The Climate Change Tribe

The people that care about climate change need a leader. According to Tribes, a book by Seth Godin, the tribe (a group of people that believe in an cause) needs a leader. The leader needs the tribe as much as the tribe needs her.

When you think of leaders, you think of presidents and  high-ranking government officials. In the United States you think of Barack Obama, or whoever the current US president is, as the "Leader of the Free World." In contrast, in the world of terrorism, the clear leader one refers to is Osama Bin Laden. When you think of the phrase "Axis of Evil" you think of Nazi Fuhrer - Adolf Hitler. Leaders inspire dozens to millions of people to action. For climate change we have a million tribes and no clear leaders. We have government officials pointing fingers. We have empty words on a page.

As one critical review on Amazon.com points out regarding Godin's book, "First off, we can't all be leaders. The math just doesn't work. If every one of us is to be a leader to one thousand, it means that we must also take time to be a follower for 1,000 other leaders who also need their "tribe." Each and every person that cares about climate change does have a leader: themselves. However, as much as we hope the green consumerism movement will solve climate change, and each of our small day to day decisions to be green will eventually turn the tide on the tsunami of growing carbon emissions, it is a strategy based upon hoping others will follow our example. It's like hoping other kids will study as hard as your kids do because of the example you being made. It's reminiscent of that great Mohandas Gandhi quote: "Be the change you want to see in this world." However, your influence unfortunately doesn't reach very far. For the climate change leader, her reach needs to extend around the globe, through different languages, through different cultures, and through different wants/needs/desires.

Yes we need a symbolic leader of climate change. She needs to spread the narrative of Generation Just, or Generation Green, or whatever name she chooses, but she needs to be fluent in all languages and forms of communication. She needs to be a champion of science and the truth and a champion of the solutions. We need inspiration and guidance from one strong voice. The message is clear (climate change is a problem) and it is building into a bigger problem as we toil in language of misinformation. Recently I heard that "the answer is in the children." Well, we cannot wait, we're looking for the climate change leader now.

Photo Credit: Wonderlane

Juan Carlo is currently a student ambassador for the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance, which supports campus ventures that promote technology, benefit society, and are commercially scalable.