Hacking Climate Change

thomas Blog

The problem is a systemic behavioural lock, based on the habit-architecture of society. 

Climate change is a side effect of a World where everyone competes for and thus optimises their behaviour around the KPI of acquiring money. They compete according to what they can get away with, in terms of their peers, their conscience, their skill and the governance of society.

Within this game, significant advantage and power is afforded to entrepreneurs cunning enough to play to win by influencing other peoples behaviour which they accomplish by channelling their drives, architecting their top of mind choices and determining the choice-availability in their environments. Cunning entrepreneurs recognise they are not held responsible for most external costs of their profit, thus make use of behavioural engineering, matched with supply structures to keep consumers adhering to consumption and rationalising their actions.

The outcome of this is a society that has been behaviourally optimised to support needlessly high levels of consumption in order to move money to maximise share value and financial results, without regard for resource efficiency; a global population with bad habits and bad choices, in a society where over consumption has been systemised.

This system of marketing, streamlined ease of consumption, availability and impulse channelling leads to repeated consumer actions which drive habit formation. People tend rationalise what they do, then defend their actions as their personal choice. Collectively, our global habits dictate our destiny.

Suggested remedy: Hack global habits, individually and collectively to hack homeostasis

The same techniques of behavioural engineering, habit sculpting and sculpting behaviour and choice architecture used by cunning entrepreneurs must be used at scale to get people be resource efficient. We need to streamline and promote the right habits and interrupt the wrong ones.

We must literally accelerate evolution by optimising society around individual habits matched by streamlined ease of resource efficiency. E.g.: Motivate, and promote repeated practice of recycling along with making doing so easier than all other choices, and keep this top of mind.

In parallel, we must inhibit bad habits and unvirtuous-cycles by riddling them with friction points that interrupt them by making them so much hassle, people find an easier, alternative route.

This can be accomplished by running multiple parallel experiments to find the best means of people who transition from resource inefficient behaviour to resource efficient habits, and then transposing these rites-of-passage across society at scale. We need to design society to trend toward each individual adopting preferences and values for resource efficient living, and matching this with streamlining their behaviours. Methodologies used within technology start-ups and design thinking should be aggressively employed because they have purposely developed and refined methods to change behaviour around their products and successfully hack the homeostasis of society. We must use such approaches to behaviourally engineer the World to be more resource efficient.