Looking to scientists and engineers for leadership distracts from getting things done
“We’re doomed’: Mayer Hillman on the climate reality no one else will dare mention” threatens the headline of an article about a social scientist. There are plenty of similar articles about plenty of similar people.
The article recounts Hillman predicting many problems and suggesting solutions, but not getting them implemented.
If we want to solve environmental problems we have to separate science and engineering from leadership. Scientists’ and engineers’ training and skills make them effective at collecting data, analyzing it, and making predictions. You’ll find no greater supporter of science and engineering than me.
They rarely have training to influence people, especially billions of people. JFK’s speech advanced us more to the moon than the work of any single scientist or engineer.
Hillman recognizes that we all have to change our behavior. His track record implies he is unskilled at leading others to change their behavior so he concludes that we are doomed.
I don’t think looking to scientists or engineers for leadership will help. Data, predictions, implementation plans, yes. Leadership, no.
I believe leadership in the style of Mandela, King, Gandhi, and Havel, suitably adjusted for today’s needs, is essential to reduce environmental problems.
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