We optimise and invest into the status quo over and over again as we reinforce our behaviours, go to our favourite places, consume our favourite products. And this status quo is that of a carbon intensive, high carbon economy that spews out lots of carbon dioxide around me and across the world. Investing into this status quo makes sense because of the past investments. It is easier to make a car that already runs run faster than to make a new technology that will help get a stationary box to start moving.
But when you invest into the status quo, it makes it harder and harder to change and move away. When you’ve mastered Microsoft Excel, it is hard for you to adopt a new spreadsheet tool. And because more people have mastered it, the tool becomes more and more entrenched because someone else can share the file with you and you’d understand too. So you continue mastering it, and getting better at it.
A lot of the economy, the whole industrial complex works this way. But then at some point you might detect a crack in the status quo. Maybe it is cracking under its own weight or perhaps it is increasingly being used beyond its original design intent. Many have tried to build complex and clunky models inside Excel when it is more efficiently served by other programming language. So then status quo might break down by itself.
Or in other cases, the status quo does not break down but create problems for those who are perpetuating it. In the case of climate change, our status quo of a carbon-intensive economy is creating huge challenges for us right now and for the future generations. To get out of the cycle, we need to make changes; we need to invest in new areas that may not be as attractive as the status quo. We will need to spend effort thinking through old problems and solve them with new ways. We will need to tie up some of our options, and cast old solutions aside.
Are you ready to do that?