have to try to survive in a world with +2,9 warmer degrees at the end of the centure.
This would be devastating to most of the earth’s ecosystems and the end of human civilization as we know it — the developing countries worst of them all — wars would be started for the Elon tickets to Mars, so to speak :-/
Is it then super smart for NIC:s to use a fixed mindset and look for inspiration how the US did historically, instead of looking ahead to find a new, much better and more resilient way? And, not least, is it “fair” to the other countries who are truly “developing” countries, most of them in africa? Where Chad, Niger and Mali emit 0,1 tons/per capita and year, i.e., and one American girl emits more CO2 in 3 days — and a Chinese guy in 6 days — than a Nigerian do in a full year.
The worst tragedy of rising temperatures is that they will do the most harm to the people who have done the least to cause it (Gates, 2021).
And this gets even more clear when looking at the actual evidence for the potential of a growth mindset, where renewable enegy make up 95% of all energy in california and more than 97% in scotland, regions not known for being bad off economically either. And even looking at countries, some nations like Sweden and Switzerland and some other Europeans, have proven it is possible to have an extremely high welfare (> $ 50K GDP/capita) and still a level of CO2/capita below the world average (<5T/year).
So I dont only share a cautious case of climate optimism, with the tools of the digital economy, the mobile internet increasing dramatically (now also in developing countries, and NIC even more), the first quantum computing in the cloud, and 5G coming around, I promise you we could do even better. I promise you we can do like the Africans did with telecom — leapfrogging the agile detours the western world has taken in the journey, and move to something in the direction of a true sustainable disruption.
So, when eventually the share of tertiary education goes from the 4–7% in China and India to the 40% you have in north America, there will be a massive upgrade on 1 billion people, and you could have the choice of building schools and transport for traveling….. or study remotely.
And when all these smart people start working, you could have the choice of building bigger cities, transport food and consumer goods from the country to the city… or you could work remotely. And when all these people double their salary, the consumption of products and services should be shipped from all over the world…. locally produced or at least shopped remotely and shipped by sustainable droons or eVTOL:s.
That’s when we start seeing the light for mother earth. That’s what I call a true disruption. And that’s (!) what I would call the winners of the 2020:s.
5. HAS COVID HAD ANY EFFECT ON THE CLIMATE?
We now came to another hot topic, i.e. if the pandemic has had an effect on the climate, and if we are now on our way back
First I just give you a hunch of how big my engagement has been in this. I was one of the very first whistleblowers in northern Europe to be publicly involved regarding covid from a data point of view, as early as the 28/2. At that time Sweden had 15 infected and 0 dead, where I wrote 400 posts and thousands ofcomments, as well as moderating the biggest whistle-blowing forum on Facebook.
This was even two weeks before WHO made their classification of covid as a pandemic, the same week the Swedish state epidemiologist was assuring all his citizens it would all have a “moderate” effect, while the American president said it would be “like a flu”.
So, now, when again looking at data I of course do it with the highest of interest. And yes, you are of course right, during covid the CO2-emission decreased with 5,4%, which is better than soviet collapse and financial crisis — in fact it is the greatest decline we’ve had in almost a hundred years, since the Great Depression of the 1930s.
But you are also right that China bounced back as early as 2020, while EU + US now are increasing the CO-emission again by 7,6% 2021, and India with 12,6%.
Still, I think two questions are even more important. The first is that what this has taught us is that it is actually possible to dramatically decrease the CO2-emission — those of us who are optimists might have thought so before, but we had no proof of it before. The second question is at least as important, i.e. that the recipe for being able to achieve all this was social distancing — but what was the tool, what made i all this possible? Yes, the internet.
2030 came 2020. The Wuhan bat dramatically leveraged our ongoing process of moving offline to online, and now not only privately meeting friends, shopping, entertaining, and dating online. Now we took the leapfrog to also professionally engage in remote education and remote work, where we humans as a race are on the verge of becoming the remote species. And the effect of that is nothing but socially disruptive in a way that the world has ever seen. And it was covid that put the last nail in the coffin.
6. ARE YOU AN ENVIRONMENTALIST?
Next question was wether I consider myself an environmentalist. So again, we first of all need some sort of definition. If I was asked if I was a feminist, I would — as a passionate humanist and liberalist — in theory be able to classify mysel as one.
