Best of Earth911 Podcast: Author Justin Bean on What Could Go Right To Accelerate Climate Progress
How we think and feel about the climate response, whether optimistic, pessimistic, cynical, or pragmatic, shapes our perceptions of possible solutions. Too often, we argue over emotional perceptions and not hard climate data. But hard data is sterile, it doesn’t necessarily engage the passions that move us to act. So, we tell stories, often focusing on what can go wrong. Author Justin Bean wrote “What Could Go Right” to counter the “doom and gloom” media coverage that makes every day feel like a climate failure. We need to be honest and pragmatic, he argues, to face the climate crisis and invest in useful solutions, many of which already exist. For example, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things can be combined to help track and eliminate waste. He believes society will move from today’s complicated poly-crisis, when so many human systems are failing, to an “omni-thriving world” in which new jobs and business opportunities can deliver a just and prosperous future.
Justin is a longtime Silicon Valley executive and advisor to sustainability startups who currently works as Sustainability Strategy and Solution lead at Hitachi’s Environmental Business group. Following other optimists, such as the late Hans Rosling and Buckminster Fuller, he writes that social and technical progress has prepared society for a rapid transition to low-carbon living. The distributed, democratically governed future is possible, though we face aggressive alternative forms of government, like China. But we’ve always confronted those challenges and humanity is still here, and democracy is holding on. We all have choices to make, and understanding our options is the first step toward a better future. As Justin says, a lot could go right.
This podcast originally aired on February 3, 2023.