Should we celebrate inadequate progress?

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Whenever I post a good news story like “U.S. greenhouse gas emissions fell 2% in 2019”, I inevitably get some backlash along the lines of “2% isn’t enough! We need 80% decrease!”

The message is that we are wrong to celebrate progress when it is inadequate. Doing so will only lull us into complacency. We shouldn’t feel good until the problem is fully solved.

First, of course 2% is not enough. This is only a small step in the right direction.

But I believe we best enable ourselves to take the much-needed big next steps when we remind ourselves that we are capable of change and in fact that it’s already happening. The alternative is a constant state of inadequacy, stagnation, and disappointment. What kind of motivation is that?

Peter Schulte

Peter Schulte is the Executive Director of Kindling. Peter is also Senior Digital Engagement Associate for the Pacific Institute and the UN Global Compact's CEO Water Mandate, connecting businesses to sustainable water practices. Peter holds a B.S. in Conservation and Resource Studies and a B.A. in Comparative Literature from University of California, Berkeley, and an M.B.A. in Sustainable Systems from Pinchot University. He lives in Bellingham, WA, USA with his wife, two sons, and cat. Learn more about Peter's store here.

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