The sun rising over the Australian Desert. The cool of the night was about to vanish in a wave of heat as the brightening light washed over the desert and Ayers Rock.
As usual, the “talking heads” of the world have a lot of opinions and a lot of comments and a lot of thoughts about everything happening from the World Cup in Brazil to the Obama administration’s push for carbon regulation. From Fox News to the local newspaper, radio, and blogs, everyone is talking.
But who is listening?
Though the World Cup is certainly big news to a lot of people, it has no direct correlation to the HVAC industry. Carbon regulation, on the other hand, does.
Here’s the deal: Some people say that man-made greenhouse-gas emissions are a bad thing. Such emissions are a type of pollution (the biggest culprits being the utility industry, which burns coal to generate electricity). Some feel this creates a global-warming situation that is dangerous and deadly to Earth and all living things upon it.
This is based on observation, computer modeling, and several decades of study by scientists and government people alike. Based on these suppositions, regulations have been and are being enacted to control these emissions.
Opponents of these regulations say there is no global warming being created by mankind. Climate change is a natural cycle that has been happening on this planet since the beginning of its existence. These folks base this on observations, computer modeling, and several decades of study by scientist and government people alike. They see regulations hurting the economy and ruining our way of life.
These two opposing sides have become a political quagmire filled with angry rhetoric, wild gesticulations, and vivid picture painting of a world destroyed either by melting ice caps and rising oceans or the destruction of the American way of life through power outages, crashing economies, and the creation of burdensome taxes in the form of carbon trading.
Which scenario is true and right? In my opinion: neither. And both. Everyone is talking all at once. Shouting. It feels like no one is listening or trying to build a consensus to compromise and find palatable solutions that benefit everyone.
This reminds me of a number of issues that create viral dialogs in our world. Can topics such as abortion, gun control, and religion ever be discussed and resolved in a bipartisan effort? From where I sit, the answer is probably not. Those topics are simply too emotional and too divisive.
Apparently, we can add the climate-change argument to that list. It is an emotionally charged issue with environmentalists and the government on one side and the business community on the other, with scientists and researchers split right down the middle. Reading about and listening to arguments about the reality of climate change and mankind’s impact on the earth almost sounds like the nattering of young children who don’t want to hear what their siblings are saying and, so plug their ears, stick out their tongues, and say, “Na, na, na, na ...” at each other.
Among all this noise, the real issues get lost and maybe even forgotten. Greenhouse-gas emissions, carbon taxes, energy efficiency—these are all vital to not only our industry, but our society as a whole. We need to open our minds, listen to the arguments on both sides of the problem, and work together to find equitable solutions that both protect our planet and enable us to build vibrant businesses that fuel economic growth in the U.S. and abroad.
As psychologists around the world will tell you, the key is to become listeners and not talking heads. The ability to listen well is a skill that, when used properly, has great healing and conflict-resolution power.