Our Inflection Point
For years I’ve spoken of our need for an inflection point: that moment at which the slope of the trajectory is altered and a new slope emerges. The business case for sustainability moves beyond the tipping point and business as usual shifts. It is exhilarating, purpose driven, and yes, kind.
I used to call it THE Inflection Point. Today, I realize, it is OUR Inflection Point. Today it is anything but kind.
We’re in a car wreck, milliseconds before impact. We see the collision happening. Time has slowed and we’re just at the point of impact but the car has stopped moving yet.
At some point, after the deployment of the safety systems, we realize we are safe, altered, and acknowledge what is truly important in this world.
Car wrecks are full of inflection points: speed, direction, safety…. If we were just observers to the accident, then this would be The Inflection. But we’re passengers, it’s ours.
Before COVID-19, we did not have time. No one did. We walked and read e-mails on our phones, bumping into strangers. We barely took time for people we love. We drank our coffees as we drove. We took out food and ate while on a phone call, watching TV or thinking of anything other than where we were. We cherished the disposable we could throw away—it was fast, easy and someone else would take care of away.
But then, there really never was a place that is away.
Now a virus, from a place far away changed everything.
The slope of the curve was wrenched from beneath us. It will not return to what we called normal.
Humans hate uncertainty. We live in a mirage we control our world. In the end, the world always wins.
As ride through this wreck, then, for the lucky ones, struggle from the wreckage, we have the choice to use this inflection to create a finer future for all. Let’s learn there is no such place as “away”. We’re all connected to one another and the health of our planet. Nothing is more urgent than caring for each other and making sure that everyone has enough. We don’t NEED all we thought we did. This will redefine what is truly important. We need to take the time for that. Our world, though connected through electrons, is becoming local.
On the other side of this, let’s build upon our lessons. It’s time to turn our attention to addressing climate change, deforestation, solid waste pollution, loss of biodiversity inequity and the other global challenges that are the interlinked crises. They are all symptoms of the world before, the slope of the old curve. And they are all causes of the crisis we are in today.
I have always thought we could ReInvent Everything. If we wanted to.
I now know we can.