Climate Change - a systemic problem

(translated with the help of deepl)

The easiest way to say "system" is: relations.

It means that something works together as a whole. If we change one point, this has an effect on others, and the more complex the system, the more unpredictable these effects become, until we arrive at complex autopoietic (self-referential, self-sustaining, self-creating) systems, which are no longer punctually, only generally predictable, and in which even the smallest changes can have great effects.

"Complex" means that we cannot combine all the elements of a matter with all the others at the same time. This in turn is ultimately a consequence of our own complexity (limited view, our model construction, our worldview and ideology, our knowledge, our emotional abilities, our communicative competence and many other factors).

The two following pictures show two FORMs of decision systems (such as human cognition and communication) that are still quite close to each other, run as artificially emulated systems and, as can be seen clearly, ex-differentiate very differently. (More on this topic on and in my system time blog:

Detail SelFi "Slit":

Detail SelFi "CoOneAnother":

The physical causes of climate change may still be relatively manageable, but the social (and thus the economic, the communicative, the human, the emotional, the political, the international ...) are not.

Politicians in modern democracies do not have as much room for manoeuvre as many think - hence the discrepancy between election promises and political reality.

You can't just communicate with large corporations. International trade agreements and market competition complexate and complicate the possibilities and consequences of talks, agreements and negotiations.

The communicative giant waves in reality emulation slow down our efficiency of action once again - and in many cases they have a significantly restrictive effect on the individual's ability to think ...

The example of Kevin Kühnert ((a German left wing politician) with his proposals to collectivise BMW, for example) has impressively shown in recent days how complex, sometimes extreme and resource- and time-intensive even small proposals can be, what enormous energies they can devour - even if many will think that their own attitude to this is very simple.

Yes, seen on a simple, direct level, the causers of climate change are easy to locate. When it comes to handcuffing them, however, many have very good, very simple proposals, but they don't come without consequences for society as a whole and these consequences could even be worse than what we can already reasonably foresee.

This is where our mindset comes into play, our tendency to switch from the factual to the relational level where we, for example, no longer talk about climate and consequences and what we can do to work efficiently, but instead about Greta Thunberg being young or that she does not has to defend herself as an autistic or whatever else we can think of to structure our time in symmetrical conflicts instead of acting directly and constructively.

Well-intentioned as it may be, if we don't make it clear what we are dealing with as a whole, the best intentions can lead not only to nothing moving, but to everything getting worse. The last forty years have already shown that. There has always been talk about the climate problem, changes have been initiated, but in the end this talk has not changed the measurement results. It has made the situation even worse and has itself produced climate problems (the people who talked about it have flown with jets around the world, telephone lines, electricity has been used and so on). Society has managed to make the problematization of climate change itself a negative impact in terms of climate change.

The impression may arise that I am trying to relativize that and how the big ones can be addressed in their responsibility. But the problem is: If we don't know how to address the big ones, the corporations, the supposedly powerful people, then we won't reach them either.

We have an idea of them, but when we try to address them:
There is nothing. We first have to find someone to listen. BMW has no ears.

The same goes for the persons. Persons are society's attempt to summarise social phenomena in order to refer in this way to specific parts of their environment, such as individual psyches. But this is only the attempt of society. There is no certainty that psyches will react to this. Are we actually addressing the environment of society? That is what we need to think about - and how we can do that.

By simply screaming into the woods we will most likely make the situation even worse.

We might think we're screaming so loud that something has to stop, but nothing changes. Even more, our screaming not only wastes valuable time and energy, it also earns us money. After all, the screaming has to be transported, and it can be used to create and sell products that give us good feelings as the climate continues to go downhill. Nor does the media need to care that what they pick up is functional to the problem. The main thing that matters there is that readers, listeners and viewers are interested in it so that it is carried further in the communicative giant waves.

We can create big statements for which we scream for weeks or even longer. Countries can declare climate emergency - and again we can feel good because we think we have achieved something, while at the same time the CO2 index worldwide continues to rise. Even more, our screaming can cause some of our big companies (that currently carry our prosperity to a significant extent) to take heavy losses because markets nowadays price in crises and our certainty that we have to change something could create global feelings of insecurity towards our companies.

Protest is immensely important, and what I am saying here does not mean that protest is useless, but we need to know what we are doing. Protest must be organised and concrete directions developed. Here we cannot think only in phalanxes, but must proceed with different approaches with different gripping arms. With only one strategic thrust we will not achieve much in such a complex and immunized system.

"It's complex" doesn't mean that we can't do anything, but if we don't realize that and how our self consciousness, our political view, the way we handle political problems, are part of the problem: If we prefer relationship games to factual information and waste a lot of energy and time, not only won't we be able to solve the problems, it's even likely that in our efforts to reduce our CO2 emissions we'll drift even faster towards point of no return.

It is our society and our talk as a whole that has an impact on nature.

All this does not mean that we are toothless. We can do a lot. For example, each individual can begin to consistently refuse all distracting discussions at the relationship level and act accordingly consistently in daily life. No defense of Greta, no discussions with climate deniers, no automatic participation within the communicative giant waves, but conscious thinking and reflecting, controlled participation in meaningful conversations that can have a constructive effect and starting with local and network initiatives that trigger changes.