I believe all people have the same value, therefor I believe women are equal to men, colored are equal to the white or whatever — it’s your deeds that tell us who you are, not your sex, skin color, age or sexual orientation so to speak. The liberalism tells me that as long as you don’t hurt other people or the planet, you should be free to do whatever you want. The humanism tells me that if you on top of this do good (!) things to the planet and/or the people, you climb up the ladder even more. All independent on “who” you are. As simple as that. Factum verum.
But on a practical level that one really don’t stick. Cause if being a humanist would automatically entail me being a feminist, why would the latter definition be needed at all? I think, that to get honored with such a fine title some more actions are required — and if I had lived elsewhere than in the world’s most equal country, e.g. Iraqi Kurdistan or any other place where I used to volunteer during the refugee crisis, I would probably have been one of the guys taking such actions — until then I am fairly content to be called a humanist and liberalist.
So coming to the epithet environmentalist I think it is the same way — if it’s about truly understanding in the mind and heart that we as a race have been horrible to Mother Earth and must do everything we can to save her and, thus, us, yes then I could definitely be defined as an environmentalist.
But like in the feminist example we then also have the action part, and there acknowledgint that we have fractions in certain parts of the environmental movements who mean that we in action all should go back to how it was in the pre-industrial time, and try to live more in harmony with nature. I have been told I have some small part of Cherokee in my blood and if I was religious my first choice would probably be to adopt the marvelous mindset of Manitou, and in action I would personally love to live such a life more in symbiosis with nature— in fact more and more going in that direction.
But in practice I am actually not religious and the ethical pragmatist in me tells met that from a society point of view this regressoin movement will not be the viable solution needed to decrease stop climate change and save mother earth.
In this regard technology is the solution, not the problem, just as the internet was the tool that for the first-time in a century reduce CO2-emissions worldwide by more than 5%. A religious hostility to technology perhaps can make some people happy, but from a macro perspective it will not be the remedy for Mother Earth — in theory, yes, in practice no.
So, am I an environmentalist? No, not if it means turning the clock back and regrediate to ancient time, then I would happy to call myself a social entrepreneur. But if it entails a kind of environmentalist who wants to use just about every means available to save Mother Earth and, thus, us humans, yes, then I certainly am ;)
7. SHOULD THE USE OF FOSSIL FUELS IMMEDIATELY STOP?
Next question came was in a similar flavour, and regarded if I, like some of the most radical environmentalists discussed earlier, think that all use of fossil fuels should be stopped immediately.
Here I just have to say, that the condition regarding climate change is so severe, and myself having such a high share of ADHD, so I can clearly sympathize with such a desire.
On the other hand, I can sympathize with the epic visions of communism as well, even though recent decades have proven that the dictatorships of the proletariat seldom or never are being dissolved, where we end up with true dictators instead of a democratic utopia.
So it’s the same here, in theory it’s the only proper thing to stop all fossil fuel yesterday, and from that perspective it’s horrible that it has takne 5 million martyrs during the pandemic to show that it even has the slightest chance of being possible (and even more ignorant that the 10 million people annually (!) dying from air pollution each year, haven’t teached us this necessity earlier).
So that is what my ethics is saying to me, but when combining that with what my pragmatic part of the brain is telling me, then here are realities to be taking into account. Taking EV:s as example we on the supply side have waited for cheap PEV from the industry and have not had enough HPC chargers out, while on the demand side a western car has a lifespan of 18 years and increasing fuel efficiency means that increased price will not be an incentive enough to change the car before lifespan is over.
So: even in the countries with highest PEV-demand (Norway 75%, 44% Sweden — to compare with US/China 2%/5%), due to these realities only 7% of country fleet consist of PHEV.
These are the kind of facts that bounces back at you every time your brain tricks you by making wishful thinkings, instead of looking at evidence of problems and initiate constructive innovation to solve the problem.
And the best is that all these panicked screams about “immediate stops” are not really needed, because following the latter journey will give you enough ammo regarding both the evidence regarding problems and innovations regarding solutions.
In this regard the bad news is that we — just like the Stone Age did not end because we ran out of stones — have 6 times more oil left than Mother Earth can handle, and thus must stop long before it ends. Is this an argument for stopping all fossil instantly? Well, even Elon Musk, the man who was the first really big disruptor to the old oil industry, said he wouldn’t”:
“”If there was a button I could press to stop all hydrocarbon usage today, I would not press it. It would cause civilization to come to a halt. It would be irresponsible to press that button. What does need to happen, if we can, is to accelerate the transition towards renewables”
This Elon said five years ago, and is actually what’s happened since then.
