Don’t Dwell in the Past; Remediate when the Problem is Real and Present

by Edward Henkler on August 6, 2013

When a situation is deteriorating, there is a very human tendency to protect ourselves, which is often translated into finding someone else to blame.  While history can be a great teacher and every team should employ lessons learned for process improvement, I see limited value in the “blame game”.  That is not to suggest that underachievers should be tolerated but rather that there would be more value in assessing the challenges and required remediation.

Mix politics, partisanship, and the blame game together and you have an explosive combination with almost no energy devoted to solving the problem.  Yesterday’s Philadelphia Inquirer included an article entitled, “A warming world and heated humans.”  A team of researchers has concluded something that most of us would guess without research…increasing temperatures increase violence from war to personal assault.  It’s more than just personal discomfort and includes factors such as environmental impact and inadequate resources.  These problems are real and observable, yet we still seem to be focused on whether the cause is anthropogenic (human impact on the environment) or cyclic climate change.

Remediation, not blame (picture from Philadelphia Inquirer; 2-Aug-13)

Remediation, not blame (picture from Philadelphia Inquirer; 2-Aug-13)

There is obvious benefit to identifying root causes but if sea levels are rising, storms are becoming more frequent and violent, and temperatures are rising, perhaps we also need to invest in solutions.  Once again, there is complexity, and understanding the root cause is important in developing the right solution but……would anyone disagree that the world’s population is increasing rapidly?  Assuming your answer is yes, how do we address food and potable water shortages?  If the ice caps are melting and water levels are rising, how do we address evolving problems for coastal communities (within 60 miles of a coast) where more than 70% of the world’s population lives?  The Great Pacific Garbage Dump is a patch of debris, mostly plastics, that is larger than the state of Texas.

These problems are real…let’s stop the public posturing over the cause and begin developing and implementing sustainable solutions.

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