The day after Hurricane Sandy ravaged our coast, I was on Email with my systems thinking buddies with our age old lament. Why are none of our leaders connecting the dots? Why are people still seeing these merciless weather extremes as isolated events? When will it be “safe” for two presidential candidates to even name the issue in their debates? What will it take for Americans to wake up to the deeper patterns of climate disruption?
Enter New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, my new systems hero. He connected not one, not two, not three, but four “dots” in the system!! 1) Hurricane Sandy --> 2) Pattern of Extreme Weather Events --> 3) Climate Change --> 4) Need for strong leadership, getting out of denial and taking action. (Thus his endorsement for President Obama’s re-election.)
Linda Booth Sweeney, systems expert extraordinaire coined a term I love, “Connect the Dots, Change the Game.” By that count, Mayor Bloomberg is a big-time game changer. Perhaps inspiring his fellow New Yorker Governor Andrew Cuomo who then said, “Climate change is reality. Given the frequency of these extreme weather situations that we’ve had — and I believe that it’s an increasing frequency — for us to sit here today and say this is a once-in-a-generation and it’s not going to happen again, I think would be shortsighted.” Yesterday he asked the Feds for $30 billion in storm relief citing $50 billion in damages in New York region alone. If we think addressing Climate Change is going to be expensive, look at the alternative!
Well now my formerly lamenting systems friends and me are dancing on the tables. Finally we have influential leaders naming Climate Change as real and demanding immediate action. Maybe Cuomo, Bloomberg and Sandy gave Obama the courage during his election speech to say, “We want our children to live in an America that isn’t burdened by debt, that isn’t weakened up by inequality, that isn’t threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet.” Wow. Climate Change is real.
Now just 7 days after the election, still in the euphoria of new hope and possibility, let’s get to work doing something about it.