Cause the good news is that the end of the oil is near, where the organization Carbon Tracker — who usually come with rather gloomy reports - earlier this year published rather fantastic numbers regarding the possibilities ahead. More specifically, with current technology and in a subset of available locations we can capture 100 times the global energy demand from solar and wind. And the land required for solar panels alone to provide all global energy is 0.3% of the global land area — less than the current land footprint of fossil fuel infrastructure.
The fossil fuel industry cannot even compete with the technology learning curves of such renewables, so demand will inevitably fall as wind and solar continue to grow. At the current 15–20% growth rates of solar and wind, fossil fuels is estimated to be pushed out of the electricity sector by the mid-2030s and out of total energy supply by 2050.
So, again, on the supply side we are already there, and what must happen on the demand side (and, thus, the corporate side) is that we all individual go down the 7.6% CO-emission/year required to maintain “only” 1.5° increased warming.
How everyone is to succeed in this is probably highly individual, some are among the early adopters of PHEV:s and green house heat and will use this renewable energy we talk about abocve, but others will become vegetarians, installing LED-lights, insulating their homes, changing DT to laptops, stop all charter travel, shopping vintage, recycling and reducing food waste or grasp whatever they think is not only convenient but also climate smart for the planet.
Some of this will be highly good for mother earth, some of it will have marginal effect but altogether add to some major contribution, while other initiatives not will affect nothing but a false greenwashing of your good concience. The solution to all this is again measurement — just as we got all companies to put nutrition declarations on the food packages, so we have to do the with CO2-emissions, with everyone fighting to become not nutrition heroes for the people, but CO-2 heroes for the planet.
Action speaks louder than words. Smart action speaks louder than panicking words.
9. ARE APOCALYPTIC EXAGGERATION OF THE EFFECT NEGATIVE?
Coming to the latter questions, the ninth was if I thought there is an apocalyptic environmentalism that exaggerates the effect and if the effects of that is so negative that one should be careful about it?
And though I would say the answer probably is yes, I would also just have to say it is business as usual — media, politics and other opinion leaders are dramatic, so what. And of course, I understand the risk of backlash with risk of not only diminished credibility for the spokesperson, but also the guilt by association to the actual theme in itself.
And I have as little left over for the in-activists and doomsday prophets who in their narratives dramatically claim that the climate change has already gone so far that it is too late to do anything about it, as I have for the postmodernist populists turning into climate deniers (thank god not as many anymore) who applaud every hint of fake news to be able to sit on their fat asses and continue to do… nothing.
Both such “religions”, wether drama-filled apocalypse or unnaturally durable utopias, are passivating mindsets, which do not lead to any constructive action in the right direction, and that is NOT what the world needs right now.
Still, having said that, from my experience killing the messenger is seldom the most constructive way ahead here, cause at the same time the danger of the climate change is also true.
It’s nearly a decade since 97% of the global scientists agreed that global warming is true, and that we, the human, are guilty of it — with rising sea levels, warming oceans, killed biodiversity and entire ecosystems, in the north floods and freshwater problems, in the south desert and harvest disasters with refugee waves to the north.
If people get afraid when they here this, not least children, and use strong words, it should probably be seen more a sign of engagement than anything else. Together with the creativity of the cleantech community, it’s exactly this engagement that is the main thing — perhaps the only thing — that makes me optimistic that we actually will stop climate change before it gets too late — and thus nothing I would like to neglect or mock in any way.
This is even more so, when a big share of these are young people, where 3/4 of all youngsters 16–25 in the world think climate change is becoming so dangerous that they have anxiety and no hope for the future, while 1/2 so much that they don’t even want to have children.
Then we can two things: either we choose to a) “tone down” the communication, or b) “tone up” the actions, I personally know which one I prefer :/
I think a more important question is who it is that should tone up this action? Well, politicians are usually last in line, while companies are the innovation drivers — which is good because companies listen to you 100% of your wake time, while politicians only listen to you 0,1% (1 day/4 years).
So, who should act? Yes, exactly, you (!) should act.
Because the day you stop buying or using a product for service because of too high CO2-emission, that is same day the company will stop delivering that product. The day you stop buying something from a certain brand because they have too high CO2-emissions, is the day that company will make dramatic efforts to reduce or even eliminate such emissions.
