Ever look at some new phenomenon and wonder how it happened? Ever been surprised by it? Seems like one moment there is no concept of a hula hoop and the next instant everyone has or wants one. How does this happen?
In my research I’ve seen time after time that big change is the accumulation of many small, even imperceptible ones. “Be the change you seek,” seems hopelessly naive but Mahatma Ghandi said it first and his life was one continuous effort to change prevailing norms and he was largely successful.
Social scientist Margaret Mead said it differently but got to the same destination with, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
Maybe that’s why change often surprises us. It’s hard to separate out the thoughtful committed citizens seeking to change things, even despite the marches and such that make the news. Change is finally happening in attempting to arrest climate change. Last week Ford introduced its electric F-150 pickup truck and this week, a group of committed and thoughtful shareholders forced Exxon to take on new board members who are more oriented toward clean energy and to making commitments by Exxon to clean energy. See the article below.
That Exxon had to deal with a shareholder revolt to have its focus changed is not surprising but in 20 years when petroleum is obviously running out, we’ll all be dealing with sky high gas prices for those not smart enough to have bought an electric car by then. At that point clean energy provider and geothermal drilling giant Exxon, will be glad they began a pivot in the first year of the Biden Administration, a time when few of us were focused on climate and many more were concerned about voting rights and civil rights.
At that point our kids might wonder how that happened. Those of us still alive might point to this week’s Exxon shareholder meeting.