Human Strengths

We love games

Playing a game you have no chance of winning is grim. But running around a cold muddy field for 1½ hrs or even getting punched in the face can be fun in the context of a game. So why can’t talking about solutions to climate change also be engaging, or even fun?

I propose we re-frame solving climate change as a game that we all win or all lose together. There is a growing abundance of promising solutions waiting to be studied, and if appropriate funded and developed.

We all want to make a difference

Whether it’s creating a scientific breakthrough, award winning art or just making people laugh, it seems we all want to make a difference. People actively learning and debating the problems and most plausible solutions to climate change is what will make the difference.


What is the best mindset for solving climate change?

Hope vs Intention

Here’s an example: If two companies compete for the same business, which one is most likely to succeed: company A that hopes for the best, or company B that intends to get the business? Intention focuses on how to succeed. Hope leaves the work for someone else to do.

Pessimism vs Optimism

Too many optimistic climate schemes have ended up wasting money because people took advantage. But too much pessimism leads to inaction. Gramsci (a famous Marxist) coined the phrase “Pessimism of intellect, Optimism of will.”

Pessimism of the Intellect means something like be a scientist: see the world as it really is, not as you might like it to be. Try to identify and, if necessary, overcome hidden biases or prior assumptions. Always ask yourself: What assumption am I making? What if it is incorrect? How do I know what I know? In many cases, the correct answer is: I don’t know. Never be afraid to admit you don’t know.

Optimism of the Will means, have the courage to attempt difficult things. Sometimes will can overcome the odds.


Next: Planetary Intervention