I have a question about policy experiments and adaptive development that came to me after reading this article by George Monbiot in the Guardian: We won’t save the Earth with a better kind of disposable coffee cup.
He writes about Starbucks and Costa and that they have been thinking about replacing their plastic coffee cups with cups made from corn starch.
‘The problem is not just plastic: it is mass disposability. Or, to put it another way, the problem is pursuing, on the one planet known to harbour life, a four-planet lifestyle. Regardless of what we consume, the sheer volume of consumption is overwhelming the Earth’s living systems.”
I read the article and then thought about the processes and approaches I am working on at the moment as I believe they can improve the ways we do development, the way we work to change policies and improves people’s lives. I believe in problem-driven approaches, in adaptive and iterative projects, in policy experiments, etc. but are they sufficient to achieve the massive change of behaviors required to live within the Earth’s living systems described by Monbiot?
Are policy experiments, the testing of local and context specific solutions, too small and too slow given the magnitude of the climate and pollution problems we face?