Yin and Yang of life and lessons from Steve Jobs

13 October 2011 – The carbon price package is through  – the Lower House at least.

Do not be blindsided by the fury of those who are suddenly dispossessed of what they clearly believe is their birthright (to burn up the earth for cheap). A Tony Abbott Government cannot easily repeal the legislation – if at all – before maybe the last half of 2014 and more likely not before late 2015. And by then to do so will be like winding back the GST. Dumb.

But there are no guarantees on this issue. Ever.

Instead of leaping around for joy, let’s take a leaf from the Steve Jobs approach on how to dress: jeans and polo t-shirt only, so we can think clearly on the work ahead (and not on how we look.)

The need for cool clear focus and massive work ahead is evidenced all around. Especially when:

  • Parliament erupts in hatred and anger, egged on the Opposition Leader who repeatedly uses the “hate” word in relation to an attempt to clean up the air we breathe and the soil we need to feed us.
  • In the past few years support for climate action/climate change has plunged from to 68 per cent to 41 per cent according to a Lowy Institute poll
  • Some people attribute this to the influence of one man, Andrew Bolt, who we are told by The Monthly switched from being a balanced ethical kind of guy to consciously deciding to fill the extreme right media commentator space in this country (what, Alan Jones is not enough?). Bolt now has a blog with 270,000 visitors in one month, a television show and regular airing in the Murdoch press.
  • It’s clear, actually, that Bolt is not alone, and is supported by a quiet army of fellow vampires

But there is good news. There is always good news because the world is made up of yin and yang. And if one or the other disappeared, it’s only for a flash, while it collects its breath and comes rampaging back.

Reasons to be cheerful Parts 1-5:

1. Tony Abbott protesteth too much. If you are a constitutional lawyer tell us if this is wrong, but Julia Gillard claims that an Abbott government won’t technically be able to repeal the carbon legislation until at least 2015 because Abbott needs a double dissolution with a majority in the Senate to get his changes through.

And by then, politically, (hopefully) it will be too late to make such a retrograde decision.

From the ABC’s website: “Repealing tax legislation after it’s been in effect for some time, after businesses have invested in carbon minimisation and bought carbon credits, and after pensioners have been receiving compensation benefits, is a one-way trip down a political S-bend. Tony Abbott is not stupid, he knows this….”

This article also has some detailed discussion of the Constitutional barriers to a repeal of the legislation.

2. Recessions and especially depressions bring on the next big wave of good stuff. Read Lynne Blundell’s exciting report on the way mega trends are made for instance.

“Each wave started with innovative, disruptive new technologies and with a global depression – they have transformed societies, our industries and economies almost beyond recognition.”

The speaker is Jane Nathan, president of the Australian Population Institute and she is quoting James Bradfield Moody’s book The Sixth Wave: How to succeed in a resource-limited world at the Property Council’s Growth Summit 2011, last week in Melbourne.

It makes sense when you think about it.

And guess what the sixth wave will be. That’s right. We’re all standing in it.

“The sixth wave of innovation will be based on resource efficiency and clean technologies. Put simply, it is a revolution that is already seeing our world transformed from one heavily addicted to the consumption of resources, to a world in which resource-efficiency will predominate,” Nathan says.

As with past “waves” recession/depression will remove the legislative bars to innovation, she says.

3. Snatch victory from defeat. Tell a naysayers on climate change they are right. Say: OK, let’s say you are right. What now?

Do you think we should continue business as usual: pumping toxic plumes into the air we breathe, contaminating the soil, turning the oceans to acid and using all our scarce resources?

No? OK, call it what you like; let’s just get on with it.

The Fifth Estate has tried this. The effect is amazing. You can hear the cluuunk cluuunk of the big nuclear thermal/coal fired light switch going on.

4. Aussies rule, OK. Again. The US is looking longingly at an Australian invention: NABERS, according to the indefatigueable PC Thomas whose company Team Catalyst consults on the tool and on leading energy efficiency work. Thomas was recently invited to a conference/summit/webinar in the US held by government authorities in the more progressive states around California and Oregon ¬ – the Northwest Energy Effciency Alliance .

“They are starting to think about what they are calling an ‘outcomes based code’ for energy efficiency. It sounds suspiciously like a NANERS tool,” Thomas mused.

NEEA is particularly interested that Australia has 10 years of track record on this, he says.

5. Greenwash is showing its dirty underbelly. See the wonderful article by David Baggs of ecospecifier fame on what will and won’t come out in the greenwash. Plus a handy guide to avoiding a legal writ for greenwash the executives who concoct all this marketing stuff in the first place.

Personally The Fifth Estate understands that the whole world of business is marketing driven. Without a drive for market success, well…not much would get done at all. And of course there are non-financial ways to measure market success. Proliferation of a great idea, for instance.

Another move in the less-greenwash-is-more direction is from the US Green Building Council currently under way with a review of its LEED rating system to make the tool tougher and more meaningful. According to our posting from Sustainable Business News:

  • building owners will be required to report data on the building’s energy and water use, using real-time reporting technology;
  • Owners of LEED-certified buildings will have to apply for re-certification every five years.

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