Stories from Tipping Point

Kristin: I’m at Tipping Point in Melbourne, the first of three sessions in Australia bringing artists and scientists together to think and talk about climate change with a view to informing each others’ practices.

The sessions have involved a mixture of formal introductory talks, facilitated exercises and open space meetings to explore the junctions of art and science in confronting, understanding and acting on climate change.

After participating in three different open space meetings looking at Indigenous paradigms, decision-making and systems thinking, I think the role of systems thinking in structuring responses to climate change is the overriding theme I’ve taken out of this first day.

It’s complex. But thinking solely about climate change is, as I’ve said before, a short term focus on what needs to be a far more integrated vision around low carbon, sustainable and innovative growth futures. We need to think beyond the transition.

We need to stop thinking about ourselves as separate to the earth. Stepping lightly on the earth is not good enough if we think systemically. Our relationship to the land, our impacts and our stewardship are integral to those larger systems.

And while many of us appreciate the complexity, it is harder to find the levers for change, where a small effort has the most positive impact within the context of it’s consequences. Science can help identify these levers for change by understanding the way the world works, finding research to support better decision-making and and modelling future possibilities.

But thinking systemically, is not only the domain of science. Writers and novelists create complex worlds that must be believable. And they understand the levers in creating plot points and challenges for the people that inhabit that world.

At TEDxCanberra last week, I spoke of the need for more integrated stories of the future. I’d like to see a mix of modeling and novelling to create some stories of a future beyond climate change.

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