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Overshoot: Here’s the Good News

The Climate COP meetings are buzzing and people are angry. Overshoot persist and the question arises: What’s the good news? Not as a parody or a joke. Seriously.

The good news of overshoot is this: Others’ lack of preparation for an ever more predictable future with resource decline and climate change increases YOUR risk exposure. This revelation is good news because:

  • It demonstrates that, if you see this future coming, waiting for others to act is the most self-defeating course of action you can take.

  • It underscores that you are free, and not bound by others.

  • It emphasizes that it is even more advantageous for you to act if others don’t.

  • It helps you recognize that following the social pressure of just doing what all the others do, does not serve you.

  • It gives you choice.

What better news could you get?

Let’s unpack the good news further, because the argument is straightforward why responding proactively is in the best interest of yourself and humanity:

  1. The future has never been more predictable. We will eat and sleep and move around. And, in any imaginable scenario, there will be more climate change and resource constraints. While overuse of the Earth’s resources is possible for a while, it will end. The question is whether by design or disaster. In fact, this future is coming faster towards us than our cities and buildings can adapt.

  2. Therefore, the question becomes – what is going to be valuable in this predictable future? Are you focusing on those things. Are your efforts steering towards more of those things, and moving out of things that will be less useful in that predictable future?

  3. The answer to how to react becomes rather simple: Those assets, whether businesses or estate, that when there is more of those, pressure on Earth’s ecosystems subsides. They will hold value because these assets will be needed more, and they will not run into physical constraints.

To make the good news applicable, let me spell out practical implications:

  • For investors. If you manage portfolios, and you want them diversified and resilient to future shocks, would it not be advantageous to have assets in your portfolio that do better in the future we do not want, but is becoming increasingly more predictable and likely?

  • For economic advisors of countries. If you are concerned about the competitiveness of your country, would it not be helpful to emphasize those sectors and those businesses that can operate better in the predictable future, while discouraging businesses of the past who will more likely lose traction or even become stranded assets?

  • For mayors and city councilors. Would it not make sense to shift budget allocation of your city towards activities that help the city operate in the future of climate change and resource constraints? Also, why would you not stop that spending that keeps the city on its conventional, self-destructive track, making it ever more vulnerable to the emerging trends. Such conventional city policies and budget allocations include accommodating car needs, tolerating low building and energy standards, maintaining traditional waste management systems, having centralized utilities run your energy grid, keeping natural gas pipelines as part of your infrastructure, enabling suburbanization through misguided redevelopment plans, building permits, or neglect?

  • For real estate owners. Would it not be better for your portfolio to move towards real estate that requires little transportation and is energetically highly efficient? Or to retrofit your existing one so it becomes far more energy efficient and less car dependent?

  • For strategic planners in the security space. Given the growing competition for what Earth’s ecosystems can deliver, would it not be helpful to anticipate conflicts accordingly and explore cost-effective ways to make your country less vulnerable to these shocks?

Any more good news needed? I have a plenty more pieces of good news up my sleeves, just ask.


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