A Brief Synthesis of The McGuinness Institute Concept of "a noisy world"

The McGuinness Institute undertook an assessment of New Zealand's handling of COVID. Just one of the many commentaries on this subject, but one you may not have seen in your news feed. You can see the summary on this slide deck here  

Within this document there is an interesting section on "the challenges we face - a noisy world". In summary, it talks of the multiple crises we are facing and describes them in terms of "noise":

  • The COVID crisis occupies our media, our attention, our headspace, and Government's efforts every single day. They call this crisis an intermittent noise.
  • The climate crisis does not get the same attention. And yet, the consequences are much more frightening, perhaps too distant, perhaps not felt personally enough? This is a continuous noise which is deafening.
  • Then there is the biodiversity crisis which gathers little attention and minimal action. They call this low frequency noise.

The Institute points out that history reminds us that those challenged by poverty often carry an uneven distribution of the burden during times of disruption.

Furthermore, there is a strong theme which connects these crises, the linkage between animal human and environmental health, all of which require systems thinking and much more attention to foresight. The Institute asserts that public policy strategy should focus on putting in place incentives and penalties today that reward those that take action to create outcomes for tomorrow. Do our communities want this, and if not how will it become a political imperative?