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Over Consumption and Under Response: Crisis – Now What?

March 12, 2013

“The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.”


Sometimes we see it coming, sometimes we don’t–no matter what, crisis strikes at some point.

Who’s responsible? How did it happen? What are the repercussions? How do we clean up the mess? When will it be cleaned up?

Whenever there is a major mishap, say the economic crisis in 2008, these questions get a lot of attention. They are justified and answers are necessary, but the most important question is missing.

We could forget all these questions and replace it with one inquiry to render the most significant effect.

How will we progressively change and rise for the better?

This is paramount.

Pointing fingers doesn’t help. It is important to understand what happened in order for future generations to learn from, as we can learn from past crises now, but we only need to assess, analyze and judge the situation to a degree before they turn into redundancy, procrastination and avoidance.

Clean up the mess won’t clean up the mess–we need to clean it up, innovate and implement.

In 1870 and 1930 we saw great crises when the economy went down and depression ensued. What followed?

Healthier, wealthier times of new technologies, new business models, new eras of economic and social models and whole new ways of living and working rose from disastrous times–every time.

It comes down to your toes

In reality, many of us are also responsible for the economic crash. We point fingers at the bankers and big bad guys–and they are in the wrong–but we added more than our two cents.

In The Great Reset: How the Post-Crash Economy Will Change the Way We Live and Work, Richard Florida portrays it by saying, “We’ve been binging for a long time. For twenty-five years or more, the U.S. economy grew and grew, feasting on the unchecked consumption of a never-ending cascade of real estate, goods, and gadgetry.”

Like I said, pointing fingers isn’t necessary, but it helps to understand you are part of the process to better become part of the solution.

And it comes down to your toes. It’s not what we discern and analyze that will get us out of the hole, it’s the steps we take now that matter.

What do you do when crises strike?

Instead of reacting when things go wrong, it behooves us to act with preventative prudence–according to the precautionary principle. Even with preventive measures, crises happen.

As a generalization, the public expects people in power and experts to fix these problems. That’s a mistake. The people who will “fix” them, are looking to clean things up and set it back how it was–which clearly wasn’t working. In addition, it appears that spending time and resources on over-analyzing and inaction is the norm with authority and policy.

To find the changes we seek and resolve from crisis situations, we will benefit from adjusting our response to disaster and proactively making changes ourselves.

The beautiful beast of difficulty

In every crises and every difficulty there lies a heartening opportunity to create anew.

One could spend a lifetime adding brushstrokes to a painting that will never satisfy, or they could take advantage of the situation and go on to produce a masterpiece by starting with a fresh canvas.

The crises we face today are our greatest opportunity for change. Let’s take charge, start stepping and go beyond cleaning up the mess.

What will you do? What change do you want to see? Drop a line and maybe someone will resonate and team up to champion change.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. March 12, 2013 1:28 pm

    This map is so beautiful, in its content and presentation!

  2. Alex Jones permalink
    March 13, 2013 3:48 am

    Great post. Mind maps are a good way to convey information fast. I use them occasionally.

    • March 13, 2013 10:10 am

      Thanks, Alex. Mind maps do really help put complex issues in one frame.

  3. March 14, 2013 10:01 am

    You give a good stimulation for each of us to think on and decide if we will sit and watch, or take SOME action.

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