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Lions Roar : September 2008
SHAMBHALA SUN SEPTEMBER 2008 43 unqualified success—and some have been utter failures—but he believes his thinking, and that of the many people he’s been work- ing with, has evolved in helpful ways. Now he has taken on one of his most difficult projects to date: climate change. Climate change, Kahane says, is the paramount example of a tough problem, and before offering any prescriptions, he insists on a diagnosis. The problem with climate change, like the many other tough problems we face, is our response to complexity. “There’s a way to deal with simple problems on a small scale,” Kahane says. This for the most part involves directing and control- ling: if you want to fix a broken table, you roll up your sleeves, take charge, and repair it, brush-slapping your hands together in accom- plishment at the end. But it’s different when a problem is complex. “If you try to do the same thing,” Kahane says, “you will get disas- trous results. You end up either getting stuck or resorting to some form of violence.” It becomes “the war on...” fill in the blank. A problem like climate change, Kahane says, is complex in three different ways. It’s dynamically complex: the causes and effects are far apart in space and time (carbon generated fifty years ago is affecting the climate today). It’s socially complex: different groups have widely divergent aims and interests (the developed world implores the developing world to join in sustainability initiatives Limit Per Customer SEPT 40-47.indd 43 SEPT 40-47.indd 43 7/3/08 1:31:01 PM 7/3/08 1:31:01 PM