Blog entry by Alan Chapman

Picture of Alan Chapman
by Alan Chapman - Friday, 26 July 2019, 9:20 AM
Anyone in the world

Leadership Now

Here are some issues that new and potential leaders should be considering now.

New leaders with new creative thinking can emerge anywhere, without official authority, and they need to, because generally traditional leadership and the systems by which they govern cannot change. 

Big change comes from bottom-upwards. 

Humankind, at least our current Homo sapiens lineage, has existed for about 350,000 years. Earlier hominins first evolved about 6million years ago. 

This is essentially the design we are born with. In fact, each of us with Eurasian heritage, has anywhere between 1-6% DNA from extinct species such as Neanderthals.

We are designed to sing, dance, run, jump, eat naturally, sleep naturally, and behave much like H. sapiens have acted for 350,000 years, not the past 200 years since the industrial revolution, or since globalisation 50 years ago, or the computer age 30 years ago.

For about 10 years we have lived in the modern age of artificial intelligence, social media, big tech, etc. This is very very different to how we are designed.

It's not how we've evolved to live, for the past 350,000 or 6 million years.

In fact, unnatural living, and the beginning of the destruction of our natural world, began with the agricultural revolution, about 10,000 years ago. This caused us to build villages, then cities and all else that exists nowadays, which is destroying the ecosystems necessary for our survival.

Neither are we designed to consider the challenges that we've made for ourselves, especially now that artificial intelligence and big technology determine most aspects of modern life, work, economics, government, and even our leisure/playtime.

The exponential acceleration of technology, population, global warming, and the likelihood of human extinction, all coincide and inter-relate. Look at the graphs. Find them. Research this for yourself in your own ways - it's about your future. 

There is no doubt humankind faces the very real possibility or likelihood of total extinction within the next few years; much sooner than 'consensus' science (e.g., IPCC) suggests.

I refer you initially to Prof Jem Bendell's 'Deep Adaptation' work. There are many other highly reputable sources who will confirm the science. (Please contact me if you want more information about any of this.)

Here is some broader context, a brief summary of the health of humanity, and how we can think about it more creatively and radically - shortlink -

Denial and ignorance - resistance to change - even when facing extinction

Denial and ignorance are natural in humans once we are past young childhood. This is due to conditioning and education. Look at the work and teachings of Sir Ken Robinson.

See bias and denialism, and their deeply threatening hidden effects on us and our world, and especially on leadership now, and what we perceive leadership to be.

Humankind is basically 'unconsciously incompetent' in the issue of its own near-term extinction. (See the model on Businessballs and elsewhere; it's simple and powerful.)

Humankind is not aware that its extinction is imminent. A few early adopters and sensitives are, but very few of us. This is to be expected. It's not easy to imagine our own death. 

We need first to become 'consciously incompetent' (aware of what faces us), before we can all work on the solutions that now need to be vast, fast, and very clever. Or we and most/all life on earth (except perhaps bacteria/micro-organisms) will be dead within just a few years.

There are now 410-415 parts per million carbon in the atmosphere. This has not happened for 65million years.

Global warming will certainly be 1.5 degrees in the next few years. This level of warming is enough to make it impossible to feed our still-fast-growing population of nearly 8 billion people, on wheat, never mind meat. 

2 degrees of warming is likely very soon too, which would be catastrophic. This will see hundreds of millions of refugees migrating to cooler regions where survival is possible and where food and water are available. Of course, before this happens, the world's economic systems, including money, will completely collapse, along with social order, internet, etc. There would be martial law everywhere. Fascism and extreme right-wing governments tend to take over at times of societal collapse. 

Please refer to the word exponential and understand it deeply in the context of what all responsible scientists agree to be happening. Look around you. Ask questions. 

Stop accepting everything that big media and corporations and professional politicians tell you; people who've never been homeless, never had to be fed from a foodbank, or been raped or abused, or been in a war-zone with bullets fizzing by, or marginalised and bullied because of some sort of difference, or bereaved by suicide. 

Empathy cannot be taught. If we are not born with such sensitivity, as some are, empathy is generally gained only by experience. 

Hope - for humankind's survival 

There is definitely hope. 

There are potential solutions for averting the worst of the collapse scenarios, and also for fixing the most urgent challenge of global warming, and the shockingly serious feedback loops that are becoming exponentially more serious, e.g., huge wildfires, melting sea ice, irreversible disruption of weather and ecological systems.

Prof. Bendell has identified Marine Cloud Brightening as something that could help us. Charlie Paton's Seawater Greenhouse concept, proven over 30 years of development, is another huge opportunity. So is simply planting trees - millions, billions of trees, especially in fast-growing equatorial regions. We must also re-imagine our economics systems and grossly wrong assumptions. Look at the work of Mariana Mazzucato, one of the world's leading thinkers/writers on the subject.

But as ever, while those responsible for making the change (all of us) remain 'unconsciously incompetent', it will be impossible to organise the vast initiatives required to save us.

So what can we do about it?

First, we must all shift very fast from being 'unconsciously incompetent' (in denial and ignorant) to being 'consciously incompetent'.

First, it's about awareness, and also hope. And different ways of communicating and understanding all of this, because it means different things to different people.

Some of us are able to engage very deeply, because it's about mortality and death - being able to accept that these threats are very very real.

They are real. They have been unfolding for many decades, killing millions.

The Arab Spring Risings were caused by climate change - wheat shortages and increasing prices. 

Syria, Yemen, parts of Africa, South America, and many other regions - many thousands dying for many decades because of climate change and the big economic systems that drive energy and resource demands, consumption, waste, and climate change.  100,000 people die by suicide every year in India. 10-20,000 are farmers, every year. This is broken economics and climate change.

These are the warning signs, flashing red lights and ear-splitting sirens. We are past emergency. We are into damage limitation and sheer survival.

If the human world were an aircraft it would not be allowed to take to the air. And yet the human world is up in the clouds, flying with imaginary wings of feathers and wax, like Icarus far too close to the sun.

Like the fire that can keep us warm in winter, and cook our food, but that can burn our forests and burn us all.  

And so this is leadership now. 

We must become aware of a problem, before we can attempt to solve it. 

We have already run out of time to save many millions of people, and more wildlife than can be listed. 

If we do not wake up to realities very soon we will not save anyone. 

True leadership does not require official authority.

True leadership is about picking up responsibility that nobody else has picked up - the responsibilities awaiting new leaders to grab, and make extraordinarily powerful good things happen. 

So ask yourself, what can you do, to be a leader now? 

Love to all, 

Alan Chapman

(, and other things - if you are moved by this, please contact me - there is so much we can do.) 


[ Modified: Thursday, 12 September 2019, 10:27 AM ]