There is an existential crisis to mankind taking place. This crisis, created by our society, is climate change. The scientific community overwhelmingly has come to a consensus that this crisis is real. Sadly, there are very few elites, politicians, and businessmen that refuse to accept this consensus. Unfortunately, these few people are the ones that control the actions that could be taken by our governments to combat climate change. Nonetheless, it is evident that steps must be implemented quickly and properly in order to curb any further damage to the global situation.
In order to do that, we must begin to shift the way we think about our global system and think on a new level outside of the Neo-liberal paradigm.
The Neo-liberal paradigm is the worldview that suggests society utilizes globalization and technology to progress our economy as well as society. This progression can come in forms of economic success such as trading coalitions, agreements, etc. as well as new ways that bring society closer together; the biggest example being the continued progress of the Internet and the millions of networks connect through it.
On the surface, the Neo-liberal paradigm appears to benefit everyone. It allows businesses to become successful by targeting customers across the world. It brings technology that can save lives to areas that had zero access before hand. It has the ability to raise many out of poverty through widespread access to education and employment. Yes, all of these things become possible through this worldview, but the question that begins to come up is, how equal is everyone through this system? Should we expect people to take advantage of others? Is exploitation a natural human action?
The problem is that far too many people receive zero benefits, or even receive negative impacts from the Neo-liberal paradigm. Chemicals are being release into the air, water, as well as food from factories in the third world country that make cell phones for our society. War is being waged in the Middle East over oil, destroying homes and taking lives. Environments are being destroyed, animals left without homes across the world so that our society can harvest resources and sell products at the cheapest price possible. People throughout the world are left poor, with no money for food or clothes, in war torn cities without homes, in refugee camps in foreign countries. They do not get the chance to go out and by a cell phone. They cannot access the Internet and receive a college degree. The Neo-liberal paradigm, from their perspective, does not exist. We need to change the system and create a new paradigm that does exist for them. We need to change the world.
We need to fix the way we see the problem, and the issue is, we do not see a problem. We buy an IPhone, a computer, clothes, food, etc. and consume it. Then, a week, a few months, maybe even a year or two later we buy more. We do not see that when we buy that phone, we may have just killed a child who drank water from a river downstream from a factory that made your phone. Our awareness and responsibility is being offshored. Even when we realize that we may be contributing to a problem, we feel that we can push that awareness and responsibility towards the company, the government, etc. We need to stop benefiting from our unawareness.
In order to change the Neo-liberal paradigm, we must refocus on what we want society to be. Well, what is society in the first place? Society is made up of individuals. As individuals, we collectively bring ideas and cultures together. These ideas and cultures then form how we think as a system. In order to change the system, we must view it as a grassroots issue. Sustainability and self-awareness cannot be forced upon society like a blanket. Each individual is different. We view issues differently; we have different life stories, life goals, and different interests. The individual must be taught how to bring sustainable values and self-awareness into their own life, however they may feel it fits. Learning values is different than being taught values. A person that can learn values through applying principles to their own life is far better off and more likely to continue to grow than being taught forcefully by an authoritative blanket. The key to success is changing how individuals think over time, eventually changing an entire society. As individuals develop their interpretation of sustainability, they will become self-aware and responsible within their society. They will be able to understand each other's view, the same way that they developed their own views. Once society has changed the way it sees the problems, it can collectively act to fix that problem.
The remedy to the Neo-liberal paradigm will not be as simple as changing system thinking. Creating a new system of thinking will be medication, but damage has already been done. It will take time, innovation of technology, as well as a global coalition to fix our issues.
Technology can be a major tool to fixing our world, but we can only progress as technology progresses. For example, Natural gas and Coal-fired energy will continue to be the most efficient energy until technology allows society to deviate from that path. Yes, they are the least clean energy sources available. However, our economy is too fragile and too reliant on the non-renewable industries that more damage would come to society if we nergy industry off of them. This means that technology will be needed to guide the path to a healthier future. We must focus our new systems thinking of sustainability and awareness to create a cleaner, reliable, efficient energy source. Technology will give mankind the capability to fix our problems; it is simply a matter of time and knowledge.
Lastly, a global coalition is needed to bring economic as well as social relief to developing countries throughout the world. We ca if we lay out a template to societies, that they will be able conform and adjust. There are many economic and cultural obstacles that can prevent societies from becoming sustainable. A global coalition of economic powers must unite. This coalition will allow developing countries to catch up economically and socially by providing relief program packages, investing in improved infrastructure in developing countries, medicinal innovation, investing in education and knowledge and so much more. There will be undoubtedly be major obstacles to overcome such as cultural differences and conflict; however, a global coalition of peace, relief, and change can create a sustainable future.
Mankind is facing an unprecedented crisis. Climate change, inequality, and exploitation have led to a run-away Neo-liberal societ change seems, we are not incapable. Mankind has proven that we can change for better. By changing system thinking to sustainable values and self-awareness, society can implement action to fixing our issues. Technology and diplomacy will be key to finding our new paths. Technology will allow society to progress in finding new ways to address our problems. Diplomacy will create a global coalition to focus economic and social relief to areas in need. Together we can change the world.