Introduction and rationale [chapter]

Springer Praxis Books  
This book is about how we can take responsibility for the world we are creating by paying much more attention to how we think and act. If we look around us, it is easy to see that we are not making a very good job of it at the moment. When atomic bombs were invented, human beings, for the first time, had to face the prospect of producing the circumstances for their own destruction. So far we have survived the atomic threat! Now we have human-induced climate change with chal lenges that, for
more » ... enges that, for many, are still beyond imagination. In the face of such complexity and uncertainty many will be tempted to give up or to feel that nothing can be done. I admit to not being overly optimistic myself. I certainly do not have a magic wand to wave. What I do have, however, is a strong conviction that thinking and acting differently will have to be at the core of our strategies of action. The acceptance that humans are changing the climate of the earth is the most compelling, amongst a long litany of reasons, as to why we have to change our ways of thinking and acting. 1 Few now question that we have to be capable of adapting quickly as new and uncertain circumstances emerge and that this capability will need to exist at the personal, group, community, regional, national and interna tional levels all at the same time. The phenomenon of human-induced climate change is new to human history and it is accompanied by 'peak oil', rising population and consumerism, changing demographics and over exploitation of the natural world. In the face of such complexity and uncertainty it is tempting to say it is all too hard! It certainly won't be easy. At this important historical moment what can we learn from our past? When we look around us what different ways of thinking and acting could be helpful? This book argues that development of our capabilities to think and act systemically is an 1 I will make the case as the book develops that changing our thinking and acting is not just what we as individuals need to do -it is also what our ancestors have done which shape our current institutions and thus so much of what we take for granted in going about our daily lives. R. Ison, Systems Practice: How to Act in a Climate-Change World,
doi:10.1007/978-3-540-29828-1_1 fatcat:jlhhbr6djrfgnbvrbrnpbkvj2u