Here consumer power becomes clear, here also becomes clear how important it is to go to vote and to give its voice to parties that want to position themselves efficiently.

Just as important as putting handcuffs on global criminal corporations are many small contributions to changing the mindset, not only so that we fly less, drive less by car, use more buses and trains and bicycles, and switch to solar where we can and buy locally and organically, but also so that we can make a difference: We have to learn to think and communicate constructively differently. And: We must be smart and know where we want to direct our energy.

If the protest is not sharp enough even for yourself, then our market economy will market the protest!

This has always happened in the last forty years. This marketing produces CO2 and environmental toxins, organic products that are not what they say they are and that pollute the environment - just as vegan products, whose production eats ten to one hundred times the amount of resources of non-vegan products, are harmful to the environment. Fashion vegetarians and fashion vegans are environmental sinners.

Climate change is a market opportunity for good, but also for evil.

Resource scarcity is a huge market. The scarcer fish become, the more expensive they become, until individual animals with values in the millions can be traded. Factory fishermen will not stop gutting the seas just because we tell them this is not a good idea. This also applies to all the billions of people who depend on fish as a source of food.

This means that climate degradation has become a lucrative product.

We can protest loudly and still waste our time, or we can help to ensure that the world's oceans belong to the world community, so that fish in international waters are protected by us all.

The Arctic ice meltdown is now being calculated in in the sense that countries like Canada, Norway, Denmark, Russia, the US and China are thinking territorially about how they can use the emerging transport routes and resources and how they can prevent others from getting there and taking advantage of them. This business has already begun.

The people who publicly deny climate change are already using climate change as a market economy. In other words, they are at least considering climate change, but are opposed to mentioning it - that's how perverse our society is now.

Protest is an important thing, but if the protest doesn't go in the right direction or even has the wrong thrust, it can blow out or become part of the problem and exacerbate it. That does not mean now that one should have therefore fear of protesting, one just should make oneself conscious of it.

Then you should realize that protest is not something people want to hear. If you protest and expect that an unspecific protest meets benevolent ears, you can immediately kiss the whole thing goodbye. Especially those who profit from the systems drift do not want to hear the protest at all.

I can imagine three defense mechanisms of such structured systems against protest:

A: The protest goes completely in the wrong direction, doesn't concern anyone, people scream around without end, and the establishment thinks to itself "wonderful, let's have them protest, it does not reach us anyway".

B: The next immune reaction of such systems is to tilt the protest into itself and to fragment it with itself, so that the protesters argue among themselves, have different views and consequently are isolated with their own problem because they try to organize themselves, and thus the protest has completely lost its thrust again.

C: The third variant is to offer the protesters to join the system, to sit at the negotiating table and to help organize the problem situation. Thus the protesters are involved in the already established political process and can assume that no change can be brought about.

Once all this has been understood, the following can also be made clear: If one protests in such a situation and actually wants to bring about system change, then one should think in terms of concepts such as "war" or "revolution". If you fight with a smaller army against a large army in open battle, then you simply will be crushed. And that means you have to think carefully about where to address, hit, prick the system, so that this system has to change. Mao developed his guerrilla techniques in this direction, thinking like this had an effect in the Protestant revolution with Luther - but in both cases we were able to see the devastating shifts that this entailed, so it's wise to think about how to avoid them beforehand.

When I protest, I have to think about what the sensitive points of the system are that I want change from. I must address these sensitive points.

Such sensitive points can be individuals, politicians for example, who clearly block the process of change. By succeeding in removing the role model function from them and making them ineligible, the blockade is dissolved. We should, however, consider such measures carefully and morally in order to understand how they are acceptable and how they are unacceptable.

Constructively reversed: make those eligible who can speed up functional solutions. Clear lines of attack are important, hence the comparison with guerrilla techniques.

Now comes the almost most important point: If such an approach succeeds in protest, yesterday's protesters who establish themselves today will become a new problem and almost certainly a blockade for future system change.

We know such processes from the French Revolution: After the privileges were abolished, the revolutionaries established themselves and became suddenly the privileged ones. From this the bourgeoisie emerged. Also in the communist revolution we could witness how those who initialized systemic change suddenly became the inhibition threshold of systemic change themselves through the times of Marx, Lenin and Stalin.

Those who want change must face self-criticism and remain changeable themselves. However, this will not be possible simply because those who do not want to change will certainly be among the protesters. In their rigid procedures they will most probably become the new profiteers of the modified systemic drift.

If we do not take all this into account, the protest will not be particularly effective. But if it is taken into account and the protest is successful, we can see what we have always seen: new establishment and privilege, which are both no longer in accordance with what was originally intended. We are currently witnessing this in the United States, whose constitution and actual establishment are increasingly drifting apart, so that it will take a tremendous effort (and a cautious one) to repair this system in a timely manner.

Climate change challenges us at all levels, not just politically and economically. Our prudence is called for, our willingness to reposition ourselves and grow beyond our automatic (re)actions.