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Navigating Complexity: Choosing Your Battles for a Fairer Future – June 2024

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We live in an increasingly complex world where “the best is the enemy of the good“; this pursuit of perfection in one area can harm another.
Pierre Dac completed this maxim of Montesquieu by adding, “and the worst is the friend of excess.

Climate paradox: reducing pollution increases warming

According to an article in France 24 (April 2024): “Several scientific studies have recently confirmed the role played by the decrease in air pollution (especially CO2 and fine particles harmful to health) over the past 30 years in climate change. However, the extent of the phenomenon still divides the scientific community .”

Rest assured, this article is not conspiracy-minded or seeking to invalidate the insufficient efforts made to reduce CO2 and pollutant emissions over the past 30 years, as reduction increases warming No, it confirms that we must indeed reduce pollution, as it also has a disastrous effect on health. However, it simply reflects that we live in a complex world in which solutions, although simple to express, generate second and third-level implications, making decision-making even more difficult for each of us.

Contradictory or paradoxical injunctions

Our complex world reveals many contradictions generating frustrations, misunderstandings and anxieties in the face of the inability to interpret the right path. This still leaves the choice to ignore one injunction over another. However, when these directives become laws, they can cause severe stress, burnout, or even suicides.

Experts and specialists in their respective fields, to see the broader picture and agree on compromises that balance necessary changes with social acceptance. But is that their role? Their expertise often overlooks the social aspects of change, the adjustment variable of compromises, which should be political and understandable, but not simplistic.

Recently, European farmers faced with these dilemmas have peacefully but visibly urged their governments to find a middle ground, taking into account special cases. But when these special cases become a publicised and active minority, extreme blocking reactions sometimes occur.

As citizens, we also face these conflicting directives, eroding our trust in institutions that struggle to find consensus. This is especially true at the European level, where directives are often interpreted too strictly by Member States, without fully considering local consequences. As a result, citizens feel less heard and protected.

What to do in the face of these contradictory and paradoxical injunctions?

Individually: Choose your battles through even minimal commitment to one or more causes that are close to your heart can serve as a personal compass. Even the smallest commitment is useful, as you don’t need to be an activist to get involved, thanks to various forms and tools of engagement.

But what about collectively? To avoid paradoxical injunctions, we need another way of governing and governance principles that allow for individual and collective progress. This new way of governing is illustrated by sites like Make.org, for example, which tries to find these more balanced middle grounds through citizen consultation on major topics that are debated. It becomes essential for each of us to no longer hesitate to join the debate before frustration turns into revolt.

Finally, for decision-makers, both governmental and corporate, but also for the engaged citizen, we need more precise indicators to improve incentives towards a collective balance. Thanks to AI and data analysis that make more sense, Wassati research introduces indicators on willingness to engage, on important topics, and on emotions to improve the social acceptability of decisions.

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