How many times have you witnessed your workplace changing? A few days ago I sat and participated in a workshop on change management. The very words ‘change management’ evoke all sorts of cynicism in me. I’ve seen my fair share of departmental re-structures in both the private and public sector. ‘Change management. What feeling do those words evoke?’ the consultant asks. ‘Sham’ is usually my first unconscious first reaction. However change management is more about trying to help people come together, and sort things out in a way everyone wants to. If only they told you that in the first place.
As I sat there, it dawned on me that maybe society needs some help with Climate Change. Maybe society needs a little bit of Change Management.
Prosci came up with a change management model called ADKAR. They call it a model, but some may call it common sense, a Tao or even a bit of advice.
Apparently these five steps enable you to recognise what you need to do in life, to survive change (or at least make yourself feel better about it).
1. Awareness – ‘For things to make sense, you’ve got to know why change is needed.‘
- Famine, mass immigration, food crashes, economic risk, disease caused by climate change. If you think Climate Change is a left-wing conspiracy, then you really haven’t read enough. I’m not being nasty, it’s just simply the way it is.
2. Desire – ‘You must have the desire to support and participate in change‘
- As James Lovelock said in The Guardian(1) ‘Humanity is in a period exactly like 1938-9, when “we all knew something terrible was going to happen, but didn’t know what to do about it”. But once the Second World War was under way, “everyone got excited, they loved the things they could do… they had a sense of purpose – that’s what people want.” At the moment people are in denial, because they can’t relate to catastrophic climate change on a personal level. They won’t make environmental improvements until the waves are at the doorstep.
3. Knowledge – ‘Once the need for change is realised, you wonder how to change, and minimise the impact on your own life’
- GreenGirlsGlobal, GreenGuysGlobal, and all those leading the environmental on-line ‘ecolution’ can help increase your knowledge. Information about making environmental improvements has never been so widely available.
4. Ability – ‘You need the ability to implement new skills and behaviours. Can you rise to the challenge? ‘
- Recycling, growing, building, helping, engineering, discovering, complaining, campaigning. There’s something for everyone
5. Reinforcement – ‘Making change, making history. It can only happen with reinforcement‘
Once you’ve cracked all the previous points, change large enough to save the world can only happen, if you help others through the process. Don’t forget, not everyone surfs the Internet.
We are headed towards a 2-degree rise in global temperatures. IPCC scientists have told us that this is the limit of safety (2). For those of you that think this will make the summers nicer, think again. Reports from the Center for a New American Security (3) and the OECD (4) have climate change could induce: mass immigration, crop failures, disease, economic crises and international security issues. It’s not just about the sea level.
Kevin Watkins UN Development Report recently said that it require take rich countries to make a 80% reduction in Carbon Dioxide for there to be a fifty-fifty chance of the temperature not rising by 2 degrees (5).
We cannot give up on humanity now. For all the bad things in this world there are at least twice as many good things. The challenges we face together as a species are not insurmountable. We owe it to those generations that have given us our freedom, we owe it to future generations across the world.
Climate change isn’t a war, a great fire or a pandemic. But like all those challenges it requires commitment, strength, creativity and all the technological ingenuity that humanity can muster. In the words of Nelson Mandela. ‘Sometimes it falls upon a generation to be great. You can be that great generation.’
(1) ‘Enjoy Life while you can’, The Guardian, 1 March 2008
(2) ‘Too late to avoid climate change’, The Independent, 19 September 2007
(3) The Age of Consequences : The Foreign Policy and National Security Implications of Global Climate Change, The Center for a New American Security
(4) OECD 2008, Environmental Outlook
(5) UNDP, ‘UN Focuses carbon burden’