The future is man made

Since I started working at WWF-Australia I’ve become more and more aware of the tremendous environmental issues that we face. Although I knew we had some problems, it seems that every day news comes out that it’s worse than we thought.

My view, echoed in Tim Flannery’s book The Weather Makers and informed by what I’ve heard around the office, is that we have about 10 years to make massive reductions in CO2 if we are to avoid massively disruptive climate change within the next 100 years.

The train is already in motion – as I understand it, changes to our emissions today will not stop the effects of climate change for the next 50 years. That is, even if we reduced our emissions to almost zero tomorrow, the impacts of climate change would continue unabated for the next 50 years, at which time our emissions reductions would start to take effect. (As an aside “the train” is illustrated quite literally by the recently launched television commercials produced by Environmental Defense)

It’s an important issue that needs serious and rapid action at all levels – international, national, local and personal.

Today the team at WWF-Australia launched a large campaign that hopefully you’ll be hearing a lot more about over the next few months.

The campaign is called “The future is man made“. The name alludes to the idea that we, collectively, can choose our path for the future.

On the one hand we can choose to continue “business as usual”, which will have devastating consequences on the environment, on our health, and the global economy as irreversible climate change takes hold.

On the other hand, we can choose to rapidly change our ways, to reduce our CO2 emissions (the key driver of climate change), to live sustainably. If we move quickly – that is a drastic reduction in CO2 over the next seven to ten years – the science suggests we can avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

We are hoping to tap into the growing concern over climate change, and to make people aware that we have a choice – that we have many solutions available to us right now that we can use to reduce our environmental footprint.

In keeping with the theme of the campaign (and following on from the success of The Weather Makers book that WWF-Australia played a part in promoting), we are encouraging people to become “Futuremakers” – to be deliberate in creating the future that we want – one that is sustainable, one that leaves something for the next generation. We’ve written a piece about what it means to be a Futuremaker on the WWF-Australia website.

The main aim of the campaign site (Flash required) is to encourage people to sign up to receive regular email updates from us – to keep informed about what’s happening, and to learn about the little things that collectively can have a big impact.

Around the office we’ve been referring to that idea as “amplification” – i.e. if loads of people do a couple of small things the effect is amplified, resulting in a big impact. (The folks over at Worldchanging have highlighted two actions [1, 2] that demonstrate this to amazing effect.)

Anyways – I hope y’all can check out the site, and if you’re up for it sign up to become a Futuremaker. As with all campaigns like this, we really want to get the word out to as many people as possible. If you can let your friends, relatives, anyone who’ll listen really, know about the site and, just as importantly, the issues that it highlights, that would be tops.

I should also mention that the site was developed by Leo Burnett for WWF as an interactive interpretation of the print advertising campaign. The team there have put a lot of hard yards into the campaign and I think you’ll agree it looks pretty impressive.

Any thoughts, comments or feedback welcome.

P.S. The current issue of Time magazine, released today here in Australia, is focused on climate change. It’s quite an extraordinary piece of work by the folks at Time. We also managed to squeeze the first Future is man made print advertisements into that issue – rather fitting we think.

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  • Probably one of the finest pieces of writing from you yet. You know I’m extremely proud of you and the way you made the decision to look for an ethical employer and your commitmet to the health of our planet. Thank you for keeping us all informed, you do make a difference.

  • Of course I signed up, when I’ve paid all my creditors I might actually be able to help finance the cause. Keep up the great work.

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