A lot of people, especially engineers who act like they "know the science behind it best," at least in my experience, point out how global warming will have serious effects no matter what we do today.

They conclude that since it's inevitable, we can't do anything and might as well enjoy ourselves. Here's one example: James Lovelock: 'enjoy life while you can: in 20 years global warming will hit the fan'.

We had fun enjoying ourselves without thinking of the results of our actions and ended up with a result we have to take care of for a long time. Sounds familiar, doesn't it, especially with this post's title?

You can use whatever mental model you want, but I'm tending to look at global warming like an unintended pregnancy.

How you model things determines what you see about them and how you react. Or in Einstein's words:

Whether you can observe a thing or not depends on the theory which you use. It is the theory which decides what can be observed.

We didn't want it to happen, but it did. Since we don't expect global warming to destroy all of humanity, there are unborn people we could take care of.

Do we want to act responsibly or not?

Because something is inevitable doesn't make it a black-and-white worst case. There are nuances.

What kind of world do we want to leave for future generations--our children, grandchildren, and so on?

Can we figure out how to live as healthy and rewarding lives as we can without giving up and polluting the world maximally?

We at Inc. take on challenges. We do things others call impossible. We loathe complacency. At least that's the culture I feel here. Damn the torpedoes! Never say die!

Systems and change

Stopping or reversing global warming, if possible, is a systemic issue, though individual action makes some difference. If you want to change a system, one of the most important leverage points is the mindset behind it.

I propose adopting a mindset promoting responsibility, like the unplanned pregnancy model, over one of complacency, like the powerless-in-the-face-of-inevitability one we would never accept for our businesses and families.

Published on: Nov 4, 2016
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.