In a number of countries around the world, there are “12 step” programmes to help people deal with addiction. This started with Alcoholics Anonymous in the 1930s and spread to many other self-help organizations.
Today, 12 step programmes are mostly in English speaking countries, and it so happens that many of them like Canada, Australia, the US and New Zealand are particularly tied to their emissions and might appreciate some help. The basic concept of 12-step programs starts from the reality that simply renouncing addiction is not enough; admitting the problem and asking for help from others is needed to make positive steps in the right direction.
So if you’re struggling with the carbon habit, ECO has drafted a programme of our own. If you like, call it Carbon Anonymous. In line with the traditional formula, it comes as 12 declarative statements:
“1. We admit that our economies are controlled by our carbon addiction and have become unmanageable.
“2. We have come to believe that clean development could restore us to sanity.
“3. We will make a decision to turn our will and our lives toward caring for the planet and humanity.
“4. We will make a searching and fearless inventory of our nation’s emissions and their impact on humanity and the planet’s ecosystems.
“5. We will admit to ourselves and to other nations the exact nature of our divergence.
“6. We will be entirely ready to ask for assistance to remove all these defects of policy.
“7. We will humbly ask the world to facilitate the removal of our shortcomings.
“8. We will make a list of all persons, nations and species we have harmed by our emissions, and be willing to make amends to them all.
“9. We will make direct amends to such people, nations and species wherever possible.
“10. We will continue to make accurate national inventories and report them.
“11. We will seek through negotiation to improve the scale of our emission reductions, praying only for the political will to carry them out.
“12. Having then gained an economic awakening as a result of these steps, we will carry the message of clean development to all other nations on the planet, and practice these principles in all our affairs.”
Will the Carbon Anonyous 12-step programme really work? ECO doesn’t know for sure, but we have to try everything we can to get our most carbon addicted economies onto a better track, for their own sake and for the planet.