Doppelt in Monitor Column Points to ‘Systems Blindness’

University of Oregon Climate Leadership Director Bob Doppelt is expanding his media outreach, with an August 27 climate change piece, “The Greatest Failure of Thought in Human History,” in the Christian Science Monitor.

Doppelt since January has been writing a regular 800-word climate change column for his home-town Eugene Register-Guard. His Monitor column argues (see The Yale Forum News Note) that global warming at its core is not a technology or policy problem but rather “the greatest failure of thought in human history.” He points to “systems blindness” as a key.

Mediation efforts, Doppelt wrote, are doomed to fail “unless people first alter their thinking and behavior.” He calls for a wholesale approach to “sustainable thinking” based on a four-step process: “discover, dream, design, and act.” His column points to municipal and corporate (Xerox and DuPont) examples of organizations moving in this direction.

Dreaming comes into play in finding new ways to reduce “our carbon footprint,” Doppelt wrote, “envisioning what an ideal low or carbon-free condition would look and function like.” With design come innovation and “ways of achieving the ideal,” and with acting come gains in energy efficiency and conservation. He points to examples which he says illustrate “impressive results” from companies and governments.

Pointing to a need to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 80 percent, Doppelt concludes that emissions trading and other strategies will be needed. “But, no matter what the approach, these pioneers have shown that success ultimately depends on overcoming systems blindness and thinking.”

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