Monday, December 13, 2010

Green vs Grey

"Grown-ups never understand anything for themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them." - I came across this quote from Antoine de Saint-Exupery in Paulo Coelho's blog. It is true that children most times just cut through the layers of complication to show something simple, while grown-ups make things more complex than it needs to be. The latest example is climate change with the Kyoto protocol, the failed Copenhagen meeting and now with the Cancun summit. What is it actually about?

What is climate change actually about? Emission cuts? Deforestation? Redistribution of wealth and resources? From purely a newspaper and internet based ringside view, my sense is that it is about more than just climate change. It is economics. It is politics. It is about poverty. It is about wealth. It is about growth. It is about large corporations. It is about hungry farmers. It is about 195 countries with different compulsions and different opinions. It is negotiation. And is that what it should be? Should it not be simpler than that? Slow action on climate change would mean no economics, no politics, no wealth.... forget redistribution of that wealth. Slow action on climate change would mean slow death for a majority of the world's resources and countries. So, should we not cut through to the simple uncomplicated version. Look at climate change as just that. Look at climate change as preserving our green beautiful earth. Preserving it for our children.

I contrast the confusing signals from the Cancun summit to the relatively single-minded approach of a few girls who live in our neighborhood. These girls, my daughter included, have one simple agenda - to spread awareness about water conservation and a green environment. Their approach is pretty straightforward and they call themselves "green vs grey". If the world does not stay green, we have a grey future. So goes the logic. It can't get simpler than that. These little girls get it. But our grown-up climate change negotiators at Cancun? 

P.S: I saw this really powerful talk on by Bill Ury. It talks about the third side in negotiations. Today's discussions on climate change are about contributions from developed, fast developing and poor countries. It is about who does how much and the focus shifts away from the actual peril at hand. At a time when it is a conflict between two sides, we should remind ourselves of the third side - our children and the future of this planet. Is that future green or does it remain grey? It is the big fight - Green vs Grey.

William Ury: The walk from "no" to "yes" | Video on

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