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💥Thought Shrapnel newsletter #443
Climate havens, toxic relationships, and intelligent failure
How do? Ey-up. And other northern greetings.
Situation report: I’m on my laptop composing this with an eye on the Sunderland vs Middlesbrough game on TV. Our daughter is rubbing aloe vera gel into her knees after getting a battering during her football game this morning. They won; she scored a header.
Check out Weeknote 40/2023 for medium-rare solo waffle and air-fryed introspection. Thanks to those who liked, commented, or replied to last week’s newsletter. It’s always nice to get some interaction!
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I published my regulation 16 posts on Thought Shrapnel this week. Of those, here are three to which I'd like to draw to bring to your wild and precious attention.
I grew up in an ex-mining town, surrounded by ex-mining villages. At one point in my teenage years, I can distinctly remember wondering why people continued to live in such places once the reason for its existence had gone?
Now I’m an adult, of course I realise the many and varied economic, social, and emotional reasons. But still, the question remains: why do people live in places that don’t support a flourishing life?
One of the reasons that politicians are turning up the anti-immigration at the moment is because they’re well-aware of the stress that our planet is under. As this article points out, even if we reach net zero by 2050, the amount of carbon in the atmosphere means that some places are going to be uninhabitable.
That’s going to lead not only to international migration, but internal migration. We need to be preparing for that, not just logistically, but in terms of winning hearts and minds.
In 2022, climate change and climate-related disasters led nearly 33 million people to flee their homes and accounted for over half of all new numbers of people displaced within their countries, according to data from the United Nations’ High Commissioner for Refugees and the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre. This amount will surely increase over the next few decades.
Outside the United States and Canada, the World Bank predicts that climate change will compel as many as 216 million people to move elsewhere in their countries by 2050; other reports suggest that more than one billion people will become refugees because of the impacts of a warming planet on developing countries, which may exacerbate or even precipitate civil wars and interstate armed conflict.
The extraordinary pressure that continued international and domestic climate migration will impose upon state resources and social goods like schools, hospitals and housing is difficult to fathom. Over the past year, city and state governments in the U.S. have feuded over the distribution of migrants stemming from the Southern border, with New York Mayor Eric Adams declaring that the current migration wave will “destroy” the city.
The stark fact is that the amount of carbon dioxide already amassed in the atmosphere all but assures that certain zones will become uninhabitable by the end of the century, regardless of whether global greenhouse gas emissions reach net zero by 2050. If factories cannot operate at full capacity due to life-threatening climate conditions, periodic grid failures and difficult-to-replace labor shortages over the next two decades — and these challenges reverberate throughout their surrounding economies — the output of the renewables sector will falter and stall projects to decarbonize businesses, government agencies and households.
This blog post, which I discovered via Hacker News, is about ultimatums around ‘return to office’ mandates/ultimatums. But it’s also a primer to only allow people to treat you the way you want to be treated.
People who abuse any power they have over you aren’t worth respecting and definitely aren’t worth hanging around. Although sometimes it’s difficult to realise it, the chances are that you’re bringing the talent to the table, which is why they acting in a way fueled by insecurity.
If I had to give only one bit of advice to anyone ever faced with an ultimatum from someone with power over them (be it an employer or abusive romantic partner), it would be:
Ultimately, never choose the one giving you an ultimatum.
If your employer tells you, “Move to an expensive city or resign,” your best move will be, in the end, to quit. Notice that I said, ‘in the end’.
It’s perfectly okay to pretend to comply to buy time while you line up a new gig somewhere else.
That’s what I did. Just don’t start selling your family home or looking at real estate listings, and definitely don’t accept any relocation assistance (since you’ll have to return it when you split).
Conversely, if you let these assholes exert their power over you, you dehumanize yourself in submission.
Andrew Curry links to Amy Edmondsen’s new book about ‘intelligent failure’. She’s also got a recorded talk from the RSA on the same topic which I’ve queued up to watch.
Although some people who have sat through teacher in-service training days may beg to differ, there’s no such thing as wasted learning. It’s all grist to the inspiration mill, and I’m always surprised at how often insights are generated between unexpected overlaps.
This, though, isn’t about serendipity, but rather about goal-directed behaviours to reach an outcome. Which pre-supposes, of course, that we’re working towards a goal. In these times of rolling catastrophe, it’s worth remembering that having goals is something that used to be normal.
We are all taught these days that failure is an essential part of learning, and that we need to fail if we want to develop as people. But it’s one thing to hear that, and another thing to be able to do it. Because we have all grown up in education systems where failure is bad, and worked for organisations where failure gets punished in a whole range of less-then-explicit ways.
So it is interesting to see Amy Edmondsen writing about “intelligent failure” on the Corporate Rebels blog. She has just published a book on this theme.
The first part of this is to know that there are different kinds of failures. The set of things that are included in “intelligent failures” does not include failures that happened because you couldn’t be bothered. But it does include failures that happen as a result of complexity or bad luck.
So by working hard to prevent avoidable failures, they are able to embrace the other ones.
Edmondsen has developed a model from her research about intelligent failure which the Corporate Rebels turned into one of their distinctive graphics. Here are her four criteria:
It (1) takes place in new territory (2) in pursuit of a goal, (3) driven by a hypothesis, and (4) is as small as possible. Because they bring valuable new information that could not have gained in any other way, intelligent failures are praiseworthy indeed.
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Until next week!
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I did a fair bit of preparation for my upcoming MSc in Systems Thinking this week, meaning I neglected other reading…
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