And that you can take to the bank.
The crux is that you don’t know which services and products have the highest CO2-emissions, and you do not know which brands are worse climate villains than others. With the ongoing era of digital innovation and data disruption in this world, in combination with the above “engagement” from the market, I would be very surprised — even ashamed — if we didn’t succeed in developing the data tools for exactly that.
And there you have what really would be the key to getting people to not only open their eyes, but actually act. In order to get the companies to act. And that’s when the ball really gets rolling.
And in the right direction this time.
10. WHAT ACTIONS CAN YOU TAKE AS AN INDIVIDUAL?
Finally reaching the climax with a tenth question that is perhaps the most constructive of them all, i.e. what you as an individual can do to take your share of battling climate change och become a sustainability star. My answer is very straight forward, whoever is asking:
You should start acting!
And when I say acting, I don’t mean in the same as we did yesterday, when the only “deed” we did was when voting 1 day every 4 years and then passively sit and “hope” the politicians would do their job.
Action is what define you as a person. It’s not your sex, your color, the size of your wallet. It’s not even your values, attitudes or your “wishful thinkings” of someone else to do the job. What defines who you are, is simply your actions.
So, for me it’s all about looking yourself in the mirror every evening, and look back on your actions during the day to see if there’s a good or bad guy/girl in that mirror? Perhaps you have reduced your fossil-based transport, eaten less rice, sugar and meat and more of the locally produced food? Good so, but perhaps you took the more concrete step during the day and became interested in what product and brands generated more CO2 than others? And if you are among those with some capital saved, that knowledge of green and brown products and brands might not only have become reflected in your consumption but also in your investments?
And if you’re happy with the guy or gal you see in the mirror, you might even have started boycotting services/product from countries like China and India with the highest COe2-emissions and trends ahead (incl. other trenders like Iran and Saudi-Arabia etc.). Perhaps you even did the same with a USA who has the highest per capita emission and — though actually having a downward trend — not yet sloping that trend fast enough?
And vice versa, the day you really felt good about that guy in the mirror, was perhaps when you started favuring the only countries that so far legislated zero emission (Sweden, Denmark, France, UK, Germany, Spain, Hungary, Romania, New Zealand, South Korea, Japan, Canada) or actually already succeeded in getting there (Guyana, Liberia, Madagascar, Bhutan, Cambodia and Benin)?
During such a good guy day you might actually have started question that urge to buy that particular Huawei or Lenovo just because it was a hundred bucks cheaper, if you can get a supergood Samsung and a Vaio that are awesome. You might have started disputing your own need to shop at Alibaba, when there is Zalando.
Perhaps you let go of your own or your kids gaming of Clash of Clans and League of legends, when there is Grand Order, Pokémon go, and Monster Strike. And you might even have started reflecting about the necessity to buy an EV from MG, Geely or Jaguar (no, they’re not from UK) even if you thought the advertising was stunning — if you know you can get a top notch EV from Mercedes, Peugeot, Kia or Toyota for roughly the same price.
And voila, there you are with something that will make not only companies both listen and act, but finally even politicians in the end. And yourself, to be able to look at yourself in that mirror each night and actually like what you see, perhaps even be proud of what you see. While you on the deathbed will be able to take that last sigh with the knowledge that this world actually became a little, a little better with you than without you ;-) Keep it up ❤
Rufus Lidman, Fil. Lic.
Lidman is a renowned digital innovator and data disruptor, social entrepreneur and top tech influencer with 50,000 followers. With dual degrees, PhD-studies complemented with data science as platform, he has been founder of IAB, digital advisor for WFA, recognized speaker with over 300 lectures, and has had assignments within digital strategy and innovation for over 100 companies such as Samsung, IKEA, Mercedes, Electrolux, PwC etc. As a digital entrepreneur he has run half a dozen ventures with 2–3 ok exits, incl. sites with millions of visits and some of the world’s largest apps in its areas with over 15 million downloads. As his latest ventures he co-founded the leading talent acquisition company for digital talents in Sweden, Digitalenta, and founded AIAR EdTech PTE Ltd in Singapore, using leading technology to reinvent learning for needy in emerging markets. To that he adds 4 published books and the world’s largest learning app in digital strategy loved by 200.000 people in 165 countries.