Just Do It . . . or lose the name of action

Nike. Just Do It slogan. Helpful for Net Zero programs.

In the year 1988 the Nike Company adopted the slogan “Just Do It” for its advertising theme. It worked — the slogan was instrumental in making the company an international success. It is also a slogan that could be helpful for those working on Net Zero projects.

With regard to the climate crisis the posts at this site are built around three themes, each of which can be part of a “Just Do It” response. The themes are:

  • The Future Has No Narrative;

  • What To Do? and

  • Industrial Leadership

The Future Has No Narrative

Wendell Berry the future has no narrative
Wendell Berry (1934 - )

The first theme is introduced in the post The Future Has No Narrative. No one knows what the future holds; at best we can see just an outline of where we are heading, both as individuals and as a society. The post uses the example of COVID to illustrate this point. The pandemic has had an enormous impact on society, yet no one saw it coming. As we said in that post,

When talking about the future we need to be cautious, humble and willing to change our minds. Specifically with regard to climate change, we need to ensure that we follow the data and that the models we use are properly benchmarked and evaluated. Climate change must not become a belief system.

So, the first step in the development of a “Just Do It” response to climate change is to follow the data and to do what works.

What To Do?

Movie Don’t Look Up and Venn Diagram for action
Adam McKay

The second theme of these posts relates to the title of this post. In the post What To Do? we used the example of the movie Don’t Look Up and of the Venn diagram developed by Adam McKay. He stresses the importance of doing something and suggests that our actions be based on our responses to the following three questions.

  1. What brings you joy?

  2. What are you good at?

  3. What is the work that needs doing?

Different people will select different actions depending on their skills and background. Once more, we do what works.

Industrial Leadership

Industrial leadership for Net Zero programs
James Farley. CEO Ford Motor Company. (1962 - )

A third theme of these posts is that national governments and international agencies have, by and large, failed to provide effective response to the climate crisis. There have been some successes, of course, but the (lack of) proof is in the pudding. CO2 emissions continue to rise inexorably. Indeed, the data suggest that the rate of increase is itself increasing, as can be seen in the following sketch. It puts one in mind of the well known adage that is often known as the ‘First Rule of Holes’.

When you are in a hole, first stop digging.

CO2 emissions 1950 to present

Although governments have failed to reverse the causes of climate change, many business and industrial leaders are taking action. They are not doing so because they want to “do good”. They are acting because they want to be commercially successful and to avoid the following . . .

Kodak Moment - failure to adapt to new circumstances

The post Industrial Leadership provides some examples of the actions that businesses are taking.

Does this mean that businesses and industries will always do the right thing? Absolutely not. Indeed, most of the decisions that they make will not work out for one reason or another. Welcome to business. But it is reasonable to expect that at least a few of the actions that they take could create some pleasant surprises.

Different companies and industries will try different strategies. A few will be successful; most will fail. Governments, on the other hand, will generally commit to just one course of action., thereby creating a high level of risk. because that one program is based on the tricky assumption that the government knows what the future holds.

Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.

Dale Carnegie