How is it that we have not managed to combat climate change in the last 45 years?

Rolf Winters went to a meeting of the Club of Rome to enter into dialogue about sustainability.

November10th, 2016

This week I was a guest at a meeting of the Club of Rome in the Netherlands. The club was founded in 1972 by several European scientists who were concerned about consequences of unlimited industrial growth for the planet. During a two-day workshop the plan was to look at the future on how to deal with climate change, and specifically of the relevance of the organization itself in the world today. I had been invited by the Dutch president of the Club of Rome - Bas Jurres,  when I met him after a screening of Down to Earth. The film had deeply moved him and he asked me on the spot if the film could be used for the transformation envisioned for the Club of Rome. I spontaneously said 'yes'. And so it happened that their program was changed last minute and was opened with the film - with a subsequent dialogue about the importance of the message of the Earth keepers.

The next day, Prof. Dennis Meadows, one of the authors of Limits to Growth (1972), which is globally recognised as the basis for dialogue on sustainability gave a workshop. He talked about how the sustainability movement in the past 45 years has had no visible impact on reducing global warming and climate change. In fact, the situation has only deteriorated further. The cause of the failure? Our system, or rather systems. He showed how our economic, political and institutional systems do not act or are counterproductive to the goals they set themselves. After 45 years of trying to convince the world from the mind, the key question at the conference of the Club of Rome was: Is it time that we change our approach to create the change we want to see, and start operating from our heart? That instead of trying to convince the leaders within the system that we are going to focus on raising awareness and consciousness of the individual?  

At the moment the professor asked these questions, a large butterfly fluttered across the room, right over the heads of the audience. Coincidence? The butterfly and the relevance of this "coincidence" did not go unnoticed. It is beautiful to see how an organisation which was primarily a scientific gathering is now undergoing a real transformation. There is a realisation within the new generation that we need to change our course and that nobody has to wait for permission to take responsibility. 

The Earth keepers are being heard. And every morning I wake up happy in the knowledge that more Earth Keepers have woken up.