Two Big Problems With How We Work on Global Warming, and Solutions

Most people I talk to about polluting less feels everyone should, except them, usually for self-serving reasons.

I recommend Before the Flood, a documentary on global warming by Leonardo Di Caprio, Martin Scorcese, and others, including music by Trent Reznor. It’s free on YouTube.

Two big problems:

Joshua Spodek’s (PhD MBA) book, Leadership Step by Step, launches in February. He is an adjunct professor and coach of leadership and entrepreneurship at NYU and Columbia. His courses are available online at SpodekAcademy.com and he blogs daily at JoshuaSpodek.com.

Problem #1: the people who know what’s happening — the scientists — are unskilled at influencing others and the people skilled at influencing others, like Di Caprio, don’t have credibility as actors and celebrities. The result is that the most influential people come from neither group, but from groups with personal interests, like the Koch brothers and Donald Trump. Sadly, they are the main leaders in the field.

As a result, as sea levels rise to submerge homes of billions of people, scientists are reducing the error bars on their measurements and predictions.

I like small error bars, but I prefer a more livable planet.

Problem #2: everyone believes that, while everyone needs to change their behavior overall, his or her work is important enough to justify his or her pollution. Watch how much Di Caprio flies in planes and helicopters, as do all his colleagues.

Most people I talk to about polluting less feels everyone should, except them, usually for self-serving reasons.

In other words, everyone cares about the environment until they want to see the Eiffel Tower. In the movie’s case, Di Caprio’s “Eiffel Tower” is his use of fossil fuels to show how we’ve burned too much fossil fuel.

Two big solutions

Solution to problem #1: one big solution to the first problem is to teach leadership and entrepreneurship skills to scientists so that they can influence others with what they know, not hide behind a premise of just reporting data.

Solution to problem #2: people have to choose to use far less fossil fuels, even when they think using them would help, then to learn and share that they aren’t depriving themselves of something they want, but enjoying other things. At least that’s how it’s worked for me. I don’t miss flying because I’m not sitting here lamenting not flying. I’m enjoying where I live. My experience consuming less has added to my life.

I hope we stop conflating consuming material things with happiness and emotional reward. I’ve found consuming and owning less improves my happiness and emotional reward

I call the solution to problem #1 taking responsibility and the solution to problem #2 living with integrity.

Sign up for Josh Spodek’s mailing list.

Originally published at medium.com

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...


To Build a Fantastic Work Culture, “Realize that we need to understand and consider the human factor,” With Michelle Sherman

by Carly Martinetti

“Our Home is on Fire”

by Christina Pacella

Lessons In Leadership: One On One With Lieutenant General Jeff Buchanan

by Adam Mendler

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.


We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.